How to Deal With Being Allergic to Cats

Two Methods:If You are Visiting the Cat for a Short Period of TimeIf You are Visiting the Cat for a Long Period of Time

Have allergies? Love cats? Here are some steps to take to have your cake and eat it too. You can live with cats and your allergies, as long as you're not severely allergic.

Steps

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    Get an allergy test. You may not be allergic to the cat at all. It could be something such as dust mites or dogs.
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    Designate one room (usually your bedroom) as "cat-free". Do not let the cat sleep in your room or on your pillows.
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    Wash your hands with soap after petting/grooming your cat.
    • Try to avoid touching your eyes after petting your cat.
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    Understand that most people are not allergic to the fur - they are allergic to the dander the cat produces or to the cat's saliva.
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    Keep the cat away from your face.
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    Wipe down your cat every other day with distilled water. This will neutralize the allergens in the fur.
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    Invest in an air purifier for your house/apartment.
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    Stick to one cat. Adding multiple cats will increase your chances of having an allergic reaction.
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    Ask your doctor about the appropriate allergy medication. This might be a way of continuing to live with cats without suffering reactions. You could also receive allergy shots that will eventually help you overcome your allergy towards cats, but they might take a while to go into effect.
    • Your doctor may also give you advice on certain over-the-counter medications. Brand names include Piriteze and Piriton.
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    Change your pajamas every night. While this will make more laundry, it will stop you from inhaling cat hairs in your sleep.
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    Keep your bath towel in your bedroom. Since the cat doesn't go in there, it shouldn't get hair on it.
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    Move your laundry straight from the washer to the dryer to your room. Don't give cat hair any opportunity to settle on it.

Method 1
If You are Visiting the Cat for a Short Period of Time

If your friend has a cat, you still have to visit! What should you do?

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    Ask the owner to put the cat in a different room. While this will not completely alleviate your allergies, your reaction will not be as strong.
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    Ask if you can sit outside while you visit.
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    Wash your hands frequently.
    • When you wash your hands, put a little bit of water under and around the tip of your nose.
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    Don't pet the cat. This is remarkably easy, and remarkably effective.

Method 2
If You are Visiting the Cat for a Long Period of Time

Even if you are allergic to cats, it may be required of you to live with one for a while, like if your mother has a cat and you are visiting her for a week.

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    Ask your doctor about the appropriate allergy medication. There are some medications that will alleviate symptoms. If he prescribes one, make sure to start taking it before you feel the symptoms. Once you start feeling them, they are harder to get rid of.
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    Ask your host to keep the cat out of the room you will be staying in. The cat should stay out of this room for as long as possible before you get there, but more than one month is probably overkill, unless the cat is going to stay out of that room permanently.
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    Clean the room. As soon as you get there, vacuum the carpet, and change the sheets, especially the pillowcase, unless your host did this since the cat stopped coming in that room.
    • Depending on how long you will stay, you may want to bring your own pillow.
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    Change your pajamas every night. While this may seem like a lot of extra clothing to bring, you are staying in someone's house, so you can wash your PJ's during the day.
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    Keep your suitcase and bath towel in your room. Since the cat isn't coming in there, this will prevent you from getting hair all over your clothes and towel.
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    Go outside. If the weather is nice, this could mean just sitting outside much of the time. If the weather is bad, it might mean that you will be spending a lot of time at the local coffee shop.
    • Since you are visiting your host, you probably want to spend time together. Find some fun activities out of the house, such as bowling, or seeing a movie.
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    Wash your hands often.
    • When you wash your hands, put a little bit of water under and around the tip of your nose.
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    Don't pet the cat. If you must, do it right before you take a shower, so you can wash all of the allergens off immediately.
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    Set up a tent outside. As a last resort, if you must stay at your host's house, and you cannot overcome your allergies, put a camping tent in the backyard where you can sleep.

Tips

  • Rex cats, which only have the undercoat, are less likely to trigger allergies, as they do not shed like ordinary cats.
  • People with cat allergies are often sensitive to the FelD1 protein present in cats. Many cats of the Siberian breed test very low in this protein and may be tolerated by some allergic people. This is a rare breed, but it is becoming more popular.
  • Some people say that long-haired cats cause fewer allergic reactions than short-haired cats as they don't shed the same.

Warnings

  • Beware of breeders claiming their cats are "hypo-allergic" - there is no such animal - all cats can trigger allergies, even the hairless kind. If you are allergic to saliva, then even the hairless kind will produce an allergic reaction as the cat does wash itself. In fact you might be more allergic (for that reason) to a hairless cat than to one that has fur!

Article Info

Categories: Feline Health