Cats often don’t get the credit they deserve. They have bad rep for being solitary and a bit boring, but this is far from the truth; cats can thrive, especially in a family with kids. They are playful, agile, cuddly, easy to care for and independent. There is only one good reason not to own a kitty, and that is being allergic to them. But what happens if you already have one of these furry creatures and discover you have an allergy only later? Should you just abandon your friend or are there ways to deal with the allergy? You’ll find the answers to these questions as well as to some other allergy-related doubts in this article.
What causes cat allergies?
It is important to say that contrary to popular belief, cat fur is not the cause of cat allergy. The real cause is a protein found in the cat’s sebaceous glands. This protein attaches itself to dander, which ends up floating in the air after the cat washes itself. Proteins in its saliva and urine can also cause allergies. People suffering from these allergies probably have more sensitive immune system than usual.
Know the symptoms of cat allergy
Are you sure you are allergic to your cat, or could it be something else? Here are some symptoms that you should be aware of:
- Rash or hives on the face and chest
- Red eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Redness of the skin that was in contact with the cat.
Note that the symptoms of a cat allergy can sometimes appear in a couple of minutes and sometimes take hours to manifest. If you are not sure your cat is causing the allergic reaction, you should ask confirmation from your doctor, and possibly do a skin or a blood test. There are also some at-home allergy tests you can try.
Living with cat allergy
Depending on how severe your allergy is, the symptoms might never be fully eliminated. Still, there are some steps you can take in order to make living with your kitty a more pleasant experience:
- Don’t allow your cat into the bedroom.
- Wear gloves while brushing your cat, and do that outside the house.
- Wash your hands after touching your cat.
- Equip your home with the best air purifier for allergies that can minimize the presence of allergy-triggering dander in the air.
- Minimize allergy traps such as carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture.
- Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or an allergen-proof bag.
- Ventilate your house by opening the windows frequently.
- Clean the litter box right after your cat uses it.
- Wash the kitty’s bedding.
Standard allergy drugs for treating cat allergy
Another thing you can do to keep your cat allergy under control is using standard allergy drugs.
- Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, cetirizine and fexofenadine. All of them are available over-the-counter.
- Decongestants like pseudoephedrine.
- Nasal steroid sprays which can address allergy or asthma symptoms. Some of the over-the-counter steroid sprays are fluticasone, budesonide and triamcinolone.
- Allergy shots. They are not safe for kids under the age of five and it takes years for the treatment to be completed, but they can be of immense help for some patients.
Can we expect a cure in the future?
A couple of years ago we could see some flashy headlines about scientists finally discovering the cure for cat allergy. According to those articles, the treatment should be available in a year from now. The scientists behind this research believe that an inhaler or a pill can be used to completely eliminate the allergy symptoms and make interaction with cats normal without any adverse reaction. They also suggested that this treatment will be effective to treat dog allergies as well.
Unfortunately, there is still no way to completely eliminate cat allergy symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you should get rid of your beloved pet. If the symptoms are not severe, and if you follow the guidelines mentioned above, you’ll be able to be around your kitty without it being unbearable.