What is Cat Dander? Video
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Video:What is Cat Dander?

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The term dander refers to 'skin scales.' Because many cats don't bathe, dander accumulates, and can cause severe allergies. Learn what cat dander is, and how to reduce it.See Transcript

Transcript:What is Cat Dander?

Hi, I'm Christina Hartman with About.com, and today we're here with Dr. Richard Meadows, a veterinarian with the University of Missouri. And we're going to talk today about cat dander. Dr. Meadows, can you tell us what cat dander is?

What is Cat Dander?

Dander in general, it is a general term for skin scale. Most cats don't get bathed that often. In fact, some cats it's quite a challenge to bathe them, and so they tend to groom themselves and get rid of a lot of it. But cat dander is going to fall off. It's the scale, the dead skin that's up on top. The skin is constantly replacing itself and renewing itself, and so it's the top dead part up there that falls off and gets down into the carpet and into the bedding and collects with the rest of the dust there.

Cleaning Can Help Eliminate  Cat Dander

And so, cleaning up, vacuuming and washing what you can wash in hot water can eliminate that. It'll also help to knock out some of the house dust mites that are inevitably there, even if you clean your house for a living. Vacuuming and using HEPA filtration systems can make some difference.

Allergies are caused by Saliva and Oils on Dander

That dead skin usually is not quite so much the problem as the oils and the saliva that are on that dead skin that tends to be the allergens that cause cat allergies. So the dander itself is usually, it's not that harmful to us in most cases, but the stuff that it's coated with can make for allergic reactions in a lot of people.

So say from, say you have a terrible time of trying to bathe your cat, what else can you do?

Frequent Grooming can Reduce Dander

Grooming them. Grooming them frequently can remove a lot of that scale. You can help them in their grooming process by using a brush or a damp cloth, those kinds of things, and knocking a lot of that off- helping speed up their process. They will do it as much as they can. You can't eliminate it, but you can de-bulk that dander, and that can make a difference.

Thanks for watching our video about cat dander, and thanks to Dr. Richard Meadows. If you want to know more about cats, just go to About.com.


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