Many people are allergic to cats. In fact, more people are allergic to cats than to dogs. There are a lot of misconceptions about allergies to cats, though. Cat dander, among other things, contribute to these allergies.
Some people believe that they are allergic to cat hair. Others believe it is an allergy to dried cat saliva. These, however, are mistaken beliefs.
People who are allergic to cats are really allergic to cat dander.
Dander consists of dead skin cells. We all shed dead skin cells, and if you’ve ever seen dandruff, you’ve seen dander. Most of the time, though, these dead skin cells are not noticeable.
Cat dander carries a certain protein that many people are allergic to. That is what causes people to be allergic to cats.
Because all cats shed dead skin cells, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat. There are hairless breeds, such as the Sphinx, but these cats still shed skin cells. In order to be dander-free, a cat would have to have no skin!
Many people believe that if they find out that they are allergic to cats, there is nothing to do but get rid of the cat. That is not the case, though. There are plenty of other things to try first.
Cat dander floats around in the air for a while before settling on household surfaces. Because it floats around like this, it can settle in areas where they cat is generally not allowed.
It is sometimes recommended that a person who is allergic to cats keep the cat out of the bedroom to help cut down on allergy symptoms.
This generally doesn’t work, though, because cat dander can still settle in the bedroom.
Use an Air Filter
A HEPA air cleaner can help. It cleans the air of particles by forcing the air through a screen with microscopic pores. It’s a great help for anyone with allergies, whether to cats or something else.
Because cat dander does eventually settle on household surfaces, frequent cleanings can help. Wipe furniture down with a damp cloth, and vacuum frequently with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.
Regularly bathing your cat can also help. It is recommended that people who are allergic to cats bathe their pet once or twice a week. Between baths, wipe the cat down with a wet cloth or towel. This helps to remove the dander.
Grooming your cat is important, but if you are allergic to cats, you should have someone else brush them. Brushing stirs up the dander.
If your allergies are so severe you can’t manage with the cat in the house, you can consider keeping it outdoors.
Cat dander will still get on your clothes and skin when you handle the cat, but it will be much less than if the cat lives in the house.
Another option is to see your doctor about allergy shots. A small amount of the allergen is injected in order to desensitize you to the allergen.
You’ll need injections on a regular basis, but this can prevent allergic reactions in most cases.