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If I Have Asthma, Can I Have a Cat? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Inhaler for asthma patient

If I Have Asthma, Can I Have a Cat? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Nia Perkins Photo


Dr. Nia Perkins

Vet, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects millions of people in the United States. For people with asthma, having a cat may seem out of the question. But is it?

While cats can aggravate asthma symptoms, they don’t have to. In fact, for some people with asthma, owning a cat may even help improve their respiratory health. There is no definitive answer to this question, as every person with asthma reacts differently to different animals—some people with asthma have allergies to cats, while others do not. While people with asthma may be discouraged by their doctors from having cats, many cat lovers have this condition and still choose to have a feline friend.

If you have asthma and are considering getting a cat, be sure to talk to your doctor about what specific precautions you should take to ensure that living with a cat does not worsen your asthma symptoms.


Do Cats Make Asthma Worse

Some studies1 have shown that there may be a correlation between exposure to cats and an increase in asthma symptoms. This may be because of the allergens that cats produce, which can cause an inflammatory response in people who are allergic to them. However, there is some controversy surrounding this idea. Other studies2 aren’t able to confirm this link, but they’ve found that a cat or dog may be protective against asthma. If you’re worried that exposure to cats might make your asthma worse, consult your doctor for advice before getting a cat as a pet.

Why Do Cats Make Asthma Worse?

There are a few potential reasons3 why cats can make asthma worse. One reason is that cats produce high levels of dander, tiny scales of skin that can easily become airborne and trigger an asthma attack. Additionally, cats can also be carriers of allergens like pollen which can also worsen asthma symptoms. Finally, cats may also increase the amount of dust in the air, which can aggravate asthma symptoms.

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Can Cats Trigger Asthma Attacks?

There is some evidence that cats can trigger asthma attacks, though the extent to which this is true is still being studied. It is thought that exposure to cat allergens may increase the risk of an asthma attack in people who are already susceptible. Interestingly, not all people who are allergic to cats will experience an asthma attack when around them; this may be due to differences in the way individual bodies respond to allergens.

person smelling cat
Image Credit: JensEnemark, Pixabay

Can a Person With Asthma Have a Cat?

There is no absolute answer to this question as the effects of asthma on a person can vary from case to case. In general, people with asthma may find that having a pet cat exacerbates their symptoms, as cats are known to produce high levels of allergens, which can trigger an asthma attack.

For people with severe asthma, it is generally recommended that they avoid contact with animals that may produce allergens, such as cats, dogs, and rabbits. However, the effects that asthma has on a person can vary greatly from individual to individual. In general, it’s recommended that people with asthma avoid exposure to pets that have feathers or fur, as these animals can produce dust and other allergens that may aggravate asthma symptoms.

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Can Cat Hair Affect My Lungs?

The presence of cat hair in the environment can affect the lungs in a number of ways. First, cat hair can act as an irritant, causing coughing and wheezing. Second, it can trap particulate matter in the air, leading to inflammation and other respiratory problems. Finally, cats themselves can be a source of allergens, which can cause asthma attacks and other respiratory issues. It is also plausible that cat hair could affect the lungs if it were to become lodged in your airways—someone with asthma or an allergy could have their condition aggravated by breathing in cat hair.

cat scratching head
Image Credit by: lothofoxburr, Pixabay

Can Cat Hair Cause Coughing?

So far, the link between cat hair and coughing has not been extensively studied. However, it is theorized that cat hair can cause coughing in some people who are allergic to cats. This is because cat hair can trap allergens, such as dust and pollen, which can then be inhaled and cause an allergic reaction. Because of the lack of studies, there is currently no scientific evidence to explicitly support the claim that cat hair can cause coughing. However, it is possible that allergens present in cat hair could trigger an allergic reaction that leads to coughing.

Allergic reactions can be caused by many different substances, including pet dander, pollen, and mold spores. If you are experiencing coughing symptoms and you suspect that they may be related to your cat, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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Is Cat Hair Harmful to Humans?

The potential harm that cat hair may cause to humans depends on a number of factors, such as an individual’s sensitivity or allergy to cats, cat dander, and the amount of cat hair present in the environment. Some people may be allergic to cats, and exposure to cat hair could cause an allergic reaction. However, for the majority of people, there is no danger in being around cat hair.

Young boy with inhaler for asthma
Image Credit by: Victoria, Borodinova_Pixabay

Can You Have Cats If You Are Allergic to Them?

Cats produce proteins that can trigger an allergic response in some people. However, not everyone who is allergic to cats will react to them. There are many things that can affect how a person reacts to an allergen, including the level of exposure, the individual’s sensitivity, and even their previous exposure history.

Some people may be able to tolerate a cat if they are exposed to it gradually and at a low dose. For example, if they are kept away from the person’s face, and they are not exposed to the animal’s fur or saliva. However, other people who are allergic to cats may experience a severe reaction even if they are only in the same room as a cat.

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Are Cats Good for Asthmatics?

Some people believe that cats can be beneficial for asthmatics, as they claim that the animals can help to reduce their symptoms. There is some evidence that owning a cat may help improve asthma symptoms. One study showed that children with asthma who lived in homes with cats had better lung function than those who did not have cats.

One theory is that cats help to clean the air, as they spend a lot of time licking themselves. This means that they release saliva which contains bacteria-fighting enzymes, which could help to improve air quality in the home and thus reduce allergens. Another idea is that petting a cat can help to reduce stress levels, which can also help to improve asthma symptoms.

senior tabby cat sitting on person
Image Credit by: Debra Anderson, Shutterstock

What Cat Breeds Are Good for Asthmatics?

There is no specific breed of cat that is “good for asthmatics.” Most cats, regardless of breed, have fur, and all cats have dander and shed skin and saliva into their environment. For people with asthma, exposure to cat fur and dander may trigger an asthma attack. So, if you are an asthma sufferer and are considering getting a cat, it is important to do your research and find a breed that is low-shedding or non-shedding and lower on dander production.

There are a few cat breeds considered to be non-shedding cats. This means that they do not produce a lot of hair or fur and, therefore, do not require a lot of grooming. Some of the most common non-shedding breeds include the Sphynx, the Devon Rex, and the Cornish Rex. All of these breeds have no hair to short, curly hair that does not shed or mat very easily.

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Can Cat Litter Give You Asthma?

There is no real evidence to support the claim that cat litter can give you asthma, as the research on the topic is inconclusive. Some studies suggest that there is a link between exposure to cat litter and an increased risk of developing asthma, while other studies are not able to confirm this link.

It is possible that the dust from cat litter may contribute to asthma symptoms in some people, but more research is needed to determine whether this is actually the case. Clay litter dust is a big problem for cats and humans alike since both can suffer from asthma. If your cat suffers from asthma, using dusty cat litter may worsen their condition. Dusty litter can also cause asthma, not just worsen it.

Litter tray and scoop for cat on floor
Image Credit by: New Africa, Shutterstock

What Cat Litter Is Best for Allergies?

There are a variety of different cat litter available on the market, some of which are better suited for people with allergies than others. Clay-based litter, for example, can often contain dust and other particles that can aggravate allergy symptoms. Silica gel litter is a good option for people with allergies because it’s virtually dust-free. Some other good choices for people with allergies include wheat-based litter and recycled paper litter.

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In conclusion, cats may cause asthmatic reactions in some people. If you are allergic to cats, it’s important to speak with your doctor to determine whether having a cat in your home is appropriate. If you’re not allergic to cats, there’s no need to worry. However, if you start having symptoms after being around a cat, be sure to see your doctor.

Featured Image Credit: coltsfan, Pixabay

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