Cat allergies are very common, but that doesn’t mean they have to limit your pet options. In fact, many of the biggest cat lovers are allergic to cats. It’s all about management; while taking the proper precautions, humans with minor allergies can learn to live with a beloved feline friend.
What Causes the Allergy?
Many people believe that they are allergic to their cat’s fur, but this is not entirely true. Actually, they are allergic to the protein Fel d 1, which transfers through the saliva. When cats lick their bodies, they transfer this protein onto dry flaky skin called dander. Dander falls when the cat sheds their fur. Most often, allergic owners experience itchy skin and red, watery eyes.
There are some ways to gauge your cat’s ability to spread Fel d 1. For instance, male cats create more allergenic secretions and thus are more triggered to people with allergies. Furthermore, intact males produce more than neutered males. Finally, adult cats produce more than kittens.
Some breeds of cats are actually hypoallergenic. They produce less Fel d 1, meaning that they are safer to their allergic human companions. Hypoallergenic cat breeds are as follows:
- Oriental shorthair
- Cornish rex
- Devon rex
- Sphynx (hairless)
Of course, the best way to gauge whether you are allergic to a cat is to meet them. Schedule an in-person appointment, but be sure to mention your allergies to the facility. They can work with you to keep your dander exposure to a minimum.
Living With Cats
Of course, we cannot always choose our breeds. This is especially true for those of us who do rescue; the cat that needs our help may not always be hypoallergenic. Thankfully, there are ways to navigate living with both cats and allergies.
First, designate one area of your house a “pet-free” zone. Wash or replace all bedsheets, blankets, curtains, etc. Clean all surfaces thoroughly. Keep in mind that allergen molecules are one-sixth the size of pollens. They will not disappear overnight; rather, this is a gradual process.
Then, invest in some air cleaners. These should be distributed throughout the house. Clean surfaces and carpeting often, and wash your linens frequently. Not only will this limit allergens, it will help with any pet smells.
If your cat has fur, brush it often. This removes dander and loose fur in a concentrated environment rather than all over the house. If you are the one with the allergies, delegate this task to another housemate or professional groomer. A frequent professional groom can also remove more layers of fur, decreasing your chance of exposure.
At Claws N Paws, your cat or dog can find quality professional grooming from a dedicated team of individuals. Going out of town? We also offer cats-only boarding right next door in our separate facility. Claws N Paws Day Spa and Cat Boarding are currently open with provisions in place protecting our clients and staff from COVID-19. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us today at 714-962-1005.