Human allergy to cats: A review for veterinarians on prevalence, causes, symptoms and control

J Feline Med Surg. 2022 Jan;24(1):31-42. doi: 10.1177/1098612X211036793. Epub 2021 Oct 8.


Practical relevance: Human allergy to cats affects a substantial and growing proportion of the global population, and cat allergy is regarded as the third most common cause of human respiratory allergies, and the second most common indoor cause. Veterinarians will frequently encounter owners who are cat-allergic, and having an understanding of this disease and the methods available to help control the allergy will assist them in giving appropriate advice, alongside human healthcare professionals.

Aim: The aim of this review is to summarise currently available data on the prevalence, causes, symptoms and control of human allergy to cats. In terms of managing cat allergy, the emphasis is on reviewing current and emerging modalities to reduce environmental exposure to cat allergens rather than on pharmacotherapy or immunotherapy, as it is in these areas in particular that the veterinarian may be able to offer help and advice to complement that of human healthcare professionals.

Evidence base: The information in this review is drawn from the current and historical literature on human allergy to cats, and approaches to reduce exposure to cat allergens and manage symptoms of cat allergy.

Keywords: Allergy; diet; human; management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens
  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cat Diseases* / etiology
  • Cat Diseases* / therapy
  • Cats
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity* / epidemiology
  • Hypersensitivity* / etiology
  • Hypersensitivity* / therapy
  • Hypersensitivity* / veterinary
  • Prevalence
  • Veterinarians*


  • Allergens