Many pet owners are such die-hard cat lovers that they’re willing to put up with sneezes, wheezes and itchy rashes, just to be able to give a furry feline a good home. Others readily admit that they’re allergic, and have made the difficult decision not to keep a cat that whose companionship they can’t enjoy without having allergic fits.
But what if you already have a cat and you’re just too attached to give her up, despite being miserable all the time? Even though you’re allergic to cats, there are things that you can do to decrease your allergy symptoms.
Am I Allergic to my Cat?
If you are allergic to cats, you are most definitely not alone. According to WebMD, around 10% of the U.S. population have pet allergies, and sufferers are twice as likely to be allergic to cats.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms after a snuggle session with your cat, you might be allergic:
– stuffy or runny nose
– itchy, red eyes
– hives or rashes
What Causes Allergies to Cats?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually not the cat fur itself that’s making you sneeze. Cats carry a protein in their saliva, urine, and dander that sets off sneezing fits in many of us. Most of us come in contact with this protein through cat dander, which occurs when our kitties have dry skin, or from our cats’ fastidious habit of licking of themselves. In addition, even if you’re not allergic to cats themselves, outdoor cats can often carry in other environmental allergens, like mold spores and pollen.
What Can I Do About my Cat Allergy?
If your allergy symptoms are manifesting themselves as moderate or severe asthma, talk to your doctor. In cases like this, re-homing your pet might be your only option. However, if your allergies are fairly mild and don’t cause you breathing difficulties, you may have options.
Try some of the following cat allergy remedies to relieve your symptoms and reduce the allergens in your home:
Find Hidden Allergens
Think like a detective: are there places in your home that might accumulate dander more quickly? Those floor-length curtains could be replaced with mini blinds, or washed once a month. Does your cat sleep on your comforter? Toss that in the washer, too. Hardwood or linoleum floors? Try a wet mop once a week, and you’ll have the added benefit of a reduced dust bunny population.
Clean House Frequently
Regular sweeping, vacuuming and mopping are a good idea for any allergy sufferers. It might take a little extra work, but you’ll breath easier and sneeze less if you do regular cleaning around the house.
Change Your Filters
You might try replacing your vacuum and furnace filters with Hepa filters to reduce the dust and other allergens floating through the air in your home – it’s a good idea, even for people who don’t suffer from pet allergies. If you can’t afford the more expensive Hepa filters, just changing your regular filters more frequently will help.
Groom Your Cat Often
You may be sneezing because of your cat is shedding excessive dander. This is just as unpleasant for your pet as you – it’s no fun having dry, itchy skin. If this is the case, bathe him two to three times per month with a cat shampoo designed for dry skin. Most of them contain soothing ingredients like oatmeal that will reduce your pet’s dander. Does your cat freak out when confronted with water? Try allergen-reducing dander wipes, sold at many pet stores.
Ultimately, whether you can still keep your cat despite your allergies all depends on how severe your allergies are. If you’ve tried the remedies above and they aren’t working, talk to your doctor and see if there is an allergy medication that will work for you. Hopefully, making a few changes in your house cleaning and pet grooming habits can help you relieve your cat allergy symptoms.