One of the cat’s most prominent behavior that contributes to its tendency to stimulate an allergic response in humans is grooming. When a cat licks its skin, it stimulates both sebaceous glands and salivary glands in it. They both produce Fel1 – a protein. Another common allergen released by a cat is Fel d 4, this is present in cat’s saliva. There are some other allergens in cats, but these two are the main allergens that can have an allergic response in some humans.
Note: Female cats create fewer allergens as compared to male cats because of increased testosterone production of the proteins.
Cats have a sufficient amount of Fel d.1 or Fel d4 present in their skin, and it can generate allergies in humans. Direct contact with skin leads to hypersensitivity. So, if you are allergic to cats, then think twice before owning them as pets.
Here is how it affects humans
The allergic person’s immune cells react to these components by hiding the antibodies lgG and lgE. This process leads to histamine release, which causes runny nose, watery eyes, and swelling in humans.
Now that you understand how cats cause allergic reactions in humans. Let’s find out if the same types of reactions happen when we touch the big cats, tigers for example?
Well, there is very little data available on this, but there are some studies that show if you’re allergic to cats, there are chances that you’re going to be allergic to the big cats too.
And also, the allergic reaction depends on which big cat you had a face to face encounter with, a lion or a tiger.
If you had an encounter with big cats like Puma, who are strictly related to the domestic cats, there is a higher probability of you having a similar reaction.
So, to finally answer your question, i.e., why are some people allergic to cats and are they also allergic to big cats? , Yes, people allergic to domestic cats will also be allergic to big, wild cats. But the allergic reaction will be different depending on the type of cat.