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If your eyes are itchy and you can’t stop sneezing, these could be signs of a cat allergy. Here’s the good news – we’ve got some tips that will help keep them in check!
Many people with pet allergies think they should give up on the idea of adopting a cat, and may find it almost impossible to visit friends and family who own cats. Fortunately, though, there are ways for allergy sufferers to manage cat allergies.
So before you consider getting rid of your cat or should you live a life without the companionship of furry cats, we’ve put together some tips that will help you live with a cat allergy.
Related: Hypoallergenic Cats – Do They Really Exist?
What causes your allergy?
Before you learn how to deal with a cat allergy, it’s helpful to understand what actually causes the allergy. According to WebMD, it’s not the cat’s fur or dander that results in allergies. Rather, the proteins that are in dander are what many individuals are allergic to.
These allergens are also found in cat saliva and urine. And because they become so easily airborne, many people don’t even need to touch or go near a cat before they start suffering from an allergy.
Related: Top 4 Most Common Cat Allergies
Tip #1: Limit upholstered furniture, rugs, and carpets
Upholstered furniture, rugs, and carpets can trap allergens and make it difficult to remove them from your environment. So it’s a good idea to stick to hardwood floors instead of carpeting, if possible. And if that’s not possible or you prefer carpets and rugs, all you have to do is vacuum and steam clean. Minimize upholstered furniture, too, if possible, or clean it on a regular basis as well.
Tip #2: Use HEPA filters
Since many allergens are recirculated back into the air during a vacuum, investing in a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter will trap allergens and prevent them from returning to your environment as you clean.
Also, a separate HEPA air filter and purifier will get rid of small allergens, including cat dander. You should keep the filter on for a minimum of four hours a day for best results.
Whenever possible, it’s also a good idea to open windows throughout your home to increase ventilation and get some fresh air.
Tip #3: Take medicine
Another option is to take prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines, eye drops, inhalers, decongestants, etc. to relieve your symptoms (these will not get rid of your allergies). Allergy shots, also referred to as immunotherapy, are also an option.
Or you could instead take a more natural and holistic approach by trying things like acupuncture, nettle tea, quercetin, or antioxidants like vitamins C and E to reduce the effects of cat allergies. You can even try eliminating certain foods from your diet that may cause allergic reactions, such as dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, eggs, and artificial ingredients.
Tip #4: Clean regularly
Establishing a regular cleaning routine is essential if you are allergic to cats. Scrub wood and walls that allergens could stick to, wash carpets, shampoo rugs, keep your home clean and tidy, and use a damp cloth whenever you dust in order to trap allergens instead of moving them around. Also focus on keeping cat beds and cat trees as clean as possible.
Tip #5: Cover the heating and cooling vents
To reduce allergens throughout your home, you can place cheesecloth over the air conditioner and heating vents. You can also install air cleaners with HEPA filters on your air conditioning and heating systems to prevent allergens from circulating.
Tip #6: Focus on your cat’s health
Cats fed a high-quality diet tend to have healthier skin and coat, and may be less likely to shed large amounts of hair and dander. If you are not sure what type of food is best for your cat, ask your vet for advice.
Get tested to be sure you have cat allergies
To be certain that your allergy is being caused by cat dander, have it tested. You may find that something else is causing your allergy, or that a combination of allergens is to blame. Knowing this will help you treat the problem more effectively and get the relief you need.