Cat allergies are never fun. However, if you have a cat or want to get a cat even though they make you feel horrible then you will want to know how you can reduce your contact with pet dander. Pet dander is what really causes allergic reactions. By limiting your contact you will limit the reaction that you have. Some of these suggestions will be easier than others and you should choose the ones that work for you.
It should be noted that if you have extreme allergies or allergy asthma you shouldn't risk being around a cat let alone owning one. You should talk with your doctor about the possibility of owning a cat before you put yourself at risk.
There are a number of things that you can do to reduce the amount of allergens in your space. Some of these are harder than others because it is often difficult not to touch your cat. However, these things will make a difference in your allergies if you do them. If you can only do some of them, that is definitely better than nothing.
Get the Cat “Fixed”
Having your cat spayed or neutered is very important for helping your cat allergies. Studies have shown that by getting them “fixed” or “altered” (however you want to put it) it reduces some of the proteins and in turn can help with your allergies.
Wash the Cat
Just as taking a bath helps you get rid of dead skin cells, it also helps your pet get rid of dead skin cells. If you can give your cat a bath once a week you will limit the number of skin cells that come off while he or she is out and about in the house. There are also shampoos that lower the number of allergens that cat has even further.
Brush the Cat
Brushing the cat is another way to reduce pet dander in the home. You can use any brush, but there are some specialty brushes that make it even easier to collect the hair without sending it into the air. No matter what kind of brush you have it is a good idea to take the cat outside to brush him or her so all the hair and dander go out there.
Keep Them Out of the Bedrooms
It can be really hard to keep the cat out of the bedrooms, but this can make a huge difference. If you are sleeping with a lot of pet dander and pet hair (that's coated in dander) then it will make it easier for your allergies. If a child is allergic to the cat then you should just make a rule that the cat can't go in the bedrooms at all.
Keep Them Off the Furniture
It can also be very helpful to keep them off the furniture. If they are allowed on the furniture then you should clean the furniture often. You can use a lint roller as well as the vacuum cleaner.
Try Not to Touch Them
For me, the hardest thing would be to avoid touching the cat, but this can help a lot. If you really have to touch the cat then you should wash your hands and make sure you avoid touching your eyes, your face, or your mouth before doing so. You want to avoid getting the pet dander on your face.
Use an Air Filter
A really good air filter will collect allergens including pet dander. You can get filters that attach to your HVAC system and this is a really good idea. You can also get Ion filters to go into each room or a whole house system. While household filters are definitely more expensive then simply adding a better quality filter to your HVAC system, they will collect a lot of cat dander and can do wonders in reducing your cat allergies.
Cleaning can also help a lot. You will want to dust with an allergen spray that will reduce the allergens in the air. You also want to make sure you mop frequently and use the vacuum regularly. You should choose a vacuum with a HEPA filter to make sure that it sucks up the cat dander and doesn't send it back into the air. You should vacuum the carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, and even curtains and drapes. All of this cleaning will reduce your allergies.
You should also change bedding frequently (even if the cat isn't allowed into the bedroom). By changing it frequently you are reducing the allergens in your bed that you bring in with you. You should wash them in hot water to get rid of them.
Wear Cotton and Skip the Wool
Studies have been done to see what fabrics hold on to the pet dander more than others. They have shown that wearing cotton reduces your contact with these allergens. On the other hand, wearing wool is a bad thing. Wool harbors cat dander and the proteins in it that cause your allergic reaction. Even after washing these proteins are still there to bug you and cause your allergy symptoms to flare up.
Get Rid of the Carpet If Possible
Carpet is another thing that harbors the cat dander. It is best if you can pull up all of the carpet in your home and replace it with hard wood floors or tiles. This makes cleaning up the pet dander and hair easier than ever. It also makes it so that it isn't there after a good mopping where the carpet is likely to collect the pet dander over time.
Stick With One Cat
Some studies have shown that allergies aren't straight forward. It isn't that you have an allergic reaction to cats and therefore you will always have these responses to each cat you meet. Instead you can have a different reaction to each cat you come in contact with and there are studies that suggest the more cats you come in contact with the likelier that your allergic reaction will cause problems. You are likely to have a more severe reaction to cats if you choose to have more than one cat. Sticking with a single cat is the best thing that you can do.
Unfortunately cat allergies aren't always easy to deal with. However, if you reduce the contact that you have with the proteins that cause the reaction then you are more likely to be able to keep your furry little friend. You should make sure that you set out with a plan and work towards making it work for you. This can include where the cat can go and where it can't and it should also include a good cleaning schedule. With care, you can live life and enjoy the cat of your dreams.