If you’re allergic to cats, but you live with someone who owns a cat – or if you want to get a cat of your own – what can you do?
Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to get rid of your allergies entirely. But there are ways to manage them, to find a happy medium between living with your allergies and living with your cat.
In this post we’ll explore some natural ways to manage your cat allergies.
But before we begin, it’s worth taking the time to understand just why some people are allergic to cats.
What Causes Cat Allergies?
It’s not actually a cat’s fur that causes allergies. It’s certain proteins found in a cat’s saliva, urine, and dander. Pet dander is the main culprit here.
What is pet dander?
Some people think that “dander” basically means fur, or hair. In fact, dander is small skin flakes. Pet hair can indeed contain dander, but it doesn’t always. It’s for this reason that people with cat allergies can struggle just as much around short-hair cats as they do around long hair-cats.
If you have a cat allergy, your immune system will falsely identify the proteins in pet dander as harmful substances. Your system will then react by releasing antibodies, which can lead to inflammation in your lungs, eyes, nostrils, and skin.
Are you worried your baby or child might be allergic to cats? Read our guide to identifying allergies in babies and children for more information.
How To Get Rid of Cat Allergies Naturally
You can buy antihistamines over the counter to help you manage your allergies. But this is a short-term fix rather than a long-term solution. If you want or need to live with a cat, you shouldn’t take pills round the clock. Not only will this be expensive, it could also lead to additional health problems.
If your allergies are severe, your doctor might be able to prescribe you stronger allergy medication. But again, you shouldn’t have to medicate yourself to spend time with your cat!
So instead, let’s look at a few ways you can manage your cat allergies naturally.
Keep Your House Clean
The more thoroughly and frequently you clean your house, the less chance pet dander will have to linger in the air and on your surfaces:
- Keep on top of the laundry. Wash your clothes after every wear, and keep any worn clothes in a hamper. Wash your bed sheets and linen at least once a week, along with any bedding or fabric your cat sleeps on. Also aim to regularly wash any other washable fabrics in your house, including rugs and curtains.
- Dust your home at least once a week. There may be some pet dander lingering in the dust that accumulates on all the surfaces in your house. Dust regularly, and you can effectively de-dander your home. Use a spray when dusting, as this can make it less likely that any dander will get stirred in the air as you wipe down surfaces.
- Vacuum several times a week. If you want to manage your allergies, not just any old vacuum cleaner will do. You might have to invest in a model with a HEPA filter – or one that’s specifically designed for pet owners. Using an older or a cheaper vacuum could just stir up the pet dander as you hoover, scattering it into the air you breath and causing you more problems than it solves.
- Wash your hands. Thoroughly clean your hands after handling your cat, or anything they’ve touched, played with, sat on or slept on. This will remove any dander from your hands, so you’ll be less likely to spread it around your house.
Consider your Cat’s Behaviour
Your cat can’t help releasing pet dander. But still, there are a few things you can do to limit the levels of allergens your cat sheds.
First, talk to your vet about your cat’s diet. They might be able to set a diet for your cat that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Through improving the health of your cat’s fur and skin, this can reduce the build-up of allergens.
Next, consider setting some boundaries in your home. For example, if your allergies keep you awake at night, then don’t let your cat sleep in the same room as you. In fact, you might not let them into the bedroom at all. If they spend a happy afternoon sleeping peacefully on your bed, you might then spend an unhappy night struggling with your allergies.
Finally, you could try brushing your cat once a day. This can remove loose dander, which means they’ll shed less allergens around the house.
Improve The Air Quality In Your Home
Cleaning your home can reduce the amount of dander that lingers on surfaces. And as we’ve seen, there are things you can do to limit the levels of allergens your cat sheds.
The last step is to remove any pet dander that might be circulating in the air you breathe in your home.
For this, consider getting an air purifier. A small and unobtrusive home air purifier can completely filter the air in a room of up to 17m², removing over 99% of particles as it does so – including pet dander. This can significantly reduce your exposure to allergens in your home, helping you to breathe better, sleep better, and live happily with your cat.
Browse our collection of air purifiers and filters for the home.