Cats—they are wonderful creatures that offer the perfect combination of haughtiness and independence coupled with affection and entertainment. These cuddly balls of fur have become one of the most popular household pets across the world. Many people turn to their kitties for comfort and company, relaxing at the sound of their gentle purring. However, what happens if you suffer from cat allergies?
Many people who own and adore cats and own cats are devastated to discover that they suffer from allergies to their furry friends, but fortunately, there are steps you can take if you suffer from cat allergies. These steps don't have to involve giving your beloved feline companion away. So, let’s find out more about how you can handle allergies you suffer when you find yourself around cats, so you can live in peace and happiness with your fur-ball.
What Are Cat Allergies?
As the name suggests, a cat allergy is an allergic reaction that stems from exposure to cat dander that becomes airborne. These allergies can present themselves in various ways depending on the reaction of the sufferer. Allergies to cats are common and affect both men and women of every age group. It can be very difficult for those that own cats to work out how to manage their cat allergies. However, there are ways and means of controlling cat allergies so you can enjoy the experience of owning a cat without having to put yourself through the mill in terms of your health.
What Causes Cat Allergies?
Many people believe they are allergic to the fur of their cats, but this is not the case. The thing that causes cat allergies is Fel d 1, which is a protein that comes from the sebum in your cat’s sebaceous glands. You can be exposed to the protein via dander, which is the dried skin that flakes off the cat’s body and becomes airborne when the animals groom and wash themselves.
The severity of an allergy to cat dander varies from person to person as do the symptoms. If you have a cat but you suffer from cat allergies, it is important to consider what steps you can take to ease these symptoms. There are various symptoms that could indicate you have a cat allergy, and some common symptoms include:
Steps You Should Take to Ease Allergies to Cats
If you are unfortunate enough to be a cat lover who also suffers from cat allergies, there are various steps you can take to help ease your symptoms. Taking these steps should help make it easier for you to live in harmony with your cat without having to put yourself through loads of discomfort and misery.
Create Cat Free Zones
If you have a serious cat allergy, one thing you can do is create a variety of cat-free zones in your home where you can escape and get away from the dander. Places such as your bedroom may be a good place to start, otherwise you will be exposed to airborne dander throughout the night. While it is sometimes difficult to keep cats out of rooms they want to get into, keeping the doors shut in the designated areas will help them learn where they can and cannot go. Also, make zones where the cats are allowed more alluring by having things such as cat trees and other pleasurable items in there for them.
Groom Your Cat Outdoors
If you groom your cat regularly, you need to ensure you do it outdoors rather than in the house. This will ensure that the fur and dander are released outside where it will be quickly carried away by the wind rather than left floating around the air in your home. This will help to reduce the amount of cat dander and fur in your home as well as the risk of your cat releasing more dander when grooming itself indoors. This will lessen the overall symptoms of your allergies.
Get Rid of Allergen Traps
There are certain items in your home that may be traps for allergens, including pet dander from your cat. This includes items such as carpeted floors, rugs, and upholstered settees. Instead, look at more practical alternatives such as laminate flooring and leather or faux leather furniture, which is far easier to clean and will not trap dander in like how carpets and upholstery can trap them. This helps reduce the amount of cat dander you are exposed to in your home, thus reducing the risk of cat allergies flaring up. If you prefer or have to keep your carpeting, have them steam cleaned regularly.
Use Cleansing Wipes
Any cat owner that has tried to give their feline a bath knows that trying to give a cat a bath is a difficult, and sometimes slightly dangerous, endeavor. However, one thing you can do to reduce the risk of cat allergies is to use special cleansing wipes that are designed for use on cats’ fur. Make sure you only use the ones that are designed for cats as otherwise, your cat could become ill when grooming itself. These wipes can help to get rid of dander and dried saliva from your pet’s fur, so there is less of it to be released into the air.
Use Anti-Allergen Sprays
You can also buy anti-allergen sprays these days, which are safe for use around pets and can help to deactivate allergens in the air. All you need to do is spray these around the house to help reduce exposure to allergens and the symptoms of cat allergies. You will find plenty of non-toxic options available, which means you don’t have to worry about your kitty coming to any harm because of using the spray. You can look for suitable sprays online, and you will find that most are very affordable.
Regularly Clean Your Cat’s Litter Tray
Cat allergens can also be secreted in the urine of cats, which is why you need to make sure that the cat’s litter tray is cleaned out regularly. Make sure you use a quality cat litter that is absorbent and does not release lots of dust. Also, try to find someone that does not suffer from cat allergies to clean the litter tray for you, as this will limit your exposure to the allergens. Regularly cleaning out the tray is important to help make sure you have a healthy and hygienic home and that your cat has a clean, usable litter box available at any time.
Use Antihistamines to Control Symptoms
There are many great antihistamines available on the market these days, and these are both affordable and effective. These tablets can help with a range of allergies, including cat allergies. You can get stronger ones with a prescription, but you will also find plenty of over-the-counter options you can choose from. If in doubt, speak to the pharmacist for advice. If your cat allergies are severe, speak to your doctor to see whether you can get a stronger antihistamine prescription.
Another thing you can do is consider immunotherapy to help you build up a resistance and increase your tolerance levels. Although this will not cure your cat allergies, it can make it much easier for you to tolerate them. In fact, some people even develop a total immunity to allergies they've suffered from for years. If you're considering immunotherapy, you should know that you will need to have a series of weekly shots for up to six months, and after that, you will need to continue having boosters as directed for several years.
Use a HEPA Filter Vacuum
When you vacuum your home, you may end up simply blowing allergens around rather than cleaning them and getting rid of them. With this in mind, make sure you have a high-quality vacuum cleaner that comes with a HEPA filter and is specifically designed to help those who suffer from allergies. Having a heavy duty vacuum will make it easier for you to clean your home more effectively and get rid of allergens.
As you can see, there are various steps you can take to address your cat allergies, but just because you suffer from allergies to the feline species does not mean you have to give up your beloved pet or that you cannot be around cats. All it means is you have to take extra precautions to minimize on the effects of the allergy.
Many people suffer from hay-fever due to pollen levels, but this does not mean they stop going out altogether. Instead, they find ways of easing the symptoms and reducing the effects. You can do exactly the same thing with cat allergies by taking some or all of the steps we outlined here. This means you can live a far happier life with your kitty without the stress and discomfort of severe cat allergy symptoms. Remember, it's important to talk to your doctor if you have any serious concerns about your allergies to cats, or anything else.