After all, being a cat lover and suffering from cat allergy feels like a cruel joke, and we know that all the runny noses in the world won't keep you away from your cute fur baby.
Now you can have the best of both worlds with these 6 solutions to managing a cat allergy.
Can you live with a cat if you are allergic?
Having a cat allergy doesn't mean you can't be a cat owner. You just need to take some extra precautions. Over the counter antihistamines can treat mild allergy symptoms, including runny noses and watery eyes. Those with a more severe allergic reaction can speak to a doctor about allergy shots.
Can you be allergic to a specific cat?
People can be allergic to a specific cat. A pet allergy is usually caused by pet dander - tiny flecks of skin shed by cats and dogs. The kitties that give off more dander tend to create more problems for people allergic to cats.
How long do cat allergies last?
A cat allergy can last anywhere between 30mins to three weeks. Most symptoms are relatively harmless, but they can be annoying and affect your quality of life. So if you're still sneezing or rubbing watery eyes after a few weeks, speak to a doctor. Shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness requires immediate medical attention. The allergy may be aggravating an undiagnosed condition, like asthma.
How do you treat cat allergies?
Antihistamines and nasal sprays can treat the effects of a cat allergy. However, some of these medications have unwanted side-effects, including drowsiness and impaired motor function. Moreover, taking medications long-term puts added strain on your liver and kidneys.
Six solutions to manage a cat allergy
There are ways to manage a pet allergy without resorting to medication. All you need to do is make a few adjustments around the house, set clear boundaries, and get into some good cleaning habits.
1. Keep the house extra clean
Keeping your home extra clean is one of the best ways to manage a pet allergy. Starting with a daily vacuum around your cat's favourite spots is a good idea. But use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. These high-efficiency particulate air filters are specially designed to remove and trap allergens. Steam cleaners are another effective way to remove cat hair from curtains, carpet, sofas, and anywhere else your furry family member likes to snuggle up for a nap.
2. Choose the right furniture
Shaggy carpets, heavy curtains, and soft-fabric sofas are fur and pander traps. They're also the perfect environment for dust mites - microscopic bugs that can also aggravate allergies. Instead, opt for hard floors and upholstered furniture with removable covers that are easy to wash.
3. Keep the air clean
An air cleaner with a HEPA filter sucks up allergens floating around the room. It then removes 99% of irritants before pumping purified air back into the room. Top of the range models can be quite expensive, but paying a little extra can be a good investment for long-term allergy sufferers.
4. Practice good hygiene
Limiting physical contact with your pet is an effective defence against cat allergies. But this isn't desirable for most cat lovers. So wash your hands following every petting session instead. It's also essential to sanitise your hands after cleaning out the cat's litter box. These good hygiene practices will stop you rubbing irritants onto your face. They also remove traces of a protein called Fel D1. Your cat secretes this through his/her skin, and it's one of the primary causes of pet allergies in humans.
5. Give yourself some space
There's nothing wrong with making your bedroom a cat-free zone. In fact, it's actually good for you and your cat. All pets, no matter how much we love them, need to understand boundaries. Plus, sleeping in a bed full of cat hair is a sure-fire way to aggravate your allergies.
6. Cat grooming
Regular bathing removes around 84% of dead skin, but washing a cat is easier said than done. If your feline hates water, a weekly brush will have a similar effect. You can also purchase anti-allergic lotions and wipes from all good pet stores.
These six tips can help you manage or eliminate the annoying symptoms of a cat allergy. So say goodbye to those runny noses, watery eyes, and early-morning sneezing fits! But if any of these symptoms persist - or if you start experiencing breathing difficulties- consult a doctor for more advice. You may need a course of medication. Alternatively, you could be living with an undiagnosed medical condition.