Cat allergies are caused from proteins found in the pet dander (dead skin cells) that sticks to the cat hair and travels around the house. Cat allergies can easily make you feel miserable, but if you are aware of the issues and take action you can learn how to deal with cat allergies and enjoy your pet more.
What is a Cat Allergy?
An allergy of any sort is caused from the body's response to a substance it thinks is bad, but which is really not harmful. This is done through a product called histamine and it can make you feel horrible. When it comes to cat allergies it is the proteins in the dander (dead skin cells) that causes the reaction. Some of these proteins come from the glands under the skin, some come from the saliva that the cat uses to wash themselves, and others come from urine that end up in the pet dander from the cat cleaning themselves.
The pet dander is often spread through the house with pet hair as well as through the heating and cooling systems. Some people are allergic to one or more protein and responses can be mild to extreme.
Cat Allergy Symptoms
There are a large number of cat allergy symptoms. Each person can have a different reaction and many of the symptoms of an allergic reaction are often confused with cold symptoms.
- Eyes- Cat allergies often influence how the eyes feel. Often the eyes feel dry and or itchy. They may also be watery and red. They can even be swollen.
- Nose- You may find an itchy nose that is runny or congestion.
- Skin- Your skin can also be itchy and may have hives or a rash.
Other symptoms can include sneezing, coughing, or wheezing. Asthma and hay fever may also be a result of cat allergies. It is also common to have red and swollen marks where the cat has scratched or bitten and sometimes even where the cat has licked.
It should be noted that cat allergies are the same as other allergies and it isn't always the cat that is causing the problem. Dust, pollen, and other allergens may be at fault so you may want to check with a doctor before you get rid of the cat. However, many of the things that you would do to reduce your cat allergies may reduce other allergens as well and many won't do you any harm.
If you have extreme cat allergies you may not be able to get a cat or keep a cat no matter what you do. For example, allergic asthma caused by cat allergies can be very severe and can even lead to a risk of your life. You will want to make sure that you avoid all cats if you have a severe or dangerous allergy to cats.
The information presented below is not meant to take the place of a doctor's advice. It is only presented as information and possible ways to reduce your cat allergies.
How to Deal With Cat Allergies – Best Cat for Allergies
Many breeders are selling hypoallergenic cats. While even these breeds have some allergy response from people with allergies, they do help. If you do not have a cat yet, you may want to consider one of these options. Female cats with light colored and short hairs are better than many other types of cats. Some breeds are said to be better for allergies than others and they include balinese, oriental shorthair, javanese, rex, sphynx, and siberian cats.
How to Deal With Cat Allergies – Reduce Contact to Allergens
When you have cat allergies and you live in a house with a cat you should do everything that you can to reduce how many cat allergens you come into contact with. There are a few different ways to do this and several things to consider.
The first thing you should do is make sure that your cat is spayed or neutered. Studies have shown that cats that have been altered produce fewer of the proteins that cause allergic reactions. While female cats are still the best choice, even an altered male is better than one who hasn't gone through this surgery.
After that you should take care of the cat in a way that reduces that amount of allergens that come off of his or her body. This can include brushing them regularly (outside) and bathing them weekly. You may even choose to buy a cat specific shampoo designed to get rid of the allergens that he or she is carrying.
You should also do regular cleaning. Suffering from cat allergies and still owning a cat will require that you take the time to get rid of as much cat dander and cat hair as you can. You should vacuum any carpets, drapes or curtains, upholstered furniture, and even the bed frequently with a vacuum cleaner that includes a HEPA filter. You should also take the time to dust with a damp rag or a dusting spray. Don't forget to mop the floors while you are at it.
By doing these things you can start your “treatment' with the things that will help reduce your symptoms. These things may be enough to reduce your allergies below what you notice or they may not. Even if these things don't get rid of your symptoms and don't stop you from feeling miserable you should continue to do them while treating yourself with natural remedies or traditional medicine.
How to Deal With Cat Allergies – Natural Remedies for Cat Allergies
There are a number of different natural remedies that you can use to help control your allergies. There are a lot of herbal remedies, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can help to reduce symptoms, flush out the allergens, and act as natural antihistamines. However, there are also alternative medicine remedies that can reduce symptoms and alleviate your suffering. Looking into natural remedies before having the doctor prescribe medication can help you to avoid side effects caused by the medication.
How to Deal With Cat Allergies – Cat Allergies Treatment
There are also a number of cat allergy treatment options that your doctor may want to try. They include bronchodilators, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and topical nasal steroids. Your doctor will want to test you for more information about your cat allergy and then he or she will prescribe one or more of these medications with the hope of reducing your cat allergies.
Cat allergies are definitely not fun, especially if you or one of your family members loves cats (or a specific cat). You will want to do all that you can to reduce or eliminate your symptoms and to enjoy your life and the furry cat that is a part of it.