Cats, known for their soothing purrs and gentle companionship, have always held a special place in our hearts. But could these feline friends play a surprising role in the management of psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that affects millions worldwide?
In this article, let’s dive into the intriguing connection between cats and psoriasis, uncovering whether their presence and interactions may offer unexpected benefits to those dealing with this challenging condition.
From “meow-soriasis” to potential therapies, join us in discovering the fascinating world where these beloved pets meet the quest for healthier skin.
Benefits of having a cat for people with psoriasis
Having a cat as a companion can offer several potential benefits for people with psoriasis:
- Stress Reduction: Cats are known for their calming presence and purring, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Since stress is a known trigger for psoriasis flare-ups, a cat’s soothing presence can contribute to better overall mental health.
- Emotional Support: Cats provide emotional support and companionship. People with psoriasis may experience self-esteem and body image issues, and the unconditional love of a cat can boost their self-confidence and emotional well-being.
- Distraction from Itchiness: Engaging with a cat, playing with them, or simply petting them can divert one’s attention from the itchiness and discomfort associated with psoriasis, offering temporary relief from the condition’s physical symptoms.
- Routine and Responsibility: Taking care of a cat involves creating a routine and providing care and attention. This can give people with psoriasis a sense of purpose and a structured daily life, which can be beneficial for mental and emotional health.
- Social Interaction: Owning a cat can facilitate social interactions, as cat owners often share their experiences and bond over their pets. This can help individuals with psoriasis combat feelings of isolation and connect with others who may have similar challenges.
- Warmth and Comfort: Cats are known for seeking warmth and often curl up on or near their owners. This physical closeness can provide comfort and a sense of warmth, which may be particularly soothing for people with psoriasis during colder months when symptoms can worsen.
While cats can offer these potential benefits, it’s essential to remember that individual experiences may vary.
Some people with psoriasis may find that the presence of a cat improves their overall well-being, while others may not have the same positive experience.
Risks Associated with Owning a Cat When You Have Psoriasis
Owning a cat, even if you have psoriasis, doesn’t pose significant risks. In fact, just like mentioned above having a pet can yield numerous advantages for individuals with psoriasis, such as reducing stress and depression, increasing physical activity, and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, it’s worth noting that people with compromised immune systems, like organ transplant recipients or those undergoing radiation therapy, should exercise caution, as they might be at a higher risk of contracting diseases from animals.
To minimize any potential risks, it’s essential to avoid contact with sick, feral, or very young animals and maintain thorough hand hygiene by washing with running water and soap after handling animals or items from their environment.
If you’re contemplating getting a cat and have psoriasis, discussing any concerns or risks with your healthcare provider is a prudent step.
Common Psoriasis Triggers Caused by Cats
Cats themselves are not common triggers for psoriasis; however, there are certain interactions with cats or their environment that can potentially exacerbate psoriasis symptoms for individuals who are sensitive. These may include:
- Cat Scratches: Scratches or bites from cats can lead to skin injuries. Psoriasis-prone skin may react negatively to such injuries, potentially triggering or worsening psoriasis lesions in those areas.
- Stress: Cats can sometimes cause stress in their owners, particularly when dealing with behavioral issues or health concerns in the cat. Stress is a known trigger for psoriasis flare-ups, so managing stress is crucial.
- Allergies: Some individuals may have allergies to cat dander, fur, or saliva. Allergic reactions can exacerbate skin conditions, including psoriasis, leading to increased inflammation and discomfort.
- Hygiene and Allergens: Maintaining the cat’s litter box and environment is essential. Inadequate hygiene and the presence of allergens in the cat’s living area can potentially irritate the skin and exacerbate psoriasis symptoms.
Not everyone with psoriasis will experience these triggers, and sensitivities can vary from person to person. If you suspect that interactions with your cat or their environment are impacting your psoriasis, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider for guidance on managing your condition.
Managing Psoriasis While Caring for Your Cat
If you have psoriasis and a cat, there are several effective ways to manage your symptoms while enjoying the benefits of pet ownership:
- Keep your skin moisturized: To alleviate psoriasis symptoms, it’s crucial to maintain well-hydrated skin using creams and ointments. Consider using petroleum jelly during psoriasis flares.
- Avoid scratching: Scratching can exacerbate psoriasis symptoms, so make a conscious effort to refrain from scratching or picking at patches or scales.
- Identify and avoid triggers: Be vigilant about recognizing potential triggers for your psoriasis, as these can vary from person to person and might include factors like stress, skin injury, smoking, and specific medications.
- Exercise caution with your cat: When interacting with your feline friend, steer clear of animals that appear sick, are feral, or are very young. Following any contact with animals or items from their environment, always practice thorough hand hygiene by washing your hands with running water and soap. This is especially important if you have a weakened immune system due to factors like organ transplant or radiation therapy, as you may be at a higher risk of contracting diseases from animals.
- Utilize a humidifier: Maintain proper skin moisture by utilizing a humidifier, particularly when indoor air is dry.
- Moderate sun exposure: Exposure to sunlight can occasionally improve the appearance of psoriasis-affected skin. However, it’s crucial to avoid sunburn, which can worsen psoriasis symptoms.
Another critical aspect of cat ownership pertains to their hygiene, and this is a topic that merits discussion. It’s essential to address and understand the hygiene considerations associated with having a cat. Here are some ways to address this:
Maintaining a Clean Cat Litter Box with Psoriasis
Maintaining a clean cat litter box is crucial for both your cat’s and your own health, especially when dealing with psoriasis. Here are some tips to ensure a clean cat litter box while managing psoriasis:
- Wear Gloves: Use gloves to prevent direct contact with cat feces and litter, reducing the risk of infection.
- Frequent Handwashing: Wash your hands thoroughly, especially after handling cat litter or cleaning the litter box, to prevent the spread of germs.
- Choose Unscented Litter: Opt for unscented litter to minimize the risk of skin irritation and allergic reactions.
- Regular Cleaning: Clean the litter box at least twice a day to prevent odors and lower the risk of infection.
- Use a Mild Detergent: When cleaning the litter box, use a mild, unscented dish detergent or a mild bleach solution (20 parts water to one part bleach) and rinse it thoroughly.
- Separate from Food: Ensure the litter box is kept away from areas where food is prepared or consumed.
- Seek Assistance: If you have a weakened immune system, such as after an organ transplant or during radiation therapy, you may be at a higher risk of diseases from animals. In such cases, it’s advisable to have someone else handle the litter box for you.
By adhering to these guidelines, cat owners with psoriasis can maintain a clean litter box, reducing the risk of infection and skin irritation.
In conclusion, understanding the potential connections between cats and psoriasis, as well as taking proactive steps to manage both your skin condition and your feline companion’s needs, can lead to a harmonious and healthy coexistence.
By following the recommended tips and guidelines, you can enjoy the company of your cat while effectively managing your psoriasis. Remember that consulting with a healthcare professional for personalized advice is always a prudent step to ensure your overall well-being.
Can I have a cat if I have psoriasis?
Having a pet can offer significant advantages when living with a chronic condition like psoriasis. Nonetheless, it’s essential to be realistic about the responsibilities and care involved.
Can cat scratch cause psoriasis?
In cases of scratches, bites, and skin injuries, such as bug bites, cuts, or scrapes, you might observe the development of new psoriasis lesions in the vicinity of the affected area.
What skin conditions can you get from a cat?
A variety of bacterial skin infections can potentially be transmitted to humans through contact with a cat’s urine, feces, saliva, or the fur of an infected animal. Staphylococcus is the most common bacterium responsible for causing skin infections in humans. Fortunately, most bacterial infections are treatable with antibiotics.
Can cats cause skin problems in humans?
While cats make wonderful companions, it’s important for cat owners to be aware that at times, cats can carry harmful germs that have the potential to induce a range of illnesses in people, spanning from minor skin infections to more severe health conditions.