Pet allergies affect a high number of people in the United States, with figures suggesting that about 15% of the country suffer from these allergies. Incredibly, out of those that are affected, 1/3 of these actually own cats so the problem can turn to quite a nuisance! This article will look at the facts of cat allergies and show how even those that own cats can live a comfortable life with the allergy.
Weíll start with the details of cat allergies. Due to the allergens which cats carry, cats are renowned as one of the most allergenic pets out there. People who suffer from this type of allergy are likely to experience wheezing, sneezing and sometimes asthma attacks Ė symptoms that can also be associated with hayfever. The thing that causes this is the saliva of the cat, which the pet uses to constantly wash itself with. Once this saliva has dried, protein antigen is left behind and this is the substance which people are allergic to. As these allergens are very light, they spread very quickly and itís not long before they get attached to people, furniture or anything in the house.
While the knee-jerk reaction is to remove the cat from the house, this doesnít always have to be the case. To maintain an easier and healthier lifestyle, itís always recommended to do this, but understandably some owners donít want to let their cats go. If you fall into this category there are numerous things you can do to make your life easier, as weíll now go through.
- Cats are not allowed in the bedroom, especially not on the bed.
The symptoms of a sufferer are likely to be even worse in the bedroom, especially if the cats sleep in the bed. Allergens will have spread over the bed sheets and other furniture in the room and as you will be based there for hours and hours, at times it could become unbearable. Unfortunately, the only way to permanently remove this allergens is to make sure the cat doesnít go anywhere near the bedroom.
- Try and confine your cat just to a small section of the house.
Similarly, the least areas your cat frequents the better. If you can make your cat just use half of your house, the other half will be much cleaner and less full of allergens. This may be hard, but at least when you visit the other half of your house you know that youíll be in for a much more comfortable time.
- Install a HEPA air filter in all of the rooms that the cats frequent.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters will provide you with a much more sterile environment. The filter will deal with the allergens that the cat releases and you will be able to feel the benefit of much cleaner air. Although these filters do require some maintenance, itís a small price to pay if you have an allergy to your cat.
- As soon as youíve touched your cat, wash your hands.
This is fairly obvious, because as soon as youíve touched your cat your hands will have the allergens. The effects are likely to be worse as the allergens are so close to you, meaning that the only way to help yourself is to perform a deep clean of your hands every time you touch your pet.
- Try and wash your cat frequently.
As well as washing yourself, your cat requires regular attention. A lot of cats simply hate baths, so you should look to purchase a micro fiber cloth that will remove the allergens from the fur. If you can perform this task regularly, you are a lot less likely to suffer the side-effects from the allergens.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do if you have a cat allergy and wish to keep your cat. A lot of owners simply cannot stand the aggravation and effects of the allergy and unfortunately look to rehome the pet. However, there are some that persist and make the problem bearable, by following guidelines such as those mentioned above.
If you are thinking about getting a cat yet want to know if you have an allergy to them, there are various steps you can take. Firstly, try spending time with other cats and see if you suffer any of the reactions discussed earlier in the article. If you do, there are testing kits available which will indicate whether you do have an allergy, or some GPs are happy to conduct the test themselves.
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