Study: Cats Could Be Bad For Your Health, If You Let Them In Your Bedroom

hypoallergenic catScientists are bumming out cat lovers everywhere with the news that cats could be bad for your health, especially if you didn’t grow up with felines around. Apparently, if you were around them as a kid, your chances of developing allergies and asthma are lower, but if you get your first cat as an adult, your chances of developing an allergic reaction to it are nearly doubled.

Dr. Mario Olivieri of the University Hospital of Verona, Italy and his colleagues surveyed about 6,000 European subjects–none of whom had any antibodies for cat to start–twice over the course of nine years. Of those who didn’t have a cat on either occasion, 3% became sensitized over the course of the nine years; 5% of those who did acquire a cat became sensitized. But here’s the catch: Only those who allowed cats into their bedrooms became sensitized.

Dr. Andy Nish of the Allergy and Asthma Care Center in Gainesville, Georgia wasn’t involved in the study, but he told Reuters:

If you are an adult with asthma and/or allergies, you should think twice about getting a cat and particularly, if you do so, letting it into your bedroom.

Keeping the cat out of the bedroom is a step I have always advised. It is remarkable that none who did not allow the cat in the bedroom became sensitized. Second best is to keep the cat outdoors always. If it comes in even occasionally, its dander will remain in the house for months. If the cat needs to be indoors, at least keep it out of your bedroom, consider a HEPA filter for your bedroom and consider washing the cat at least once a week.

Although unproven, my hypothesis is that a weekly cat bath would present a larger chance of health problems than allergies. Or, you could just get one of those hypoallergenic sphynx cats.

Photo: Sphynx Cats

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    • Dude

      Don’t be a hater, there is no reason to get a cat just for outside unless you live out in the country.

      Do you know how beneficial pets can be to your health?, unless you become allergic that is.

    • Tina

      3-5% isn’t really that high. I’d like to see other studies back this one up. Also, you should be bathing your cat once a week and changing your sheets and pillowcases. If neither of these is happening of course a build up of dander and germs could make anyone have allergy like symptoms. Also to never let a cat inside? What’s the point of having a cat? This study is bull.

      • Joanne Unleashed

        Bathing once a week? I have lived with cats for 18 years and never bathed them.

    • Joanne Unleashed

      Here’s an interesting anecdote.

      I feed my many cats a raw meat diet. I’ve had people come over who were allergic to cats but didn’t have a problem in my apartment. One friend said that his eyes normally swell up and he has difficulty breathing. He has buried his face in my cat’s fur with no ill effect. He even ended up babysitting my cats for a week while I was away.

    • Theuns Kruger

      The idea that sphinx cats are supposedly hypoallergenic is incorrect. People who are allergic to cats are actually allergic to enzymes that occur in cat saliva, not just in cat fur. However, some people may be allergic to the fur as well.

    • Em C.

      I have 2 sphynx cats and I bathe them once a week. The still makes me itch a bit but overall it’s not that bad and for them I’d endure FAR worse. I would like to respond to the statement “Second best is to keep the cat outdoors always”. While I can see how that would help with allergies I disagree wholeheartedly with it for 2 reasons. A) is it really your pet if your just letting it roam? and B) Outdoor cats have much shorter life spans! If you can’t make the sacrifices for your pet then don’t own one. Especially an animal as intelligent and loving as a cat, dog or bird. They NEED people to be around and yet many people treat them like their a live piece of furniture. That’s not okay. Even if it’s for health reasons the animal has needs as well.

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    • meteor_echo

      What the hell, dude. If you want to always keep the cat outdoors, you’re being irresponsible and are shortening the cat’s lifespan. What about just keeping pets since childhood and bathing them often/ keeping them parasite-free?

    • ari

      false all my life i haded cats in my room i neverbeen allergic to anything and also leaving cat outside can
      be shoter for their life and bathing your cat always once week can make them loose usually lot of hair