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Human allergy to cats: a review of the impact on cat ownership and relinquishment

By A. H. Sparkes

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Practical relevance: Cats have become increasingly common as companion animals, and in many countries their popularity now exceeds that of dogs. At the same time, human allergies (including allergy to cats) have been increasing and it has been estimated that globally up to 10-20% of human adults are sensitised to cats. Aim: This review summarises the available published data on how human allergy to cats affects cat ownership and considers the implications of the findings on the wider human-cat bond and how adverse effects can be minimised. Evidence base: Online databases were searched for all original studies up to December 2020 that had quantified the impact of human allergy to cats on ownership or relinquishment. Objective quantifiable data appeared to fall into three broad outcomes - (1) choosing to avoid cat ownership; (2) relinquishment of owned cats; and (3) return of cats after acquisition from a rehoming centre. The data retrieved on these topics are the focus of this review. In some studies, data from cats and dogs were combined and these have also been included in the review.

Publication Title Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 43-52
ISBN/ISSN 1098-612X
DOI 10.1177/1098612x211013016
Author Address Simply Feline Veterinary Consultancy,
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adverse effects
  2. Allergy
  3. Animals
  4. Anthrozoology
  5. Canidae
  6. Canine
  7. Carnivores
  8. Cats
  9. data
  10. Diseases
  11. Diseases and injuries of animals
  12. Dogs
  13. Effect
  14. Humans
  15. Immunology
  16. Mammals
  17. Non-communicable diseases and injuries
  18. open access
  19. pathology
  20. Pets and companion animals
  21. Reviews
  22. vertebrates
  23. Veterinary sciences
  24. Zoology
  1. open access