I have mild cat allergies… and two cats. We didn’t find out I had cat allergies until after we had rescued our second cat (nice little surprise). Giving up the cats wasn’t really an option for us- we were connected and committed to our little kitties.
So I googled and tested out ways to combat cat allergies without having to give them up. Mainly it was helpful just to know what I was dealing with – and surprisingly enough cat allergies do not come from their hair. Cat allergies come from a protein that they carry around- and its in their hair, dander, feces, and urine. Surprisingly- cat allergies are the most common form of pet allergies so doctors believe that human are particularly sensitive to that protein. Just like any other allergy- the body treats that protein like a dangerous invader in the body.
Knowing that it wasn’t just their hair that was making me react- I found several quick and simple ways to help with my reactions. You don’t have to buy anything special really or spend too much money- you just have to be committed to not reacting. lol.
*Please note that I do NOT have severe cat allergies- I do not have serious reactions or need an epipen. I get a sore throat, watery eyes, stuffy nose, and itchy skin. I do not recommend trying to live with a cat if you have severe allergies.
do not sleep with them
In fact, don’t let them into your bedroom at all. Not only are you most susceptible when you are sleeping, but you need to have a cat free area all together to give your body a break. The moment I stopped letting the cats in the bedroom my reactions dropped significantly- and I was able to be around them more without getting an instant sore throat and stuffy nose.
stay away from their litter box
The litter box is a particularly allergy prone area since their feces and urine carry high amounts of that protein. Of course it is still really really important to keep the litter boxes clean and maintained- but my husband is now the one responsible for cleaning out the litter boxes. If you don’t have someone else around to clean the litter boxes- wear gloves and a mask while cleaning it out and wash your hands throughly and drink lots of water afterward.
change your air filters more frequently
Changing your air filters is good practice in general – but when you have a cat (and especially if you have multiple cats) you should change them more frequently. My hubby and I change our every four to six weeks or so (we have the two cats and a dog). I can always tell when our air filter needs changing because I start to have more allergy symptoms- so I’m like our own little reminder system. We order a big huge box of them online so we always have them handy.
mist surfaces with distilled water
I mist the air, the floor, and different surface that that cats hang out on a lot with water occasionally to keep dust from being kicked up and floating around the air. I especially do it when I’m cleaning – when I dust and sweep specifically. Generally speaking though I just mist everything quickly with water and then will wipe down the couch and tables where the cats sit consistently. Oh and side note- I don’t always use distilled water (which you can diy easily), but do notice a little bit of a difference when I do use it. It is not enough that I worry about it.
wipe cats down with special wipes**
This is more optional- you do have to buy special wipes for this. I have done this off and on since discovering my cat allergies. It is a little annoying because the cats don’t really like it, but there are special dander and shedding reducing wipes that you can pick up at pet stores. I’ve tried the bottles of it on washcloths- but I prefer the wipes because they are more saturated and the cats do not put up with it for very long. These just helps reduce how much they shed on a day to day basis. I try to do it every two to three days.
keep antihistamines handy**
Also something that you have to purchase- and hopefully this is nothing something that you need a lot. When I’m being really good about keeping up with all my others steps- I rarely need antihistamines. I keep them on hand though because I will get the occasional flare up and I like to take antihistamines the moment I start to get symptoms.
That’s it! Thats how I avoid cat allergy symptoms. I do really well too- I tend to only get a flare up two to three times a year now. Oh and below are our two kitties. :)
*Again please note that I do NOT have severe cat allergies- I do not have serious reactions or need an epipen. I get a sore throat, watery eyes, stuffy nose, and itchy skin. I do not recommend trying to live with a cat if you have severe allergies.