Pork-Cat Syndrome

This is a simplified explanation of Pork-Cat Syndrome – there are more resources available at the bottom of the page for further reading for those who are interested in knowing more.

What does this term mean?

An individual can be sensitised to the serum albumin allergens in pork by having allergic reactions to cats, their dander or saliva. This sensitisation will cause a small portion of those people allergic to cats to begin to have allergic reactions to the ingestion of pig meat and pork products.

Why are the symptoms of this syndrome?

Allergy to foods containing serum albumins have a wide range of symptoms and severity including urticaria (hives or welts), angioedema (swelling under the skin), nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting or breathlessness and anaphylactic shock.

What is the allergen that causes these reactions?

Serum albumin proteins are found in mammalian and poultry meats. Different species of animals have slightly different proteins, e.g. bovine serum albumin and ovine serum albumin (where bovine means cows and ovine means sheep). Serum albumin proteins are also very common in humans. They are similarly shaped enough for some people with this allergy to have allergic reactions to all foods containing the same proteins.

Serum albumin proteins are thermolabile, which means they are easily broken down by heating and processing.

An allergy to mammalian meats is more likely to be caused by Alpha Gal Syndrome, than by an allergy to serum albumins. These allergic reactions are delayed in comparison to the usual immediate IgE allergic reactions, so are easy to distinguish.

Which foods do I need to avoid?

You need to avoid eating pork and pork products like sausages, gammon and bacon if you suffer from Pork-Cat Syndrome. There is anecdotal evidence that smoked pork problems cause more symptoms. In very sensitive cases beef can cause allergic reactions.

What is the importance of knowing whether this is Pork-Cat Syndrome or a more general pork and cat allergy?

Multiple allergies are becoming more common and this often leads people to impose a strict restrictive diet on themselves. This can lead to a poor diet lacking in essential nutrients and frustration over a lack of eating options. Knowing exactly which allergens and foods cause your reactions can bring certain food groups bacck into your diet.

This is why food diaries continue to be an important tool in diagnosis of your allergies – noting the times reactions took place and what medications were taken are a necessary starting point for a proper diagnosis.

Click here for a free to download food diary with tips on how to complete or follow the link to the paperback Allergy Resources Food Diary.


Allergen Encyclopedia - Pork Allergy

Allergen Encyclopedia - Cat Allergy

Science Direct - Serum Albumin

Articles and Journals

A case of transient pork-cat syndrome in a child due to albumin sensitization, 2024

The Feline and the Swine: A Peculiar Case in an Allergy Clinic, 2023

Case report of a child who may have developed anaphylaxis after ingesting raw horse meat by cross-reactivity of horse and cat pelt, 2023

The Role of Molecular Allergens in the Diagnosis of Cat-Pork Syndrome: An Unusual Case Report, 2022

Pork-cat syndrome as cause of anaphylactic reaction to well-cooked meat, 2023

A case of Pork-Cat Syndrome that developed as Food-Dependent Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis, 2020

Initial description of pork-cat syndrome in the United States, 2013

Pork-Cat Syndrome as a Cause of Occupational Asthma, 2014

In the Pork-Cat Syndrome, Allergic Reactions to Pork Reflect IgE Antibodies to Cat Albumin that Cross-reacts with Other Albumins, 2012

Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful. If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.

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