The Truth About Cat Allergies

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petting a sleeping cat

Can you go near any cat without your eyes itching, your lungs wheezing, or your sinuses congesting? If not, chances are that you are allergic to cats. Up to 30% of individuals who have allergies have pet allergies, and most of them are allergic to cats.

Additionally, while some individuals may only be allergic to specific dog breeds, those who are allergic to cats are usually allergic to all kinds of breeds of cats.

What Makes People Allergic to Cats?

One of the most common myths about cat allergies is that cat hair is the allergen. However, the truth is that the culprit is the protein that cats shed from their hair or skin that’s also found in their urine and saliva.

This protein could easily be spread to various surfaces, which include your clothes, furniture, walls, floors and even in the air. Some studies have also found that you can find this allergen virtually everywhere even if for example, you don’t let your cat inside the house.

How Do I Know If I’m Allergic to Cats?

Some individuals will experience symptoms of an allergic reaction right after being exposed to the allergen. These symptoms include inflamed, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, breathing issues and sneezing. Others, however, may only display symptoms a couple of days after being exposed to the cat allergen.

It’s also crucial to point out that allergic reactions will vary, from a skin rash to sinus congestion to a full-blown asthma attack. Some individuals may also have an increased risk of developing chronic asthma.

How Can I Manage My Allergy Symptoms?

testing allergy in the lab

While the most ideal way to manage your symptoms is to NOT live with a cat, if the mere idea of living without your precious kitty is enough to send you hyperventilating, consider the following tips:

  • Resist the urge to let your cat inside your bedroom.
  • If at all possible, keep your cat outdoors.
  • Make sure your house is clean and free of clutter.
  • Always keep your room closed and cleaned regularly.
  • Opt for solid flooring options instead of carpeting.
  • If you have rugs or carpeting, make sure they’re washed or steam cleaned frequently.
  • Consider installing an air cleaner or purifier with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to your HVAC system and leave it on for at least four hours a day. However, it’s possible that dander, dust particles, and other allergens can sneak into your air ducts so make sure to have air duct cleaning professionals in Boise clean and maintain your air ducts regularly.
  • Utilize a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
  • Have someone else clean, groom, and brush your cat, as well as clean the litter box.

Prior to deciding to let go of your cat forever however, it’s best that you consult an allergist to confirm your suspicions and help you create an allergy treatment and management plan in place. Also, take note that removing your kitty from your house won’t get rid of your symptoms right away.

And it can take several months for the allergens to completely clear out. So keep the tips in mind above and follow your doctor’s advice.


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