What to do if you want to have a cat but you are allergic to them? That’s no problem. There are safe ways you can enjoy a cat or even many cats for that matter, even if you are prone to having allergic reactions when they are around.
Cat Allergies Are Common
You are not the only one who is allergic to cats. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that three in 10 Americans have this problem. This website claims that the allergic reaction is caused by Fel d-1, a kind of protein in the saliva and dander of cats.
It is easy for cats to spread this allergen since they are frequent groomers. They constantly lick their coats using their tongues while they are grooming thereby spreading the allergen very quickly in any surrounding.
Another statistics show the commonality of pet allergic reactions on people. WebMD.com says that ten percent of the U.S. population manifests allergic reactions when they are exposed to common household pets.
This website cites the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America or AAFA which stated that cat allergies are approximately twice as common as dog allergies. Apparently, the allergens from dogs don’t stay long in the air as the allergens from cats do.
What Do You Experience When Cats Are Around?
What you will feel when cats are around will largely depend on the kind of allergies you are susceptible to. You are fortunate if you will have watery eyes, running nose or sneeze. There is a chance that you can strengthen your immunity to cats.
Even then, you still need to have an allergy check conducted by a professional health care provider. This should be a priority especially if you are suffering from asthma.
Statistics show that around 30 to 40 percent of young adults and children with this condition have allergic reactions when exposed to animal dander, especially that of cats.
Coughing, rashes or hives and itchy eyes are also among the symptoms of cat allergies. These symptoms can appear in about a couple of minutes or even a few hours from exposure.
All cats produce these allergens but male cats generate the most. Some believe that neutered male cats produce lesser allergens than those which are intact.
How to Keep Cat Allergies Down?
If you love cats but are allergic to them, you can still have one if you wish. But you have to minimize and control the allergens that they produce in your home. Here are some tips that you can follow.
1. Have An Allergy Checkup
Before buying a cat, request for an allergy checkup from a doctor specializing in animal allergens. They have the means by which they can distinguish the type of allergens that affect you and more importantly, the ways by which you can control them.
You can also choose to undergo holistic remedies for allergies. An example is an acupuncture. This procedure can alleviate the symptoms of cat allergies.
2. Wash Your Clothes After Every Contact
The cat allergens could stick to your clothes after you’ve made contact with a cat. Therefore, you need to wash these clothes after every cat contact. The allergens will also stick to your skin, so you need to wash your hands and your body parts which were directly touched by the cat and its coat.
3. Bathe And Brush The Cat Regularly
Request a family member who is not allergic to cats to bathe and brush the cat weekly. This weekly cat cleaning will reduce the allergens coming from its coat. It will also minimize the allergens that were airborne due to the brushing of its fur.
4. Replace Carpeting With Tiles, Laminate Or Hardwood Flooring
Allergens are hard to cull out from carpets and other fibrous flooring materials. If you have those and you want to have a cat, replace them with hard and smooth surfaced flooring such as tiles, laminate or hardwood. They are also easier to wipe and clean, making it harder for allergens to thrive.
5. Clean Litter Boxes Of Cats Everyday
Large amounts of cat allergens reside in their litter boxes. If you don’t clean these boxes daily, you will constantly have allergic reactions. The feces and urine of these small felines are repositories of allergens.
If the feces dry up, they will turn to dust and some of them will become airborne. Those who have asthma and those who are allergic to cats will be the first one to experience the effects.
6. Keep Off From Sleeping Spots Of Cats
If you are allergic to cats, you should stay away from the favorite sleeping spots of your cat. These animals are creatures of habit and they will usually sleep in their favorite sleeping spots. There may be a few of these spots in your house so you should take note of them.
Cats usually groom themselves before going to sleep. And this is when a lot of allergens are spread out. Most of these allergens will be collected on their favorite sleeping nooks while some will become airborne.
7. Use An Air Filter
It is very important for you to use an air filtering system in your home if you are allergic to cats. Most HVAC (heat/ventilation/air conditioning) systems use air filters. If you have one, you need to change its filters monthly or at least once in three months.
You can also install a whole-house filtering system in the ductwork of your furnace. But it is important to install air filters to the room of the allergic person or the cat’s room, if you have one.
If You Really Want To Have Cats
If you really love cats but are allergic to them, there is one important thing you should do: get hypoallergenic cats. These types of cats are still allergenic, but in a much lesser degree.
What kinds of cats are hypoallergenic? There are several breeds of cats that are in this category. They include the Siberian cats, Burmese cats, the Bengal cats and the Balinese cats. Many people believe that the best of these breeds, as far as emitting less allergen is concerned, is the Siberian cat.
So, if you want cats but are allergic to them, limit yourself to hypoallergenic cats. And the best of them, according to cat lovers, is the Siberian cat.