Cat Fur and Allergies
There’s no doubt about it, our pets are like family. But when they cause our allergies to flare up, one nuzzle can turn into a total nightmare. While some aren’t the most ideal, there are ways to manage your allergies and asthma without getting rid of the household cat.
Understanding Pet Allergies: Causes and Symptoms
It’s a common misconception that cat fur causes allergies, when in actuality it is the animal’s dander (flakes of skin) and saliva. Kids and adults can develop an allergy at any time through exposure to the animal.
If you experience one or more of the following symptoms after hanging around a cat, you may be allergic.
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Skin rash or hives
- Trouble breathing (pet allergies can exacerbate asthma)
Top 5 Ways to Reduce Cat Allergies
1. Restrict the cat’s access to the allergy sufferer’s living areas, particularly their bedroom and bed. Do not allow the cat on the furniture. Keep the bedroom and bathroom doors shut at all times.
2. Consider installing new flooring, such as tile or hardwood. It’s not the most economical solution, but carpet is the enemy when it comes to accumulated dander and should be avoided at all costs.
3. Clean often. This goes for nearly all surfaces (we never said managing the allergy would be easy). Wash bedding in hot water and wipe down tabletops and shelves where dander can settle. Most importantly, wash your hands after petting the cat.
4. Use a High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) air purifier. At the very least, this should be used in the bedroom, though a home-wide filter would be best. HEPA filters will remove particles and contaminants from the air, making it clean and safe to breathe.
5. Make an appointment with Dr Habib or Dr Alasaly who are licensed allergy specialists who will discuss the prevention and management of your asthma and allergies.
6. Get diagnostic testing for these symptoms. You may need corticosteroids or—in more severe cases—immunotherapy. We can take care of all of it in one visit by doing allergy testing at any of our local Arizona allergy clinics.
Because we have such emotional attachments to animals, it’s not always as simple as getting rid of the family cat. In fact, many veterinarians and pet care professionals suffer from dander-induced allergies yet are still able to keep them at bay by taking the proper precautions.
Your allergies should never rule the house—that’s the cat’s job.