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What to Do If You're Allergic to Your Cat

Manage Cat Allergy Symptoms

Being allergic to cats doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t live in the same space. Many cat owners with cat allergies are able to manage their symptoms by making a few adjustments to their cleaning and basic cat care routines. If you or the people you live with have cat allergies, try incorporating these tactics for a more allergy-friendly home.

Groom Your Cat Frequently

Cat allergies are the result of the body’s immune system attacking a protein found in a cat’s saliva, dander and urine. Because cats self-groom for a majority of their waking hours, your feline friend is covered in their own saliva, and dander is scattered throughout your home. Get at the root of your allergies by grooming your cat daily.

Depending on the severity of your allergies, you might ask a family member or friend to help you with this. Gently wipe down your cat with a wet sponge or special cat dander wipe to help remove saliva from their fur. Follow the quick sponge bath with a brushing session. Using a fine-tooth comb, brush in a downward motion to help remove some of the dander from your cat’s coat.

Keep Kitty Out of Your Room

This might seem obvious, but keeping your cat out of your bedroom is one of the hardest ways to help manage cat allergies. Having kitty sleep elsewhere can significantly cut down on the allergens in your room, which will help you breathe better while you sleep.

Of course, this does not mean that you can’t cuddle with your kitty on the couch, or even before you go to sleep. However, having at least one cat-free zone in your home can go a long way in helping alleviate some of your worst cat allergy symptoms.

Vacuum and Dust

Good housekeeping is a great first step in helping manage cat allergies. In addition to wiping down surfaces that your cat frequents (e.g., counters, bookshelves, etc.), be sure to vacuum and dust multiple times a week, especially in rooms where your cat spends the most time. Don’t forget about hallways or even the bathroom as your kitty’s dander might find its way in there.

Tip: Use a vacuum cleaner that features a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This kind of filter prevents cat fur and dander from flying airborne, which can make your allergies even worse. You can also help cut down on loose dust particles by dusting with wet dust wipes.

Cut Down on Carpets

Even with regular vacuuming, carpets can harbor cat dander and fur that vacuum bristles can’t get to. As these allergens accumulate right under your feet, you might experience more aggressive allergy symptoms. The easiest way to prevent the buildup of cat dander in your carpets is to remove carpeting altogether. If possible, opt for flooring solutions such as tile, laminate or hardwood.

However, if you prefer carpeting, you can also try area rugs. Be sure to rotate and wash the area rugs often to prevent the buildup of cat dander.

Replace the Furnace Filter

Keep the air in your home free from cat dander by replacing the filter on the furnace every couple of months (vs. twice a year). Whether you’re turning up the heat or cranking the AC, replacing the air filter frequently will help ensure you are breathing in as little cat dander as possible.

Consider Allergy Medications

Most cat owners with cat allergies will require some sort of allergy medication. Talk with your doctor or allergist to find a solution that works for you. Combined with a few lifestyle and housekeeping adjustments, taking allergy medication can help you keep your symptoms in check, so you and your kitty can stay together.

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