Do you suffer wheezing, sneezing, watery eyes and itchy eyes and arms around your cat?
For me, these allergy symptoms are a small price to pay for the company of my cats – although some mornings when I wake with a heavy head and red eyes I wonder!
Cat allergies are not caused by cat hair as most of us assume. They are caused by a protein found in cat saliva, urine and skin cells, or dander. The immune systems of people with allergies mistake this harmless protein for a dangerous invader like a virus or bacteria and mount a full scale attack on it. Here are some tips for minimising our allergy symptoms without giving up our cats.
- Made your bedroom a cat free zone
- Reduce the load of cat allergens in your bedroom by washing or replacing bedding, curtains and pillows. Then cover pillows and mattress with allergen-proof covers.
- Open windows wide at least once a day to air the house and dilute the allergen load.
- Send your cat outside, preferably into an outdoor run, to disperse some of the dander
- Eliminate allergen traps such as carpet, rugs and upholstered furniture as you can.
- Carpet accumulates up to 100 times more allergens than vinyl or wood flooring. If you can’t take it up steam clean it regularly and vacuum with a high efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter or us and allergen-proof vacuum cleaner bag.
- Brush your cat outside and/or in an outside enclosure to minimise contamination of your home with dander.
Wipe the dander away with a moist cloth or wipe to remove saliva and dander.
- Spray the house with anti-allergen sprays
- Use a low dust cat litter and ask non-allergic family members to clean the litter box frequently
- Take the anti histamines, decongestants, eye drops and aerosol inhalers your doctor recommends. Antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E also have anti-allergen effects.