You may have heard of cat allergy shots if you’re a cat lover but suffer from allergies. These shots, also known as allergy immunotherapy, aim to desensitize your immune system to the allergens that cause your allergy symptoms.

But do they actually work? In short, yes, cat allergy shots can be highly effective in reducing your body’s sensitivity to cat dander or saliva, making it possible to enjoy your furry friend without the discomfort of allergies. Let’s take a closer look at the science behind cat allergies and how allergy shots can help alleviate symptoms.

The Science Behind Cat Allergies

Cat allergies, like any other allergy, happen when our immune systems trigger a reaction to a foreign substance. This substance called an allergen, can take many forms, from dog and cat dander to bee venom and pollen.

Our bodies produce antibodies, blood proteins responsible for counteracting a specific antigen. While these antibodies are essential to protecting our bodies, they sometimes flag substances that aren’t truly harmful, like cat dander.

When our bodies come into contact with the allergen, the antibodies react, triggering a response that causes an array of allergic symptoms. These symptoms can vary from mild cases with an itchy nose, eyes, or throat to a severe reaction called anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening condition.

Anyone, regardless of their age, can develop an allergy. However, some families are more prone to them.

Understanding The Root Cause of Cat Allergies

While many people think exposure to cat fur causes their allergy, this isn’t always the case. In actuality, cat allergies are often the result of exposure to the cat’s dander or skin cells the animal sheds. Cats regularly slough off these dead skin cells, replacing them with new skin cells.

Dander can hover in the air for long periods, even with limited airflow, and may cling to various items, like clothing and furniture. This can make the allergic symptoms flare up, even when the cat isn’t around.

While dander is a common root cause of cat allergies, it isn’t the only possible culprit. Sometimes, saliva is responsible for causing allergies. The cat’s saliva can cling to various objects, from carpets to furniture, and can even become airborne when dry.


What is a Cat Allergy Shot?

An allergy shot for cat allergies is a type of allergy immunotherapy designed to help alleviate symptoms due to exposure to the animal. While there are other treatments available, like decongestants, antihistamines, and corticosteroids, they address the symptoms, not the root cause of the allergy.

This is where allergy immunotherapy (AIT) comes in. Immunotherapy helps “train” your body not to react aggressively to a particular allergen, like cat dander or saliva. The treatment administers small doses of the allergen to your skin via a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection to achieve this result.

The repeated exposure to an increasing dosage helps reduce the production of the “blocking” antibody responsible for creating the symptoms. As the dosage increases over the months and years of your treatment, it slowly decreases your immune system’s sensitivity to the allergen.

But do cat allergy shots work? Absolutely! They can effectively limit your body’s sensitivity to the allergen. Of course, the timeline to enjoying the full benefits of your treatment varies based on how your body reacts, as everyone is different. That said, an allergy immunotherapy treatment plan can be an excellent first step to enjoying your cat’s company without the doom and gloom of pesky allergies.


How Effective Are Cat Allergy Shots For Humans?

Allergy immunotherapy has proven efficacy in diminishing allergic responses. This approach is nothing new – it has been around for over a century, and much research has been done since. Numerous studies build on the foundation established decades prior, showcasing immunotherapy’s notable efficacy in reducing sensitivity to various allergens.

Many studies evaluate the efficacy of shots as a whole instead of focusing on a particular allergen. For example, a diverse range of research and clinical trials have showcased the efficacy of repeated subcutaneous injections for achieving an allergen-specific tolerance that withstands the test of time, even after discontinuation.

Many people notice substantial improvement within the first year, although the best results often appear during years two and three. While it takes a long-term commitment to enjoy the benefits, many people deem this treatment plan worth it if it means they can spend time with their furry companions.

And, since many health insurance policies cover allergy immunotherapy, you may not need to worry about cat allergy shot costs (save for your co-pay or deductible)!

Final Thoughts

Cat allergy shots, also known as allergy immunotherapy, can effectively treat those who suffer from cat allergies. By gradually exposing the body to small doses of the allergen, the immune system can learn to tolerate it, reducing the severity of allergic reactions.

While it may take time and commitment, many people find the long-term benefits of allergen-specific tolerance to be worth it, allowing them to enjoy the company of their feline friends without the discomfort of allergies. If you’re considering cat allergy shots, be sure to consult with your doctor or allergist to determine if this treatment is right for you.