Even though you’re allergic to cats, you still adore them. You love petting them, cuddling them and playing with them. In fact, you are a certifiable Cat Person ñ despite the fact that getting too close to most felines makes you miserable because of the allergies.
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your reactions to most cats. You might still have a few reactions, but they won’t happen as often or be as severe.
These things are particularly important if you live with, or just spend lots of time around, cats. You and the kitties will be happier and healthier if you can do the following:
– Make sure that you’re really allergic to cats. This seems stupid; of course you’re allergic to cats! Even so, you should get an allergy test. You might actually be reacting to something else in the environment (dust or seasonal stuff in the air). You might also discover that something on the cat is triggering the allergies. More than a few people have had bad reactions to a cat’s flea collar, flea powder or other products.
– Obsessive vacuuming is a great place to begin. The less loose cat hair you have in the house, the less you’ll react. Don’t stop at cleaning up the carpet: be sure to use your vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment on your cat’s favorite furniture.
– Even though you’re vacuuming on a regular basis, you still need to wash any bedding, couch covers, etc. that your kitties call home. Buy a decorative drop cloth type cover for your couch so that you can strip it off and throw it into the washing machine once a week or so.
Tip: The best vacuum cleaner for this job is one with a HEPA filter. That way, you’ll actually trap and filter out the allergens instead of just stirring them up.
– Brushing the cats on a regular basis also helps. This is a great way to bond with your feline friends at the same time. You can have another family member do the brushing if this triggers your allergies. You can also wear a mask while you do the brushing.
– A good HEPA air filter is another great idea. A system that quietly filters allergy triggering particles out of your house’s air might cost you a big wad of cash, but your allergies will thank you for the investment by being quiet for a change. This will also help if you’re allergic to other things, like dust.
– A vet can help you find a cat friendly shampoo or rinse for the fur baby. Sometimes just rinsing off the cat about once a week can help too. This should help reduce the amount of dander that’s triggering your allergies. You’ll also have a less stinky cat.
– Create a cat free zone so that you have a safe place to retreat if your allergies become too severe. Your cat might not appreciate being banned from your bedroom, but your allergies won’t mind one bit.
– Many people with cat allergies are more allergic to some cats than they are to others. If you’re about to become a cat owner ñ i.e. you’re just researching at this point to see if you can even have a kitty in your home ñ be on the lookout for kitties who aren’t so rough on your allergies. Various breeds are more hypoallergenic than others, so talk to breeders and veterinarians about which cats might work best for you.
However: be aware that there is really no such thing as a one hundred percent, completely hypoallergenic cat. Some are more hypoallergenic than others, yes, but before you bring home a new cat of any breed you should spend some time with him or her. This will reassure you that this particular kitty isn’t going to trigger your allergies.
– You can also take allergy pills or shots to help subdue your reactions. Your doctor can help you find the right medicine to combat the symptoms.
Other people with cat allergies can be great sources of further information. Veterinarians and your allergist are also great people to ask for more tips. The important thing here is to keep trying: giving up your fur babies should be the last resort. Many cat lovers never have to seriously entertain the thought of life without a kitty because the steps that they take to reduce their allergic reactions work very well.
When you’ve done everything that you can to reduce your allergic reactions, you and your kitties will be much happier together. This isn’t to say that you’ll never break out, sneeze or otherwise react to your pals – but when you do, it won’t be nearly as bad.
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