Dogs get all the credit for being “man’s best friend” but if you ask me a soft, purring cat is definitely top of the pet pyramid. The only real problem is allergies. Cat allergies are caused by the protein Fel d 1 secreted by the cat’s glands. About 2% of people in the US suffer from cat allergies, which means about 1/3 of those people are cat owners, in spite of their allergies.
The upside is that means it’s possible for cat lovers who are allergic to keep a cat in their home. It does take some work, though. We’ll walk you through the steps that you should be taking to keep your home free of allergens so that you can enjoy the time with your pet.
Get an Air Purifier
Though we mentioned already that cat allergies are not caused by cat fur, even people with no history of allergies can be susceptible to pet dander and hair in the air, which can cause respiratory issues. It also exacerbates issues caused by allergies. Getting a good quality air filter is a good way to get rid of most of the pet dander, dust, and other toxins in the air in your home so that you can breathe easier.
It may take a little research to find the best air purifier for your pets, but a good HEPA air filter is the right way to go. Remember to change it out often. With one pet, you should be changing the filter every three months. More than one, and you should change the filter every 30-60 days.
Clean The Litter Regularly
The cat box is a huge source of allergens, as well as dust and dirt. If it’s not cleaned regularly, it can cause health problems for you and your cat. Be sure to scoop the litter box every day or so.
Try to scoop as soon as the cat uses it, and replace the litter as per the instructions. Different litter brands require replacing at different times, but you should be replacing every month or so to avoid buildup.
Brush and Groom With Gloves
Though your allergy is likely not caused by the cat’s fur, regular grooming will stop your cat from rubbing up against everything in the house. Wear gloves, and collect the cat hair in a bag to toss outside, to stop it getting all over the house.
Keep The Bedroom A Cat Free Zone
This is hard, I know, but the bedroom is full of all kinds of soft furniture, which makes it a huge allergen trap. Turn your sleeping space into a no cats allowed zone by closing doors, and spray training. It doesn’t hurt the cats, and you’ll be able to enjoy a good night’s rest, without an allergy flare-up. Or waking up to a cat in the face!
Always Wash Your Hands
This one is fairly common sense, but most people forget more than once. Always wash your hands before touching your face if you’ve been touching the cat.
Especially keep your hands away from your eyes. The oil on your cat’s fur transfers to your skin, and then causes an allergic reaction. So make sure to keep both you, and the cat, clean!
Get Rid Of Carpets and Rugs
Carpets are huge allergy traps, and it’s not just the cat hair and dander. Dust, mites, bugs, and other bacteria get trapped in the family carpet. The cat may also rub or scratch on carpets and rugs if he’s feeling restless or playful, which means more of the cat’s natural oils get trapped in the carpet.
Stick to hardwood, laminate, and vinyl flooring for your cat, and easily wiped down furniture coverings, like leather. You should also vacuum with a specialized high powered vacuum with a HEPA filter when you clean up, to avoid blowing dust and dander in the air during housework.
Keeping cats outdoors can be dangerous, even when they still have their claws, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some fresh air by opening windows. Keeping the house well-ventilated helps to clear the air of allergens, and when you have pets, it’s a good way to get rid of the stuffy feeling, or the smell of animals at home. That makes it a lot easier on your respiratory system, sinuses, and allergies. In addition to opening windows, be sure to regularly update the ventilation system in your home, to keep it working at maximum capacity.
Wipe The Dander Away
It was once believed that washing cats the way you would wash dogs would cut down on dander. However, not only is that incredibly stressful for the cat, but it also has an impact on the natural oils in your cat’s skin. To be effective, the cat would have to be bathed almost daily.
Instead, there are products on the market you can use to wipe down saliva, dander, and other secretions from your cat, without harming the cat. A quick wipe down during a cuddle has been shown to dramatically cut down on allergens. Use Petal Cleanse, or even simple wet wipes, which are mild and can help replace moisture in the cat’s skin even as it cleans.
Take Your Allergy Meds
Finally, take your medication. Get yourself tested to determine what exactly you are allergic to, and take the daily dose of whatever you are prescribed.
Many allergy medications are available over-the-counter, but to be truly effective, you’ll want something you can safely take every day. Some doctors are accommodating enough to provide a prescription, to make it easier to know which allergy medication to choose.
If you’re a cat lover with an allergy, you know that it takes more than a few sniffles and sneezes to keep you away from your furry friends. But the running eyes and red faces aren’t much fun, and they sure do make bonding a bit tougher! Follow these tips to help keep your home free of allergens, and enjoy time with your cat a lot more easily.