Cat Dander Allergy Treatment

Cat dander allergy and other feline-caused allergies affect about 10 million American cat owners. In the past, a cat dander allergy usually meant giving up your beloved pet, but today treatments are available that allow you to still enjoy the benefits of cat ownership without having to suffer with your allergies.

Cat allergies are most often caused by proteins in cat dander, cat urine and cat saliva, not the animal’s fur as once thought. They are spread throughout a cat owner’s home because cats are such enthusiastic self-groomers. As a byproduct of their licking and cleaning their coats, particles of dander and saliva fly freely, and these particles are quick sticky when they end up on walls, floors, furniture or other parts of your home.

Confine the Cat, Clean the Home

If giving up your cat is not an option (and it isn’t for most cat-allergic pet owners), you’ll need to at least restrict her access to a few rooms in your home. Keep her out of your bedroom so that it can be an allergy-free sanctuary for you. Limit your daily access to your cat and wash your face and hands thoroughly after you spend time with your cat.

A clean home is an allergen-free home, so you may need to step up your housekeeping efforts as part of your allergy control plan. Enlist the help of non-allergic family members or consider hiring a professional cleaning service to dust, vacuum and scrub down your home’s walls to help reduce cat dander levels.

Keep Your In-Home Air Clean

To help you breathe easier, use a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaner in the rooms in which your cat spends the majority of her time. Add a HEPA cleaner to your bedroom if your allergies are especially bad to further clean the air in your sanctuary and to give your body the best chance to rejuvenate each night while you sleep.

Consider Medications or Allergy Shots

Antihistamines can be an effective component in your overall cat allergy control plan. These medications fight the effects of histamine, a chemical your immune system creates in response to allergens. Histamine causes your skin to itch and redden, it can create hives and it can cause breathing difficulties. Antihistamines ease all these symptoms and help you manage your allergy effectively.

One of the biggest drawbacks to antihistamines in the past was the drugs’ tendency to make people extremely drowsy. Newer formulations of non-drowsy antihistamines make a normal, allergy-free life possible. Your physician can prescribe nasal sprays or tablet medications for your allergy, or you can try an over-the-counter product like Claritin.

You may also find relief from over-the-counter or prescription decongestants or steroidal nasal sprays. You and your physician will need to work together to come up with the best combination of medications to treat your allergy symptoms.

If medications aren’t effective in controlling your allergy symptoms, your physician may recommend a series of allergy shots that are designed to desensitize your body to cat dander. These shots introduce a minute amount of allergen into your system to give your immune system a chance to build up a defense against the allergen.