If you’re allergic to cats, you know how much of a hassle it can be to live with a cat or even visit someone who owns a cat. There’s nothing worse than suffering with cat allergy symptoms.
If you have suffered with the symptoms of eyes running, itchy throat , itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and just general horribleness and itchiness all round. You know you will do anything to feel okay again.
Cuteness doesn’t count, even cute kitties have been disastrous for me. Fortunately not all cats make me feel this way.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize symptoms and reduce exposure to allergens.
Here are some tips to explain how to control cat allergies.
Reduce Your Exposure to Allergens – Air Filters
An air filter or air purifier can help by trapping allergens such as dust, pet dander, and pollen, which are commonly found in the air inside homes.
These allergens trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to them, like you if you are reading this and me, causing those dreaded symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
By trapping these allergens and removing them from the air, an air filter can reduce the amount of allergens a person is exposed to, which in turn can help to alleviate allergic symptoms.
Have You Heard Of A HEPA Filter?
A HEPA filter in a vacuum cleaner works by using a fine mesh to trap very small particles, such as dust, pet dander, and pollen from carpets, furniture, and other surfaces.
HEPA is an acronym that stands for “high-efficiency particulate air.
As the air flows through the filter, the particles in the air become trapped in the fibers of the filter.
This means that even very small particles that would otherwise escape through the filter are captured, making the air that comes out of the filter cleaner and less allergenic.
Dyson vacuum cleaners use HEPA filters. I have a Dyson and love it. It is Dyson V8 Animal. It has quite a few accessories, all of which I use. I could never go back to a corded vacuum cleaner. I’m not saying they don’t work but the convenience of a cordless is priceless.
I even use the smaller handheld part in place of using a traditional duster. The good thing about this is that it nor only dusts but will also trap dander, dust mites and picks up the cat’s hair from upholstered furniture. Ok off my Dyson hobbyhorse now.
Types of Air Filters
Some filters are portable and are specifically designed to help pet allergy sufferers. These are typically smaller, handheld devices that can be moved around from room to room, or even taken with you when you travel.
Here are some different types of portable air filters
Personal air purifiers
These are small, portable devices that can be worn around your neck or placed on your desk or table. They work by pulling in the air around you and filtering out allergens such as dust, pollen, and dander.
Portable room air purifiers
They are usually small and lightweight, making them easy to move from room to room. These devices work like personal air purifiers releasing clean air back into the room.
Purifiers for The car
Unless you do have your cat in the car a lot of the time, these filters are probably more for dog owners, however you never know.
Some kitties do travel and these filters would be great for an RV or motor home for any type of pet allergy.
They are designed to clean the air inside a car. These purifiers typically use HEPA filters to remove allergens and odors.
Groom Your Cat Regularly
Do you groom your cat regularly? Even cats with shorter hair need grooming. We tend to think of the cats that have long coats as being the cats that need grooming and that short haired cats can groom themselves.
This is true up to a point, long haired cats do need grooming intervention from us to look at their best.
By grooming your short haired cat on you will be amazed at the amount of cat hair that is removed. This will help to keep your allergies at bay. I like to brush the cat outdoors , In fine weather.
This article gives a good explanation of the different types of cat grooming gloves which makes this job easy. Further in the article there are detailed instructions about how to use the glove properly and how to care for the glove.
Grooming your cat regularly helps to reduce your cat allergy symptoms.
By removing loose hair and cat dander, you can reduce allergens that are circulating in the air. Cats also shed hair several times year. Find out when the cat is most likely to be shedding hair.
Use a damp cloth to wipe down your cat’s fur, or use a pet grooming tool with a rubber brush. This will help remove loose hair, cat dander, and other allergens.
Over The Counter Medications
There are several medications that can be bought from the pharmacy to relieve symptoms without needing a prescription These medications treat the symptoms of cat allergies, such as sneezing, runny nose, and itching eyes. These include:
These medications work by blocking the action of histamine, a chemical that is released in the body during an allergic reaction. This can help to reduce symptoms such as sneezing and itching.
Examples of there antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
Note – Zyrtec works well for me but most definitely makes me sleepy.
You may need to try a few different brands to find one that works for you with no sleepy side effects. Medication with loratadine is working for me at the moment.
These medications can help to reduce the congestion and stuffiness that can occur during an allergic reaction.
These decongestants include pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and phenylephrine (Sudafed PE).
Discuss the difference between Sudafed and Sudafed PE with your pharmacist before using these products. If appropriate your pharmacist will recommend seeing a doctor for further information and advice based on your medical needs.
Some over-the-counter nasal sprays can also be used to treat symptoms of cat allergies. These include saline sprays, which can help to moisturize and soothe dry, irritated nasal passages, and nasal corticosteroid sprays, which can help to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.
Examples of over-the-counter nasal sprays include fluticasone (Flonase) and mometasone (Nasonex).
I find that just a plain saline nose spray will also help alleviate symptoms.
Just to reiterate – Always read and follow the label directions when using these medications, and if symptoms persist or worsen, consult a doctor. Consult with a pharmacist or a doctor before using any medication. Some of these medications may have some side effects, such as drowsiness, hence you need to be careful when driving or operating heavy machinery, or when drinking alcohol.
Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment option that can help to reduce your sensitivity to cat allergens and other pet allergies. This treatment involves having a skin prick test and then depending on the results of the skin prick test, receiving regular injections of allergens over a period of several months or years.
As your body becomes accustomed to the allergens, your symptoms will become less severe.
I did have this treatment. It turns out I have a few allergies.
My treatment was some time ago so I will not describe the method except to say that the injections were over the period of a year, tapering off towards the latter end of the year. The difference for me, was amazing.
As well as cats and dogs and horses being okay, I could literally stick my head in a wall full of ivy and not sneeze. It was really worthwhile. It hasn’t lasted forever but I don’t think the cat allergy has ever been quite as bad as it was before the treatment.
Keep The Cat Out Of The Bedroom
This is essential if you suffer with cat allergies or any other pet allergies for that matter. It is not always easy keeping the cat out of the bedroom.
In this article I have outlined several ideas for keeping a quiet quiet at night. Some of the suggestions include how to keep the cat out of the bedroom.
This will limit exposure to the cat in your bedroom. It is not the best solution as it takes a concerted effort to do this. It is however worth a try. I did it. Closing the bedroom door was not a solution for us, as the cat would rattle the door to get in.
Oh no, we had to be far craftier and limit access at a different point in the house. This photo is dark but you can see the cat contemplating the door closure. We referred to it as he cat staying in his own apartment for the night.
Why Do Cat Allergies Occur?
Very simply, cats cause cat allergies in humans due to the proteins found in cat saliva and shed fur. These proteins become airborne when the cat grooms itself, and when they come in contact with the skin’s surface, they can trigger a reaction.
Common symptoms of cat allergy include coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and asthma attacks. In some severe cases, there may even be skin irritation such as hives or rashes.
To reduce your risk of a cat allergy, it is important to limit your exposure to cats and keep them away from your living or workspace.
Consider Rehoming Your Cat
This is a last ditch solution. If your cat allergies are severe and you’re unable to control your allergy symptoms, you may need to consider rehoming your cat.
Although it’s a difficult decision, it may be the best thing for both you and your pet. Reach out to local animal shelters or rescue groups to find a new home for your cat.