Tuesday 4 October 2011

Living with a cat when allergic

Living with a cat when allergic to the cat takes a bit of courage really. It depends on how badly allergic you are but if it is bad and if you are living in a small home I would suggest that it is not a viable situation. I would have thought that a person who is allergic to the cat's Fel D1 allergen should seriously consider not keeping a cat. People who are mad about cats will disregard that. In fact only 20% of people do give up their cat or dog.

People who are allergic adopt another cat when the one they were allergic to passes away. The benefits of keeping a cat outweigh the irritation of being allergic it seems.

I know what it is like to be allergic to a cat even though I am not allergic to cats generally. I was allergic to a stray cat, Timmy, who came in for food. He came regularly for several years. He was an unneutered tom. They are the worst. He only had to be in the room I was in for me to start itching. I used to pick him up and soon thereafter my hands itched. I had to wash them afterward, every time. That provided immediate relief. The allergen must have been deposited on my skin.

As the allergen is dispersed into the air from the fur one idea is to install a high quality HEPA air purifier. That must help. And as the allergen, a protein called Fel D1 in the cat's saliva, is licked onto the cat's coat, shampooing your cat regularly say once or twice a week might provide some relief temporarily until the cat licks it back on as he will immediately after the shampooing. Note: if shampooing your cat please use very mild shampoo designed for babies or cats.

I don't know of any wonder fix for a person who is allergic to cats. You'll have to put up with it to a degree. Females and neutered cats are less likely to provide an allergic reaction. If your tom cat is "whole" (not neutered) get him altered asap.

Other suggestions for making it easier when living with a cat when allergic are:
  1. Keep one room in the home which is out of bounds to your cat. When entering and leaving the room the door must be closed. The room should be carpet free. Removing carpet helps remove the airborne allergen. Try and ensure ventilation to this room by leaving the window open slightly (provided the outside air is clean!).
  2. Use impermeable covers for bedclothes (pillow cases and mattress covers) as these can harbor the allergen.
  3. Some vacuum cleaners are more efficient in removing the allergen. You might look into that.
  4. Reducing the intake of sugar-rich foods apparently reduces the allergic response (source: Low Cost Natural Cures for Your Dog & Cat Your Vet Doesn't Want You to Know).
If anyone has some fancy ideas please leave a comment - thanks. One last point, the Siberian cat is said to be hypoallergenic. Other breeds are said to be as well. I don't believe it however. Some individual cats are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

This should be checked out by the person who is allergic by having direct contact with cats of these breeds. Doing that first before adopting a cat may save lots of discomfort.

See what cats are hypoallergenic?

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