Managing Allergies

One of the most common reasons people give for why they have to give up their cat is allergies.

See an Allergist

Whether the sufferer is a baby, child or adult, we suggest that you see an allergist to obtain a firm diagnosis. Allergy testing is a simple process and the results will let you determine the specific allergens1 and the level of reactivity. Many allergy sufferers are allergic to multiple substances. You might well find that cat dander is not one of the problems, or that it is only a minor problem.

Since the impact of different allergens is cumulative2, eliminating a few of the causal agents may eliminate the cat allergy symptoms.

Living with Cat Allergies

Even if the patient is diagnosed definitively with an allergy to cat dander, he or she can most likely live comfortably with cats. The tips below may be effective in reducing the amount of allergens in the home.

  • Confine your cat to one area of the house – and don’t make it your bedroom. While you may feel badly about limiting your cat’s living space, it beats surrendering him to a shelter where his fate is uncertain.
  • If possible, replace curtains and drapes with solid blinds, and replace carpeting with wood floors or tile.
  • Use HEPA air purifiers in the rooms frequented by your cat.
  • Regularly use a HEPA vacuum cleaner on flooring and furniture.
  • Use a vapor steam cleaner to kill allergens that get embedded in carpets and upholstery.
  • Wipe down walls and other flat surfaces regularly.
  • Wash your hands immediately after petting your cat.

In addition, discuss the possibility of hyposensitization therapy with your allergist. This treatment, which is similar in concept to a vaccination, uses injections of a serum made up of precise amounts of allergens to desensitize the patient’s body to the allergens. Many people have found it effective, and we recommend you try this before deciding you need to give up your cat.

1An allergen is a substance that can cause an allergic reaction.

2In other words, the impact of multiple allergens adds up to make your symptoms worse.