How to Prevent Cat Dander

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Control your cat's dander.
Control your cat's dander. (Image: cat image by nutech21 from Fotolia.com)

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, close to 10 million people react to cat dander or, more accurately, the protein in the dead skin scales that cats regularly shed. Reactions include watery eyes, itchy throat and skin, sneezing and coughing and may lead some to think the solution to getting rid of their allergies is to get rid of their pet. With appropriate measures, cat dander can be controlled, helping to keep a cat's skin and coat healthy, reducing or ridding a pet owner of allergic reactions and keeping the cat in the home.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat shampoo
  • Towel
  • Bathing area
  • Pet friendly antiallergenic wipes or spray
  • Dry brush sponge for cats
  • Wire brush
  • Healthy diet rich in Omega-3 and Omega 6
  • Diet supplements, such as fish oil, flax seed oil and zinc

Grooming the Cat

Bathe your cat once a week. It will help to remove dander that accumulates in her fur. Use a shampoo that will not dry out her skin and that is environmentally friendly. Make sure to thoroughly rinse and dry your cat after a bath, otherwise leftover shampoo may make her dander problem worse. Never use human dandruff shampoo; it is too rough on a cat's skin.

Bathing a cat
Bathing a cat (Image: bathroom image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Wipe down your cat with an antiallergenic formula made specifically to remove dander. Formulas come in sprays and ready-to-use wipes. Make sure the product is animal- and environmentally friendly, especially since cats frequently lick themselves, making them prone to ingesting the product. Dry sponges also help remove cat hair and do not require water, soap or chemicals.

Brush your cat daily with a metal brush made specifically for pets. This will remove the excess undercoat and help to promote natural oils that will keep her coat shiny.

Diet

Only feed your cat human-grade cat food, usually purchasable at specialty pet stores. Most grocery store brands contain fillers and proteins that are of poor quality and make cats fat and prone to dry skin. Choose a brand that is high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that will soften skin, reduce shedding and give the cat a shiny coat. Be sure to replace your cat's diet slowly to avoid digestive disturbances or an annoyed cat.

Healthy cat diet
Healthy cat diet (Image: cat image by nwh from Fotolia.com)

Zinc supplements can affect a cat's skin function, thus controlling dander production. Add fish or flax seed oil to your cat's diet to help keep her skin healthy and hydrated. However, before adding any supplements to your cat's diet, be sure to consult with a vet first.

Keep your cat at a healthy weight.

Other Considerations

Make sure your cat does not have dermatitis or any other underlying skin conditions.

Keep your cat away from prolonged sun and heat exposure.
Keep your cat away from prolonged sun and heat exposure. (Image: matou image by Oliv from Fotolia.com)

Do not let your cat spend too much time in the sun. Cats can burn their noses, ears and the tops of their head, which promotes dry skin.

Discourage your cat from sleeping in front of a fireplace or heater. While this may be her favorite spot, it also dries out her skin.

Tips & Warnings

  • If allergies are an issue for you, vacuum frequently with a HEPA vacuum cleaner, run a HEPA air purifier, wash both your and your cat's bedding weekly, dust regularly, use antiallergenic room sprays, wash your hands after handling your pet and consider keeping your cat out of bedrooms and off furniture.
  • Consider getting immunotherapy treatment for yourself.
  • If you are uncertain about a particular pet product or dosage, always consult with a veterinarian first.
  • If, as a last resort, you absolutely cannot keep the cat, take her to a no-kill shelter that will ensure she will end up in a new home and not be put to sleep.

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