I hope you’ll agree with me:
Keeping a cat for a few days only to find yourself sneezing and coughing can be pretty bumming.
No one wants to get torn between the decision of keeping a cat or suffering from constant irritation.
So is it possible to have a cat even with allergies? Yes, it is definitely possible. By taking precautionary methods like installing filters, ensuring proper hygiene and taking medication, even a person with allergies can have a cat.
However, you still need to understand these methods in detail so that maximum effectiveness can be achieved.
But before that, let’s first understand what pet allergies are:
How Pet Allergy Works
Before you say farewell to your beloved cat, it is essential to get yourself tested by a doctor. This test can help determine what allergy you have. Chances are that you might not be allergic to your pet, but a certain type of pollen that may have gotten itself stuck to your pet’s fur.
This can be verified through a simple test, and even if this is the case, you still won’t have to say goodbye to your cat. You can simply prevent these allergens from getting into your pet’s fur in the future.
In case you may be allergic to your cat, the next step is to find out what part of your cat actually causes the allergic reaction. Your doctor can help you find out exactly what it is.
What causes allergies from cats?
Usually, the allergy is caused due to an allergy-triggering protein that is present in an animal’s skin glands or saliva. This can stick to the cat’s dry skin or fur when they lick themselves. Then, this allergen finds its way on to clothes, carpets, and walls.
Allergic reaction caused by these allergens can cause different symptoms, depending on each individual. As mentioned at Cleveland Clinic, symptoms can include consistent sneezing, mild sniffling, hives or even asthma that can threaten a person’s life. This reaction can worsen if other allergens are present near the individual as well, such as smoke, dust or pollen.
You might hear some people claim about certain breeds of cats that they’re non-allergic or don’t cause an allergic reaction in a person. Either that, or you may hear about certain breeds that are hypoallergenic too. However, it is a fact that even hairless cats can cause serious allergic symptoms in some people.
Why You May Have A Pet Allergy
Typically, not everyone in a family is allergic to animals, especially cats. Only a portion of family members may have been born with their predecessor’s genetic predisposition to diseases, such as asthma or allergies to cats.
These diseases or body disorders can be passed down from a person to the next generation through the DNA. This can cause the next generation to have a higher chance of being allergic to cats or animals in general.
One thing’s not clear yet. A person who had mild allergic reactions had a child who was recorded to have severe symptoms of allergy. This symptom resulted in asthma-like reactions.
The good news is that there are many proven ways to manage pet allergies. Regardless of what your symptoms are, there are a bunch of techniques you can try to prevent the symptoms.
The first step can be to go to a doctor to get yourself tested to find out the cause of your allergy. If you are allergic to cats or dogs in general, then there are plenty of ways described below that can help you live peacefully with your beloved animal.
Preventing Allergic Reactions
According to WebMD, there are a few ways to prevent allergic reactions from pet cats. Keep in mind that these techniques can only work for those that do not have life-threatening reactions to cats. If your allergic reactions are mild and non-life threatening, then the tips below can help you live more comfortably.
Here’s how it can work:
1. Make Your Home Allergen-Free: Impose some strict rules for places your pet is allowed to access. Keep the cat away from the bedroom of a person who has an allergy. Purchase impermeable bed and pillow covers to prevent any allergen from sticking to the fabric.
2. Give Your Cat a Weekly Bath: While some pet-lovers discourage giving your pet a frequent bath, it can be important to remove any kind of allergy-causing particles from the cat’s fur. This can include dry/dead skin cells or pollen. After a while, your cat will get used to being bathed. However, make sure that the products used on your cat are not harmful to their skin. You need to carefully select a shampoo or cleaner that is safe for their skin. You may consult a vet for suggestions.
3. Install HEPA Air Cleaners: Ventilation is very important for those that are allergic to pollen, dust, and pets. HEPA air cleaners can be the perfect choice to cleanse out any allergen in the air by filtering it out from each room. You may need to manually clean furniture, curtains, and carpets to get rid of fur or any allergen as well.
4. Clean Your Hands: Often, people give their beloved companions a bath to eliminate any pollen or allergen from their fur. And while this may work for a few days, your pet might not be happy about the weekly bathing schedule. Another best way is just to keep yourself clean by washing your hands and face throughout the day.
Pick The Correct Breed
To successfully manage your allergic reactions to cats, it can also be essential to choose the correct breed to have as your pet. Experts at PetMD believe that some cat breeds have fewer chances of carrying allergens, such as pollen or dead skin cells on their bodies.
Breeds of cats that are deemed safer for people with allergies, include Oriental Shorthair, Cornish Rexes, LaPern, and Devon Rex. These types of cats are considered to be safer breeds to have as pets, as their fur have lesser layers. This can cause fewer allergens to stay on the bodies of these cats.
A hairless breed, the Sphinx cat, is considered to be one of the best breeds of cats for people who have dander allergy. Meanwhile, the Siberian cat is best for people who are allergic to glycoprotein, which is an allergen that is found in animal skin or saliva. They have low levels of Fel D1.
However, no matter how many breeds you view with hypoallergic traits, none of them can be completely anti-allergen. But you can be careful to choose a breed that can prevent allergic reactions as much as possible.
Build Resistance Against Allergens
Once you have decided to adopt a cat and follow all the tips described above, the next step is to build up some resistance against allergens present in the cats. This can be possible through gradual exposure to the cats.
Keep in mind that you need to take some prescribed medications or remedies alongside. You don’t want to walk in on a landmine. Once you feel comfortable around cats, you can finally move on to adopting a companion.
How to build resistance against cat allergens
The best place to build in resistance is a pet shelter or pet store. A pet shelter is recommended as they can allow you to sit with cats or dogs for hours.
When visiting a shelter, make sure you dress comfortably and wear airy clothes that you can easily breathe through. Take your medications before going in. Request the shelter to let you sit with a cat for an hour or so. In your initial trial, it is best to play with one cat at a time. You can then gradually increase your time or number of cats. After some time, your body might adjust to being around cats.
Another good thing that can come out of this is that you might get chosen by a cat to be their owner. After all, it is said that animals sometimes choose who their humans will be. Keep in mind that you may need to visit the cat several times before they can become comfortable with your lifestyle.
Once you have decided to adopt a certain cat, make sure your home is prepared according to the instructions above. You also need to inform the shelter managers about your allergic condition, just in case your allergies accelerate and you may have to return them.
5 Simple Tips for People With Pet Allergies
While the first most important thing is to be in a ventilated location, it is also important to take some precautionary medications to tackle any allergic symptoms. Your doctor will recommend you suitable anti-allergic medications when you go for a test. If your symptoms are mild, you can also resort to remedies such as allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy. Throughout your journey of adopting a cat, always keep yourself tested and ensured so that you can live happily ever after with your beloved animal.