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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

Do I have a cat allergy?

AAFA's "Ask the Allergist" is a free service provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Our allergist will answer your questions about asthma and allergies. We provide only general advice about managing asthma or allergies, medicines and treatments. "Ask the Allergist" does not answer questions about specific consumer products. This information is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. Always talk with your doctor before changing your asthma or allergy management plan.

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I have never been allergic to cats. Two days ago I got a new kitten. Yesterday I began having a lot of allergy symptoms. Last night I put him in my guest bathroom and deep cleaned my room, which was the only place he had been. It has been approximately 15 hours, but my symptoms haven't improved very much. Is there any way to determine if I have a cat allergy?

Yes, allergy testing can determine if you are allergic to cats. There are two available tests provided by a board-certified allergist. A skin prick test for cats is a simple test that involves scratching the skin with cat extract. 15 minutes later the pricked skin is checked for a reaction. The second testing option is a blood test called a specific IgE test for a cat allergy. Typically, all aeroallergens are tested with both tests. These include cat, dog, pollen, mold, roach, feather, and dust mite. It may be helpful to be tested for other allergies at the same time. It is possible to develop a cat allergy even if you were not allergic before. Here is more information on pet allergies.

Diagnosis, Pet Allergy
Answered by

Douglas T. Johnston D.O. FAAAAI, FACAAI

Reviewed and Answered

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