Cat Allergy Help: Tips for Coping with Pet Allergies at Home

If you’re allergic to cats, having a furry feline friend at home can be challenging. However, with some adjustments, you may be able to reduce allergy symptoms and keep enjoying your cat’s company. This guide covers causes of cat allergies, how to manage symptoms, and tips for living with cats when you have allergies.

What Causes Cat Allergies?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not cat hair that causes allergies. The real culprit is a protein found in cat saliva and skin oils. When cats groom themselves, they spread this protein, called Fel d 1, onto their fur and skin. Shedding then releases Fel d 1 into your home environment, where you can inhale it and experience allergy symptoms.

Cat hair can also pick up other airborne allergens like pollen and carry them around your home. This exposes sensitive individuals to multiple potential triggers.

Recognising Cat Allergy Symptoms

Common allergy symptoms triggered by cats include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Skin rash or hives

The reaction may be immediate for some when exposed to cats. For others, the signs are subtle and overlap with reactions to other allergens like dust mites. Testing by an allergy specialist can confirm cat allergies.

Tips For Managing Cat Allergies at Home

If you’re allergic but want to keep your cat, take these steps to minimize symptoms:

  • Install hard flooring instead of carpets
  • Use window blinds rather than fabric curtains
  • Add high-efficiency air filters
  • Frequently wash bedding and fabric your cat contacts
  • Keep litter boxes and beds away from vents
  • Consider taking allergy medication prescribed by your doctor

Creating “cat-free” spaces, like the bedroom, also helps reduce exposure.

Interacting With Cats When You Have Allergies

When spending time with your cat, be mindful of these tips:

  • Avoid being licked, as saliva spreads allergens
  • Wipe your cat down gently with a damp cloth
  • Always groom outdoors
  • Wash hands after petting
  • Feed allergen-reducing food like Purina Pro Plan LiveClear

This specialized cat food is designed to neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen in saliva before it’s released into the environment.

Allergy Mythbusting

Despite rumors about “hypoallergenic” cats, all cats produce allergens. There are no scientifically proven hypoallergenic breeds. Even hairless cats shed dander containing allergens.

And while some assume developing cat allergies as an adult is rare, new allergy symptoms can emerge when someone is re-exposed after a period of avoidance. Adults with cat allergies likely had sensitivity as a child.

Should You Re-home Your Cat if You’re Allergic?

This is a personal decision without a one-size-fits-all answer. Assess if your symptoms are something you can manage or if they’ve become too severe for you to cope with while living with a cat. For some, adjustments and allergy-control measures are enough to keep cat allergies at bay. But others may need to consider re-homing as a last resort if their reactions are extreme and treatment doesn’t help.

Living Well with Cats Despite Allergies

While cat allergies can’t be cured, with some planning it may be possible to reduce symptoms and keep enjoying feline companionship. Work closely with your healthcare provider to find suitable treatments. Avoidance of allergens is also key through maintaining a clean home environment and conscious interactions with cats. And specialised diet changes in your cat can lower the amount of allergens released around your house. With the right lifestyle adjustments, those with allergies can often thrive with their beloved furry friends.

Using a cat allergy home test kit can provide definitive proof of your allergy so you can take steps to manage symptoms.

Photo “Cat” by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Health

Zoom Health is a leading UK supplier of Home Health Tests and Earplugs

You May Also Like: