A cat allergy can be exhasuting and uncomfortable, even if your allergic reaction is minimal. Therefore if you or a live-in family member are allergic, it is imperative that you look into ways of reducing your cat's impact on your every day lives.
Of course, the generic advice for allergy sufferers will be to take antihistamines. But did you know there are also things you can do for your cat to reduce the allergens they shed? Paired with the medication prescribed by your doctor, these can be a great help in reducing your cat allergy!
Vacuum your home and brush your cat every day
Cat proteins known as Fel d1 are responsible for most allergic reactions in people, and are present in all your cat's secretions: tears, urine, saliva, etc. It is therefore a myth that cat allergens come from cat hair - they actually come from your cat's mouth, which, through self-grooming, is transferred to their coat.
It is true, though, that the less exposed you are to the "contaminated" hair, the less likely you are to have an allergic reaction. The most efficient way to combat the spread of cat hair all over your house is to vaccuum regularly. It is also worth considering whether you should have some cat-free zones in the house, particularly the room in which you sleep, for example.
It is an especially good idea to brush your cat every day. Do so outside, of course, and ask a non-allergic family member to do it if you can. If you live alone, make sure your hair is tied back during the brushing session, and that you remove your clothes and thoroughly wash your hands after you've finished brushing your cat.
Brushing your cat helps to remove the dead hair and will avoid it falling onto the floor in your home. Since cats tend to shed a lot, especially indoor cats, its best to brush as regularly as possible. If your cat doesn't like getting brushed, you can purchase a special brushing glove, which helps cats think they're getting stroked instead of groomed - a win-win for both of you!
Bathe your cat or use cat wipes regularly
While brushing your cat helps to reduce dead hair, it has very little effect on reducing cat dander. A bath, however, will considerably reduce the amount of cat dander on your pet.
Bathing a cat can be tricky, so it's best to start getting your pet used to it at a young age. Use lukewarm water and shampoo recommended by a vet. Remain calm, and use lots of positive reinforcement. Done right, bath time can become a real bonding moment for you and your pet!
If, despite your efforts and patience, your cat still isn't a fan of water, you can use a humid towel or cat wipes designed specifically for this purpose. Note, however, that this will be less efficient in ridding your pet of cat dander, and so you should do it more often - say once every two days or so.
Get your pet spayed or neutered
The amount of cat allergens produced by your pet depends on various factors, including age, breed, and even sex! Indeed, male cats produce more Fel d1 proteins than females, and neutered males produce less than non-neutered males.
So, if you are starting to show signs of cat allergies such as a rash or runny nose, for example, it may be time to get your cat spayed or neutered. Discuss this important procedure with your vet to ensure it's the right one for you and and your pet.
Use topical sprays and/or lotions
There are products out there that claim to counter the allergic effect of the Fel d1 protein found on cat hair. They can be sprayed or rubbed onto your cat's coat.
You should, however, always discuss the use of a new product with your vet first, to ensure it is well suited to your pet's needs.
Clean out the litter box daily
Since urine also contains the Fel d1 protein, you should be cleaning your cat's litter box every day.
If you're worried you won't be able to stay on top of it, you can purchase a self-cleaning litter box. You can also look into litter sprays that claim to neutralise the negative effect of the Fel d1 protein. Again, you should discuss this with a vet before applying it to your cat's litter. Whatever you choose to do, remember a clean litter box is better for both owner and pet!
With these simple steps, you will be well on your way to making your home a little less allergy-prone. Despite this, these pet care tips should be applied in addition to and not as a replacement for medical treatment, especially if you also suffer from asthma symptoms. Best of luck!