12 Tips to Control Those Annoying Cat Allergies!
9 December, 2014
If you are allergic to cats, it makes it no fun to be around or especially own our fun feline friends. However, if your allergies are not severe, there are many things you can do or try without giving up on the entire feline pet family. Or maybe you have minimal allergies to cats that only bother you infrequently.
While many believe that cat hair it’s the culprit to our allergic reactions, this is not the case. There is a protein that attaches itself to dried skin, called dander that flakes off and floats through the air when cats wash themselves. Cat dander is more than just cat hair; dander is the skin cells, saliva, and other proteins that can cause your body to release histamine, an immune system protein that’s ultimately to blame for your miserable symptoms.
Below are some tips to help you keep the allergies and dander away.
1. Designate your bedroom as a cat-free zone.
As hard as this is for you and your cat (s), it’s best to have your bedroom and a cat-free zone. Then you can start washing all the necessary items that might have dander in them. Or if you can swing it financially, it’s best to replace them. Use plastic covers that are designed to prevent allergens from penetrating on your mattress and pillows. Allergen-proof covers are available from medical supply outlets. Don’t expect results overnight. Cat allergens are one-sixth the size of pollens, and it may take months to reduce them significantly. Make sure to close your bedroom door when you are away for the day.
If you get your symptoms under control by all means invite them back, but give yourself a break while you are trying to abate your symptoms.
2. Wash all bedding in 140-degree hot water at least twice monthly.
If you wash your bedding twice a month, this will eliminate both dust mite and cat allergen (because we know some of you will still let them sneak up on the bed every now and then).
3. Vacuum up cat allergen with a high grade HEPA vacuum cleaner twice weekly.
Vacuum walls, carpet, flooring, chairs, and furniture…everywhere. Use the hand tools on the vacuum. Cat allergen particles are very small and invasive so you really have to do a thorough job. Good hand tools on your vacuum cleaner are the answer here. Also, installing a central vacuum will help pick up the rest.
4. Use a vapor steam cleaner to clean your home.
In addition to vacuuming, vapor steam cleaners are now proven by research to be extremely helpful in killing off the cat proteins/dander, which are embedded in your carpets and upholstery. Steam cleaners provide a chemical-free way of cleaning and killing dust mites, bacteria, mold spores and cat allergen.
5. Wash your hands immediately after petting your cat and do not rub your eyes.
Rubbing your eyes can result in itchy eyes for hours. Use a strong anti-bacterial soap to avoid this problem. Have anti-bacterial soap everywhere around your house.
6. Bathe your cat
Some people bathe their cats to reduce the amount of dander that is released from their cat into the air, but research seems to be conflicting about its effectiveness. Allerpet, a well-known brand of liquid that reduces cat allergen in the air, can be applied to your cats’ coat and is available from your local veterinarian. Alternatively, you can get a micro fiber cloth and just damp rub down the cats’ coats to rid it of visible dander. The majority of cats would prefer this to the highly dreaded bath and it’s much more effective.
7. Confine your cats to one area of the house.
I know this will be difficult for some people but this at least controls the cat allergens to a separate place where you can concentrate your air purifier and cleaning efforts. Or at least, be vigilant in keeping your bedroom ‘cat free’.
8. Wipe the dander away
There are available ‘wipes’ on the market that help remove saliva and dander from your cat’s hair and are less stressful for felines who prefer not to be rubbed in the tub. This is an effective way to get rid of the dander right on their hair.
9. Spray allergens away
Anti-allergen sprays are a convenient way to deactivate allergens, including those produced by pets. Allersearch ADS, made from plant-based, non-toxic substances, can be sprayed throughout the house to take the sting out of household dust by rendering allergens harmless.
10. Clean your litter box often
Cat allergen and/or dander is found in urine and is left in the litter box when your cat makes a deposit. To help prevent allergic reactions to the litter box, use a brand of litter that is less dusty and have someone in the household who is not allergenic clean the box. The Feline Pine litter is a great litter to help those with allergies.
11. Get a test to see if you are even allergic to cats!
An allergy specialist can determine the exact source of your allergic reactions by a simple prick of the skin on your arm or back. Who knows? Your allergies might be caused by something completely different that is causing the allergy.
12. Build up your immunity
Like any other allergy, if you build up your immunity to cat dander, you can develop a tolerance for it. This can be done merely by doing all of the above and see how you react. If keeping the house clean and dander free helps your allergies, you could also be building an immunity as it is impossible to have all the cat hair and/or dander disappear.