What is the Best Cat Allergy Cure?

Cat allergy affects roughly 10 percent of the U.S. population, but this does not make the condition any less unpleasant. Cat allergy can cause symptoms similar to the common cold including:

  • sneezing
  • itchy eyes
  • a stuffy nose
  • itchy, runny nose
  • coughing
  • eye redness
  • hives
  • rashes
  • wheezing

In some allergic individuals, even a slight lick or nip from a cat can cause irritation, swelling and redness of the skin. In some cases, cat allergy symptoms take only a few minutes to develop and in other’s it may take up to several hours.

Cat allergy can cause a severe reaction in individuals with allergic asthma. These individuals will experience violent flare-ups immediately following contact with a feline. In these cases and many others, it is extremely important that the allergic individual protect himself from a flare-up.

Cat Allergy Relief

There is no cure for cat allergy, but there are several ways to limit exposure and control symptoms. One of the most obvious ways to avoid a flare-up is to avoid cats at all costs. Unfortunately, this might be nearly impossible if you live in an apartment building, if your neighbors have cats and even if your co-workers have cats. Cat dander, a major allergy trigger, can be found on clothing, hair, handbags and even on the owners skin. Other allergy triggers include protein in the cat’s saliva and urine.

To help control symptoms, allergic individuals can try an antihistamine, a decongestant or prescription steroids. Antihistamines are available in pill form or nasal sprays. They are available by prescription or weaker forms are available over the counter at drugstores. Some of the most popular over-the-counter antihistamines include Benadryl, Claritin, Tavist, Chlortrimeton and Zyrtec. Popular prescription antihistamines include Allegra, Clarinex and Xyxal.

Over-the-counter decongestants such as Sudafed and Afrin may be effective at controlling nasal congestion and prescription Allegra-D may be used for more severe cases. For individuals with asthma symptoms, Flonase and Nasonex sprays may be prescribed to help control severe upper respiratory responses. These steroids are only available by prescription.

Cat Allergy Shots

A small percentage of allergic individuals opt for allergy shots. The problem is, allergy shots are not always effective. In cases where allergy shots are successful at minimizing (not eliminating) symptoms, it can take years for any benefits to “kick in.” In addition, allergy shots cannot be administered to children under the age of five.

Other Ways to Minimize Cat Allergy Symptoms

If your cat allergies are severe, it is best not to own a cat at all. You should also avoid touching cats in any way. If you have friends with cats, politely ask them to shake or whisk their coats or clothing before coming to visit you. Also, if you know ahead of time that you will be exposed to cat or cat owner, start taking your medication immediately.

Some individuals with cat allergy consider their symptoms mild, so they do not mind having a cat. In these cases, the best thing to do to help minimize reactions is to:

  • Keep your cat well groomed, meaning give him a bath regularly
  • Consider having an outdoor cat
  • Do not pet or kiss your cat for extended periods
  • Only allow your cat in certain rooms, but never in the bedroom
  • Use a central air cleaner
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter—this will help catch cat allergens
  • Clean every day—mop, sweep, vacuum and dust the furniture