Controlling Your Allergy to Cats

More than 10% of cat owners suffer from an allergy to cats. It is falsely believed that the cat hair or fur causes the allergy, but cat dander is the real culprit.

There is no cat allergy cure; however, the symptoms can be controlled and minimized.

Cat Allergy Symptoms

The body responds negatively to allergens, which in the cat's case are the proteins present in the cat dander.

The most frequent cat allergy symptoms include constant sneezing, runny and itchy nose, coughing, itchy skin and watery eyes. Due to the skin itchiness, people with allergic reactions will also have rashes.

In severe cases people will have difficulty breathing, and for people with asthma the cat allergies may aggravate their condition.

Cat Allergy Treatment and Control

Antihistamines are great in controlling allergies of any kind. An allergic reaction to cats will cause the body to produce histamines in excess. Antihistamines may be prescribed by your doctor, but are available without prescription as well. Your doctor will rotate a number of antihistamines throughout the year, so that they're always effective and the body doesn't build up immunity to the drug components. Remember that these drugs may have side effects such as nausea, dizziness or head aches.

Allergy shots may control your allergies. Even though the treatment can last for 3 to 5 years of monthly shots, some people under this treatment get rid of cat allergies for good.

House cleaning is essential to get rid of the allergens. The proteins in cat dander which humans are allergic to are tiny particles that reside everywhere in your home. Make sure to vacuum thoroughly and don't forget hidden corners. Carpets, drapes and rugs are great collectors of cat dander, so you may want to dump a few extra rugs.

Bathing your cat is as important as keeping your house clean. Research has shown that a weekly bath can reduce the allergy symptoms by nearly 90%. Groom your pet a few times a week. You may want to get rid of cat dander by using a damp cloth that you rub against your cat 2 to 3 times a week. Avoid contact with your eyes, skin and mouth after playing with your cat and wash your hands with an antibacterial soap. Remember that your cat's diet may also reduce the allergies. Opt for a wet food diet with all the necessary nutrients for your pet.

Restrict the cat's access to your bedroom. The cat will not be able to shed his dander in this room. In this way you can have a good night's sleep, with no sneezing and no itching.

Air purifiers can also clean the air and diminish the concentration of cat dander.

Allergy-Free Cat Myth

Some people believe that there are allergy-free cats, such as hairless ones. This is false, because the dander causes the allergies, and hairless cats still release dander. If you have allergies to cats with hair, you're sure to be allergic to hairless cats too.