The effect of cat removal on allergen content in household-dust samples

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1989 Apr;83(4):730-4. doi: 10.1016/0091-6749(89)90006-7.


To evaluate the effect of cat removal on cat-allergen content in the home, serial house dust samples were collected from 15 homes during a 9- to 43-week period after cat removal. Samples were obtained with a hand-held vacuum cleaner, and allergen content was quantitated by a radioimmunoassay specific for the major cat allergen, Fe1 d I. Baseline Fe1 d I content ranged from 7.8 Food and Drug Administration units per gram of dust to 436.7 U/gm (median 61.2 U/gm), consistent with levels found in homes with a pet cat. Fe1 d I levels declined gradually in most homes, and by 20 to 24 weeks after cat removal, eight of 15 reached levels consistent with levels found in control homes without cats. In two of those homes, allergen levels fell much more rapidly after aggressive environmental control measures were undertaken. In the other seven homes, however, the decline occurred at a much slower rate, with three homes demonstrating persistent elevations in Fe1 d I content for 20 or more weeks. These data demonstrate that the task of allergen elimination from an indoor environment is extremely difficult, even when the source of a specific allergen can be identified and removed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Cats / immunology*
  • Dust / analysis*
  • Humans


  • Allergens
  • Dust