All about cats

What does cat dander look like

“Cat dander is a small, hard, spherical, black or brown particle that is found in excessive amounts on the bodies of cats and is a by-product of their diet,” says Dr. Astrid Von Seelen, medical director of the Cats and Dogs Emergency and Referral Center in New York City. “It’s easily visible to the naked eye, and you can see it when you look at a cat’s fur and skin.”

Does cat dander cause cancer?

No. Cat dander does not contain the same allergenic proteins that cause human allergic reactions. “So far there is no scientific evidence that cat dander can cause cancer in people,” says Dr. Von Seelen. “However, if your cat has a long-term, severe skin infection that causes excessive dander, it may cause a person to have skin irritation.”

Why do some people have trouble with cat dander?

“If your cat is having a severe, recurring skin disease, it is possible that cat dander can cause skin irritation,” says Dr. Von Seelen. “Also, if you are having problems with your immune system and are allergic to cats or have an immune disorder, you might also have a reaction to cat dander.”

How much cat dander is there?

“A cat will shed about 1.5 to 3 grams of dander per day,” says Dr. Von Seelen. “That may sound like a lot, but it’s only about one-tenth the amount of dander that you would find in a typical housecat (2.5 grams).”

How can I reduce cat dander?

“If you have more than one cat, you can use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of cat dander and other allergens,” says Dr. Von Seelen. “You can also use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to get rid of the allergens in your home. You can also limit the amount of time your cat spends in your home by closing doors and window vents.”

How can I reduce my cat’s dander?

“Cats that have a skin infection or even a mild skin problem will produce more cat dander than healthy cats,” says Dr. Von Seelen. “If your cat is having a skin disease, you should consider taking him to your veterinarian for treatment. The veterinarian may prescribe a special shampoo for your cat to wash his skin with. A veterinarian can also recommend a flea and tick preventative shampoo.

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