Background: Previous studies investigating cat characteristics and cat allergen production focused on clinical experiments that quantified allergen from either the shaved skin or the fur of the animal; however, these studies did not address these experimental relationships in the home. Objective: To determine the relationships between cat characteristics and cat allergen isolated from household dust. Methods: Fel d 1 allergen levels in dust from homes participating in a population-based study of environmental effect on allergy development were analyzed using a standard monoclonal antibody-based assay. Cat characteristics were based on interviews conducted during home visits by study personnel. Results: Households with any cats had higher geometric mean Fel d 1 levels than households without cats (32.88 vs 0.43; P < .01), and cat allergen levels increased with increasing numbers of cats in the home (P < .01). Length of cat hair, cat sex, reproductive status, and time spent indoors were analyzed; the only characteristic associated with higher levels of Fel d 1 was whether the cat had been neutered or spayed. Conclusions: Having cats in the home is significantly associated with increased Fel d 1 levels, and having more cats in the home is correlated with more cat allergen. Cat reproductive characteristics may be associated with measurable differences in cat allergen levels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine