What To Do If You Have Cat Allergies

I have to admit, I’ve never had a cat mainly because I have pretty severe cat allergies – much worse than my dog allergies I had when I was a kid. My dog allergies are pretty much gone now, but my cat allergies are still pretty strong. I remember once, several years ago now, we went to visit some friends who had two cats. After about 30 minutes in their house, I was sneezing and my eyes were watering. After about an hour, I started having trouble breathing and we left. That experience has stuck with me and I’ve avoided cats ever since.

Since we start SlimKitty almost a year ago, I’ve been writing about cats and meeting all sorts of new kitty friends and it’s got me rethinking whether we should have a cat or not. It’s hard to resist all of those fun cat videos on the internet! And it would sure make writing a cat themed blog a lot easier!

cat allergies
 
When I developed these allergies as a child, I had to get shots every two weeks – so I’m thankful that my dog allergies have subsided, but I am NOT wishing to ignite anything with cat allergies! I’ve been doing some research about cat allergies to see if there is anything (short of constantly medicating myself) that I can do.
 
I found a few interesting allergy facts:
 

  • According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), about 9 to 12 million people in the U.S. alone have dog or cat allergies.
  • In 2006, the New York Times reported that at least 1 in every 10 pet owners is allergic to their pet.
  • Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies.

 
Cat allergies are commonly caused by dander (not the hair), saliva and urine. In some folks, when their body comes in contact either on the skin or inhaled, these proteins are seen as invaders and the body responds by trying to fight them off. Your body releases histamine to fight them off and it is that histamine that causes your discomfort – the runny eyes, itchy skin, trouble breathing – all of those allergy symptoms you suffer through. On occasion, I still get a little itchy skin if Jack licks my face or hand and sometimes if I come in contact with their paws, I’ll get a little reaction from those proteins. Luckily, my body has developed immunity to dog allergans.

 
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as an allergy-free cat. All cats produce dander and saliva and urine…so put that idea out of your mind. There are cats who are considered hypoallergenic because they shed less and therefore may produce less dander, but there are no cats that are allergan free. So, how do you fight allergic reactions if you have cats? Here’s some steps you can take to rid your house and your environment of as much cat allergans as you can:
 

  1. Bath your cat frequently and/or wipe them down with a moist towel daily to rid them of dander.
  2. Maintain an allergy free zone – a place where you don’t EVER allow the cat – preferably your bedroom so you can sleep allergan free.
  3. Have only ONE cat.
  4. Invest in a HEPA airfilter to clear the air.
  5. Vacuum frequently using a HEPA filter.
  6. Have someone else manage the litterbox.

 
I don’t know if we will get a cat or not. My allergies is only one reason – how our dogs SlimDoggy Jack & Maggie would react is a whole different story. But at least I’m armed with some information and steps I can take to aid in the fight.
 
How about you – do you have allergies? How have you dealt with it?

 

Additional Readings:

Pet Allergies: Keeping Your Pet

Pet Allergies

How to Live with Allergies and Pets

Cat Allergy

Do Hypoallergenic Cats Exist?

 

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6 Comments

  1. I’ve had cat allergies my entire life, but as a kid I wanted a cat so bad, my dad finally decided to get one and give it a try. I had shots for allergies for years which did help some. I still get puffy red eyes and a runny nose if I get too much cat in the face. Having had allergies my whole life, and really bad ones, I just do what I want and work through it. I discovered 1000mg of vitamin D a day has helped tremendously. I read a study about it helping kids and decided to try it. Without it I wouldn’t be able to function several months a year as my allergies have been that bad.
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  2. Fortunately I don’t have cat allergies. Maybe for allergic people adopting a Sphinx cat would be a good solution.
    Rosa recently posted…6 Cat Scarves for the Stylish Cat LadyMy Profile

  3. I actually work with a veterinarian that is allergic to cats…now that is dedication.
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