When you found out that your own pets are a main cause of your allergy symptoms, you might have been told to get rid of them. Well, there’s good news: You can keep your cats with these home remedies for cat allergies!
It just means being diligent about keeping your house cleaner than ever, which is good for the rest of your indoor allergies anyway.
Home Remedies for Cat Allergies
Most allergies come from your feline shedding throughout the home. Make sure you clean your home and maintain hygiene for both yourself and your pet.
Keep Your Bedroom Clean
Keep your cats out of your bedroom completely. You probably spend the most time in your bedroom, so this is a relatively easy fix to help you get some relief.
The only caveat: Your cats will probably meow and scratch at the door to try to get in. Do what you can to protect the door and flooring in that area. A throw rug or a square of spare matching carpet will protect the existing rug or hardwood floor.
Rip up your wall-to-wall carpets and install hardwood or vinyl flooring. If you own your house, that is. If you rent and are stuck with carpet, move on to the next step.
Cleaning Your House
Vacuum often. Cat dander is everywhere-in the air, in your carpets, and on your upholstered furniture. If you don’t have a decent vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter, now is the time to invest.
Vacuum the rooms your cats frequent at least once a week. Twice is better, and vacuum your upholstered furniture. Dusting each room once a week will help, too, especially if you’re allergic to dust mite allergen. Wearing a dust mask will help protect your nasal passages and sinuses from kicked up dust and dander.
Invest in air purifiers with HEPA filters and place them in your bedroom and the rooms your cats frequent most. They need to be powerful enough to pull air from across the room so that all of the air is cleaned-usually 6 or more times an hour.
A filter that is too small for a given room will just clean the air immediately surrounding the filter. Air purifiers with HEPA filters will remove airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. Aside from cat dander, they’ll filter out dust, smoke particles, bad odors, etc.
Replace your heavy drapes with easy-to-vacuum blinds or washable curtains. Or, if you have expensive drapes, vacuum them once a month or so. Also, get rid of wall hangings, tapestries and knick knacks that gather dust and dander. The harder they are to dust, the less likely you are to dust them-and the worse your allergies will make you feel.
Personal and Pet Hygiene
Wash your hands after petting your cats and don’t touch your face or rub your eyes until you do. Try not to let them get too close to your face, either. (I know, we all like to rub our faces against our cats’ heads, but it’s just not a good idea anymore, with the allergies and all.)
Wash your cat weekly, a wipe-down will help keep his or her microscopic-sized dander from being released into the air. I don’t advise using soap; it could dry out their skin and create the release of even more dander, and you’d have to be certain that you removed every last bit of soap from the cat’s coat.
Research is conflicting about this wipe-down method’s effectiveness, but it’s worth a try. Allerpet is a well-known, non-toxic product that can be wiped onto your cats coat with a cloth to reduce the release of dander, but plain old warm tap water will work, too. All you’re doing here is removing the dander with a damp cloth before it gets a chance to be released into the air (and your sinuses).
Don’t forget about antihistamine medication. Taking an antihistamine (prescribed, such as Allegra, or over-the-counter, such as Claritin) will greatly reduce allergy symptoms when you come in contact with allergens.
Allergy shots can get rid of your allergies altogether. If nothing you do seems to help, talk to your doctor about getting allergy shots. Allergy shots, weekly at first, gradually cause you to build up a tolerance to the allergens that cause your symptoms.
The dosage and concentration is increased gradually, and at a certain point you’ll only need a monthly maintenance shot. For many people, allergies disappear after 3-5 years.
Although it takes a fair amount of effort, you can keep your cats, even if you have allergies!