How to Get Over Cat Allergies

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If you're allergic to cats, you may never truly "get over" your allergies, but there are ways you can share a household with Kitty. While most people believe it's the hair that causes the reaction, it's actually cat dander and saliva. Keep in mind that Kitty grooms himself thoroughly, so his saliva is all over his coat.

Tip

  • If you have a male cat, make sure he's neutered. There are lots of good reasons to neuter a male cat, but castration also reduces the number of allergens the cat produces -- and male cats produce more than females.

Daily Vacuuming

Keeping cat dander at bay involves frequent -- preferably daily -- vacuuming. If you're the one performing the task, you may need to wear a dust mask to be on the safe side. Along with the carpets and floors, you'll need to vacuum upholstery. For best results, invest a high-quality vacuum designed for pet hair and dander pickup.

Wash That Cat

A weekly bath with a shampoo formulated for cats helps keep dander down. Of course, bathing a cat is easier said than done, but he can get used to it, especially if you start bathing him as kitten. If bathing isn't an option, wiping him down with a damp washcloth or towelettes devised for cat dander removal serves a similar purpose. In addition to regularly bathing or wiping down your cat, wash your hands immediately after petting or handling him.

Out of the Bedroom

Cats need to be banished from the bedroom. That's not just while you're in there sleeping -- your feline friends should never have access. In addition, install an electronic air cleaner with a HEPA filter in your bedroom, as well as other parts of the house, to take dander particles out of the environment as much as possible. You'll also want to change the filters on your furnace frequently.

Allergy Shots

Visit an allergy doctor and discuss immunotherapy shots for your pet dander. The process is time-consuming -- you may require weekly shots for a year or so, then monthly shots for a few more years. In the meantime, you can control mild symptoms, such as a runny nose or watery eyes, with over-the-counter allergy medications. Your doctor can provide you with a suitable prescription allergy drug.

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