Written by Lucy Wyndham
Six in 10 people in America own a pet, and 29% of them are cat owners. Some pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family, but there are still many kitties without a family. According to veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker, one of the top reasons for so many abandonment, is allergies. “Most people who make the decision to relinquish a pet are heartbroken and truly want to do what’s best for their animal. They just don’t know where else to turn,” he writes in VetStreet. What if all those people who were madly in love with their cat didn’t have to return their pet or find it a new home? It could actually be possible, thanks to a brand new vaccine developed by Swiss scientists.
Immunizing Cats And People
The new vaccine, called HypoCat, works by essentially immunizing cats against an allergen they carry. When injected with the compounds, cats begin to produce a plethora of antibodies that neutralize the allergen that causes symptoms in 10% of people. Some four studies were carried out on the vaccine, with all showing that cats tolerated it well, without experiencing serious or long-term side effects. The manufacturers of the product say that they hope to release the vaccine on US and European markets by the year 2022.
Steps Still Need To be Taken By Cat Owners
It is important to note that the vaccine only works against one specific allergen. Pet owners also need to take additional steps to keep their homes free of mold and other allergens that can take over households with pets. For instance, if your cats have peed once or twice on your carpet or flooring, you need not worry too much. However, if they urinate frequently on the same spot, the moisture can seep into the padding below carpets, and since urine attracts moisture, mold can eventually grow on these surfaces. Mold allergies are actually more prevalent than cat allergies. The American College of Occupation and Environmental Medicine warns that around 25% with allergies are allergic to mold. Therefore, it is important to reduce allergens in the home through more than just ‘quick fix’ methods and medications.
Keeping Dander Away
Pet dander and fur can contain additional compounds that may irritate those with allergies or cause respiratory problems. Therefore, if you have pets, steps to take include purchasing a HEPA filter, which can trap dander and other tiny allergens. Keeping your pets on their own comfortable bedding rather than the sofa and your own beds, meanwhile, can help ensure a good night’s sleep.
It’s a pretty exciting time for the millions of people around the world who would love to have a cat but cannot because of allergies. The new Swiss vaccine will be available in just three years’ time, meaning that many symptoms will be alleviated. If you are allergic to cats, know that leading a happy, healthy life will also involve a few key strategies – including cleaning your home regularly with a steam vacuum, replacing carpets with wood or laminated flooring, and ensuring your home is 100% mold-free.