Does engaging with your feline pet cause you to cry tears of misery rather than tears of joy?
Do you have runny nose, rash, hives, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, asthma, or other breathing difficulties in addition to itchy, watery eyes?
You, like an estimated 2% of the U.S. population, have a cat allergy and, like around one-third of those people, have opted to keep your cat companion. But at what price?
Cat hair, contrary to popular perception, is not allergic. Cat allergies are caused by a protein called Fel d 1, which is found in the sebaceous glands of cats. When cats bathe themselves, the protein attaches itself to dry skin, known as dander, which flakes off and floats through the air.
Although you may never be able to completely remove your allergy symptoms, following these tips can help you deal with cat allergies.
Learn how you can help someone you love with cat allergies
If you or someone you live with is allergic to cats, you know how difficult it can be, especially if you share or want to share your home with feline companions. We’ve compiled some information about cat allergies that might help you deal with this problem.
What Causes People to Be Allergic to Cats?
Many people think that a cat’s fur is what causes allergic reactions in people, but it is actually proteins in the saliva, urine, and dander of a cat that causes them. These triggers are called allergens. The protein that is the most widely known allergen produced by cats is Fel D 1, and it is in cat saliva and skin secretions.
When cats groom themselves, they spread Fel D 1 throughout their fur, and when they shed or dander falls off them, the allergen is deposited into the environment. Allergic humans then contact the allergen when they touch things in the environment, pet the cat, or even breathe the air.
Every cat produces a different amount of Fel D 1 or the other cat allergens known to affect humans. Therefore, people who are allergic to cats might react more or less severely to specific felines.
Treatments and Remedies for Cat Allergies
Clean out the cat litter box.
Cat allergen is detected in urine and is excreted in the litter box by your cat.
To help reduce allergic responses to the litter box, choose a less powdery brand of litter and have someone in the home who is not allergic clean it.
Increase your resistance.
There is no cure for cat allergy, although immunotherapy may help you gain tolerance.
Immunotherapy entails receiving allergy shots once or twice a week for up to six months, followed by monthly boosters for three to five years.
Some people gain total immunity, while others require shots on a regular basis, while still others have no relief at all.
Take your medication as directed.
Antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, and aerosol inhalers, whether over-the-counter or prescription, will help lessen symptoms but will not cure the allergy.
If you prefer a more natural method, consider Nettle tea, a bioflavonoid called quercetin, or acupuncture.
Antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E have been shown in recent research to have strong anti-allergen effects.
Limit your cat’s access to specific sections of your home.
Allow your cat to spend some time outside if you have a safe outside enclosure where dander may blow away in the wind.
Brush your cat in the fresh-air enclosure to keep loose, allergen-carrying hair from floating throughout your house.
Remove allergy traps like upholstered furniture and rugs.
Carpet can gather up to 100 times the quantity of cat allergens as hardwood flooring, so replacing the wall-to-wall carpet with wood can keep allergens at bay.
If taking up the carpet isn’t an option, have it steam cleaned on a regular basis.
Make your bedroom a cat-free zone.
Begin your allergen-reduction program by washing your bedding, draperies, and pillows.
Even better, replace them.
Use plastic covers on your mattress and pillows to prevent allergens from penetrating.
Allergen-proof coverings can be purchased at medical supply stores.
Don’t anticipate results right away.
Cat allergens are one-sixth the size of pollens, and considerable reduction may take months.
Vacuuming eliminates as many allergens as it removes, therefore use an allergen-proof vacuum cleaner bag or a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter while vacuuming.
Wipe away the dander.
Bathing a cat is frequently recommended as a method of reducing dander, although experts vary on its efficiency.
“Bathing a cat was originally thought to be beneficial,” Dr. Robert Zuckerman, an allergy and asthma expert in Harrisburg, PA, says, “but the cat would have to be bathed virtually daily.”
Instead, use items like Pal’s Quick Cleansing WipesTM on a daily basis to remove saliva and dander from your cat’s hair, which is less stressful for felines who prefer not to be rubbed in the tub.
Allergens should be sprayed away.
Anti-allergen sprays are a quick and easy approach to eliminate allergies, including those created by pets.
Allersearch ADS, which is produced from plant-based, non-toxic ingredients, can be sprayed throughout the house to alleviate the sting of household dust by rendering allergens harmless.
Take several deep breaths.
Because well insulated homes retain allergies as well as heat, open the windows to enhance circulation and use window fans on exhaust.
(However, remember to always screen windows to keep kitten safe inside.)
Clean the air in your home as well.
Although nothing will completely eliminate allergies, using an air cleaner with a HEPA filter can assist.
Take the test.
A simple prick of the skin on your arm or back can help an allergy specialist pinpoint the source of your allergic responses.
Take a look at the big picture.
Because allergies are rarely packaged individually, other factors such as dust mites and pollen may also be producing symptoms.
“A person rarely has a single allergy,” Zuckerman explains.
“A cat owner may be able to withstand contact with the cat during the winter, but when spring arrives, the combination of allergies may prove unbearable.”
Coping with a cat allergy is nothing to sneeze at.
It’s a big deal.
After all, shelters acquire cats for this precise reason on a daily basis.
Following these suggestions should make a significant effect.
What Are the Signs of Cat Allergy in Humans?
Cat allergies can cause some or all of the following symptoms, which can range from moderate to severe:
- Runny, itchy, and bloodshot eyes
- Nose congestion and runny nose
- Rashes and red, itching skin
- Some asthmatics may get an attack as a result of a cat allergy.