Friday 9 December 2022

Should cats be allowed on aeroplanes when 10-20% of people are allergic?

I think that this is a good question raised by Jacqueline Swartz writing for CNN. It is against the domestic cat and therefore I am a bit reluctant to write the article but, as I said, it's a good point. I think it needs discussing at least briefly.

Reluctant feline flier
Reluctant feline flier. Image:

Jacqueline is allergic to cats. In fact, she says that she is severely allergic and vulnerable to allergic asthma. Quick research indicates that 10-20% of people are allergic to domestic cats. That is up to one in five people.

If there are a hundred people on an aircraft, 20 of them will be allergic to cats at a maximum. That's quite a big number and if there are 200 people on the plane you can double it.

Of course, not everyone is going to feel the effects of a cat in the aircraft's cabin as you have to be quite near, I would suggest, to the cat in a carrier to get the effect and therefore perhaps only one or two people allergic to cats will suffer negative consequences.

But as you probably know the feline cat allergen is carried on cat dander which disperses throughout the environment in which the cat finds themselves. I would suspect, therefore, that some cat dander travels out of the cat carrier into the cabin.

That might be a good point because it means it rests on the seats and I wonder if over time it builds up or whether the cleaners vacuum the seats or wash them down regularly.

Apparently, more people are allergic to cats than dogs because in writing this article you have got to think that if you are considering banning cats from aircraft you got to consider banning dogs from aircraft too.

One person who supports Jacqueline's argument that there should be a discussion about allowing cats on aeroplanes is an allergy and asthma specialist Dr. Mark C Jacobson, a former president of the Illinois Society of Allergy and Immunology.

He said:

"There are no hypoallergenic breeds of cat or dog.....The confined space of a plane could definitely pose a hazard for patients with cat allergy sufferers."

He confirmed that the dander is small and sticky and attaches itself to aeroplane seats.

I think it has to be admitted right away that there is no possibility of banning cats from aircraft! The only solution is for people who are allergic to cats to do something to protect themselves.

With billions of Covid-19 masks available to us, wearing one wouldn't look out of place and it could help prevent the dander from getting into the person's airways.

Apparently, air circulating throughout aircraft cabins passes through a HEPA air filter. Most airlines have them which may also help. But it probably wouldn't help if you are sitting near a cat.

Jacqueline says that on her six-hour Air Canada trip from Bogota she asked the flight attendant where the cat was located as she'd learnt that a cat was sharing the cabin with her. She was told the cat was three rows behind her! She wasn't allowed to move seats as the flight was full. And she also learned from the attendant that there were other cats and dogs on the plane.

Pets must remain in their carriers under the seat during the flight when they travel in the cabin.

Jacquelin's research informed her that economy passengers can call the airline ahead and reserve a seat five rows from the nearest cat! That might not work but there again it might.

Jeff Lane who works for United Airlines said:

"We try to be sensitive and move you away from cats. We deal with this day in and day out."

You wouldn't realise that it was such a big issue. Sometimes airlines allow eight pets in the cabin on a flight. United Airlines allow six pet cases in the cabin of Boeing 787, 777 and 767 aircraft. Four pets are allowed in the cabin of Airbus 320s and 319s.

This seems to be a pet problem (forgive the pun) of cat allergy sufferers. Tonya Winders, president of the Virginia-based Global Allergy Airways Patient Platform said: "We have been trying to raise awareness of cat allergy in cabins since 1985".

The Federal Aviation Administration's Air Carrier Access Act is meant to protect people with disabilities including severe allergies in aircraft cabins. The advice apparently is to select airlines that don't allow cat in cabins. If they do call ahead and try and sit as far as you can away from a cat and have a conversation with your doctor before flying!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are always welcome.

Featured Post

i hate cats

i hate cats, no i hate f**k**g cats is what some people say when they dislike cats. But they nearly always don't explain why. It appe...

Popular posts