Why Am I Allergic To Cats But Not Dogs? [Explained]

Nowadays, it is extremely common to own an animal as a pet. A recent study suggests that 70% of U.S. households (90.5 million households) own pets. In the US, 69 million households have dogs, compared with 45.3 million households that have cats.

Can a person be allergic to one animal but not another? The question is simple but the answer is hidden in itself. Sobbed eyes and nose running a quite obvious signs of this reaction. Nowadays, allergies to cats are fairly common. you could only be allergic to dogs and cats. Now the question that comes to my mind is whether it is conceivable to have an allergy to cats but not dogs. Why am I allergic to cats but not dogs?

You are likely allergic to cats but not dogs due to differences in allergenic proteins produced by these animals. Cats produce specific proteins like Fel d 1 and Fel d 4, found in their skin cells, urine, and saliva, which are common allergens. This makes it more likely for people to come into contact with Fel d 1, and for them to develop an allergic reaction. In contrast, dogs produce different allergenic proteins, Can f 1 and Can f 2, which some individuals may not react to. These variations in allergen profiles make cat allergies more common among sensitive individuals. Additionally, individual genetics and environmental factors can influence your specific allergic sensitivities.

This article explores the complex world of allergies, their underlying causes, and the specific factors that make some individuals sensitive to feline allergens while being completely fine around dogs.

What Causes Allergies in Pets

What Causes Allergies in Pets?

At some point, most of us have undoubtedly experienced spells of runny noses, watery eyes, and sneezing. But why do we think of this? The reason for all of this is that your immune system thinks that the body is being attacked by something innocuous.

Any chemical that “attacks” can cause an allergy. When this allergen is present, the immune system makes antibodies in an effort to neutralize the threat. As we all too well know, these antibodies cause allergy symptoms in the same manner as the body would if it were fighting actual viruses.

Pet allergies are caused by proteins found in the pet’s saliva, urine, and dander (dead skin cells). In addition, it may carry other allergens such as dust mites, mold, and pollen. These proteins cause allergy symptoms when they get in your airways, nose, mouth, or on your skin.

Find Out: Why Do People Hate Cats?

What Causes Allergies in Dogs?

The primary dog protein that causes allergies is known as Can f1. Unlike cats, they do not generate this protein in their skin; instead, it is only present in their saliva. Because dogs cannot groom themselves, there will never be more than a small amount of this protein on your dog.

What Causes Allergies in Dogs

There will always be some Can F1 on a dog’s body since they sometimes lick themselves. Additionally, dogs usually drool a lot. All of their dribblings will include significant amounts of this allergen. The immune system goes into overdrive when an allergen is ingested or inhaled by us after being spread through the air or to another object.

Causes of Cat Allergies

Fel d1 is a basic cat’s salivary protein that can cause allergies. The way your cat grooms itself makes it easier for the Fel d1 protein to spread throughout the entire body. Sebaceous glands also produce this protein. This distributes Fel d1, but it also improves the condition of their coats and keeps their skin supple. 

Causes of Cat Allergies

This protein coats our cats, making it easy for it to spread through the air. Due to the connection between the Fel d1 protein and all the dander and cat hair, this happens more frequently when your cat sheds. This explains why many individuals wrongly assume they have a pet hair allergy when they actually have a sensitivity to this protein.

The protein might also stick to everything it comes into touch with. It might be your hand from touching your cat or a favorite location in your home where you like to sleep. Or, flying debris might land and accumulate on a variety of domestic surfaces. After touching such objects, they move into the air after a while, which is the ultimate cause of allergies.

Why Is It More Common to be Allergic to Cats Than Dogs?

Being allergic to cats is more common than being allergic to dogs for several reasons:

Can You Be Allergic to Cats and Not Dogs

1. Allergen Proteins: Cats produce specific allergenic proteins, such as Fel d 1 and Fel d 4, which are found in their skin cells, urine, and saliva. These proteins are potent allergens and can easily become airborne, making them more likely to be inhaled or come into contact with a person’s skin and mucous membranes. In contrast, the allergenic proteins produced by dogs, such as Can f 1 and Can f 2, may not be as easily spread, reducing the chances of exposure.

2. Grooming Habits: Cats are known for their meticulous grooming habits. When they groom themselves, they spread allergenic proteins onto their fur. This means that even individuals who don’t directly interact with a cat can still be exposed to allergens by being in the same environment. Dogs, on the other hand, are less likely to transfer allergenic proteins to their fur through grooming.

3. Cross-Reactivity: Some people who are allergic to cats may also have allergies to other allergens like pollen or dust mites. This cross-reactivity can make cat allergies appear more common or severe because individuals with existing allergies may be more susceptible to developing allergies to cats.

4. Genetics: Genetic factors play a significant role in determining an individual’s susceptibility to allergies. If someone has a family history of cat allergies, they are more likely to develop similar allergies themselves. Genetic factors can influence the body’s immune response to specific allergens, making some individuals more prone to cat allergies.

5. Environmental Exposure: The frequency and duration of exposure to cats or dogs can also impact the development of allergies. People who live in households with cats are more likely to develop cat allergies, while those in dog-owning households may have fewer allergen exposure opportunities.

Can You Be Allergic to Cats and Not Dogs?

The answer is simple ‘Yes‘ It is possible that you are allergic to cats but not to puppies. The proteins that cause cat allergies and dog allergies differ. A cat-allergic person is sensitive to the Fel d1 (Felis domesticus) protein, and a dog-allergic person is sensitive to Can f1(Canis familiaris). However, the proteins are equivalent. If you have a specific sensitivity, you presumably have allergies to most mammals with fur.

So, for those people who are allergic to cats, the possibility is there that they show allergic reactions when they come into contact with other animals, such as rabbits, dogs, as well as goats. Since most Americans don’t commonly come into contact with these animals, they haven’t had a chance to develop the necessary antibodies. You might react strongly to a cat that produces more protein but just marginally to a dog that produces less protein.

Remember that cats have protein in their saliva and on their skin as well. Cats are more prone than dogs to trigger allergies as they spread saliva on the whole body. They just distribute it more slowly while increasing the quantity of the troublesome protein.

Can a Person With a Pet Allergy Coexist With Pets?

If you have pets or pet allergies, you must be aware of the allergen. So, use a mask while doing vacuum cleaning. Start an air purifier with a HEPA filter that fits the room’s dimensions. When grooming pets, apply Allerpet Solution to either cats or dogs. Spray a solution on your carpets frequently to dissolve the protein if you have any.

While residing with dogs, it is possible to experience allergies to both cats and dogs. Despite growing up with cats, our child is allergic to them.

Can I Live With a Cat if I’m Allergic?

Living with a cat when you’re allergic is not typically recommended, but it is possible with careful planning and management. Some strategies include selecting a cat breed (Hypoallergenic Breeds) that produces fewer allergens, maintaining rigorous cleanliness in your home, and using HEPA air purifiers. Regular cat bathing and allergy medication may also be necessary.

However, the decision to live with a cat while being allergic is a personal one and should be made after considering potential risks and benefits, as well as consulting with a healthcare professional or allergist for guidance.

How Do I Stop Being Allergic to Cats? Ways To Reduce Pet Allergy Causes

Whatever the root of your allergy, living with a pet may be difficult. Your pets are impossible to get rid of! The best solution isn’t antihistamines or other allergy drugs, either. If you are successful in stopping the allergen from entering your body before it causes an allergic reaction, you won’t.

Here are just a few of the finest recommendations to help you with this and stop sneezing as much.

Ways To Reduce Pet Allergy Causes

1. Purge All Surfaces

Allergens can land on surfaces in one of two ways. The particles in the air will either fall and touch down on the surface below them, or they won’t. Your dog or cat might also lick the allergen onto the object. For instance, the allergen will frequently be found on your cat’s favorite surfaces and the toys that dogs use to play with.

These allergies can be considerably reduced with routine vacuuming and cleaning. I recently purchased a portable cat litter vacuum, which I now use each day to vacuum my cat’s preferred lairs quickly. Not having to take the big vacuum out every day saves a tonne of time.

2. Keep the Air Clean

When a cat or dog loses its fur, allergens may be released into the air. The fastest way to get rid of these allergens from the air before they can trigger an allergic reaction is by using cat hair air purifiers. Before purchasing any used air filter, consider the following factors:

Filter type: Most filters are capable of catching hair and dander particles. But if you want to efficiently capture and remove allergens, you need an air purifier with a True HEPA filter. 

The air purifiers’ range should be sufficient for the size of the space. Check this before buying anything because they can only filter the air in a specific area.

3. Brush & Bathe Regularly

Before allergens are discharged into the air and settle on surfaces, regular pet brushing can help capture and remove them. Additionally, regular tooth brushing has a lot of other benefits. It fosters companionship, maintains the health of your cat’s coat, and prevents the growth of unattractive matted clumps. Make an effort to brush your cat every day, and use a brush that is suitable for cats.

Bathing is much more efficient in removing allergens. However, cats hate water, so cleaning them is difficult. Use only cat-specific shampoos to prevent irritating their skin.

Also Read: How to Bathe a Cat or Kitten? – A Guide to Cat Bathing

4. Create Allergy-Free Zones

An allergic person should be in an allergen-free environment Or a location where their pets are not permitted. If you need a break or have extreme allergies, you can use this space as a refuge. You may use HEPA filters as protection. 

Since you’ll spend a lot of time lying in the bedroom when you sleep every night, you’ll have more prolonged and more severe exposure to the allergens. As a result, an allergic reaction will be more severe. So moving into a safe zone by keeping animals out of the bedroom is another option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs and cats be allergic to each other?

Both may be allergic to certain foods, ordinary household items, and plants, among other things. It is quite possible for a dog to be allergic to cats or a cat to be allergic to cats, despite this seldom occurring. The symptoms of allergies in dogs and cats can vary but may include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes, scratching, redness and inflammation of the skin, hair loss, and ear infections. If you think your dog or cat may be allergic to another animal, it is important to take them to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Are cat allergies more frequent than dog allergies?

Allergies in cats are twice as prevalent as in dogs. Contrary to common opinion, fur or hair are not the real problems. Cat allergies are really brought on by the proteins found in cat saliva, urine, and dander (dried flakes of skin)

Can cat allergies develop over time?

Yes, it’s possible for cat allergies to develop later in life, especially with continued exposure to allergenic proteins.

Is there a hypoallergenic cat breed?

Yes, there are a few cat breeds like sphynx or Balinese that are considered to be hypoallergenic. These breeds produce less of the Fel d 1 protein, which is the main allergen in cat dander.


Contrary to popular belief, cats can trigger allergies in people rather than dogs. The proteins that cause allergies in cats are considerably different. There is also a lot more of this protein already there. Additionally, it gets everywhere because of the way cats groom themselves!

Remember that allergies can vary from person to person, so a tailored approach is key to finding the right balance for a harmonious coexistence with your furry friend.

By creating allergen-free zones, using air purifiers, practicing good hygiene, considering hypoallergenic breeds, and consulting healthcare professionals for guidance, you can enjoy the presence of a cat while minimizing allergic reactions.

If you are allergic to cats, dogs, or both, it is imperative that the allergen levels remain low. You can all coexist comfortably and without sneezing if you put forth a little additional effort.

LearnAboutCat Author Isabella

Who is Isabella?

My name is Isabella, and I am a dedicated and knowledgeable cat enthusiast. With years of experience caring for cats and a deep love for felines, I made a mission to help other cat lovers navigate the challenges of cat ownership.

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