Do you love cats but hate the allergic reaction you have to them? Our cat allergies are sparked by a protein contained in cat’s saliva. As a cat grooms himself, he spreads the protein all over his body. Once the saliva dries, dander is released into the air and stirs up allergies.
If your cat allergy is mild to moderate, there are some things you can do to minimize your reaction and live happily with your feline. The March 2013 issue of Cat Fancy offers these tips:
- Always wash your hands after handling your cat
- Wear a mask when brushing your cat or cleaning/scooping the litter box
- Brush your cat daily. If possible, brush him in a safe spot outside
- Designate certain areas of your home, such as your bedroom or den, as cat-free zones
- If possible, consider building an outdoor enclosure for your cat. Many cats like the feeling of being outside and the dander will blow away in the breeze.
- Invest in a vacuum that’s specifically made to remove pet hair. Be sure it has a HEPA filter.
- Buy an air filter or air purifier. Ones with a HEPA filter, or activated carbon filter will remove a lot of dust and dander from the air.
- Where possible, use paint or tile on walls rather than wallpaper. The thick fibers in wallpaper can trap allergens and aggravate allergies
- Opt for blinds or shades rather than thick upholstered curtains. If you do end up using curtains, pick ones made of a lightweight fabric that’s easily washable
- When choosing furniture, opt for faux leather or vinyl. These materials won’t trap pet hair and allergens as much as fabric.
Taking these steps won’t guarantee total freedom from your cat allergies, but should definitely make life with your felines much more enjoyable.