Suggestions For Dealing With Cat Allergies

black cat with glasses reading bookDo you love your cat but are plagued by an allergic reaction to him? Dealing with cat allergies can be a very hard thing, when you love your animal and don’t want to give him up.

Though you can’t get rid of the allergy, you can minimize the negative effect of the cat’s presence. First of all, know that it isn’t your cat’s fur that causes your allergic reaction, but cat dander.

Dander is not dandruff, though it is similar. Dander is made up of dead skin flakes that are shed both by animals and humans.

An allergen called Fel D 1 is the triggering factor. It is found in the cat’s saliva, urine, and sebaceous glands. I had to look up “sebaceous glands.” They are small glands in the skin which secrete something called sebum, which is a lubricating, oily matter. This sebum enters the skin and the hair.

The dander accumulates a load of the Fel D 1 allergen because the cat often grooms itself. Thus, the dead skin cells now include the Fel D 1 and pose a threat to allergy sufferers.

Please note that male cats tend to secrete more dander than females. A neutered male will tend to produce less Fel D 1. Therefore, your best choice if you have allergies is either a female cat or a neutered male.

You cannot eliminate cat dander completely, if you keep the cat. There are, however, things you can do to minimize the dander accumulation. Here are some helpful suggestions:

1) Give your cat a bath once a week.

Though under normal circumstances, you do not have to subject your cat to being bathed, which most cats hate, it is Cat in basin getting bathcrucial to bathe them once a week to lower the accumulation of dander.

Use a mild cat shampoo or a medicated shampoo designed to prevent allergens and keep dander under control. Make sure you clean the sink thoroughly afterward. Also wash your hands, so you remove all traces of the allergen.

Though every pet shampoo will claim to be the best, even dish washing soap or baby shampoo will do the job.

2) Clean the house with a high-filter vacuum cleaner.

You must vacuum your house every day if you wish to remove cat dander. It is very helpful to use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This type of vacuum has the capacity to trap the most minute particles that other cleaners won’t catch.

Do a regular cleaning job to problem areas, such as upholstery, carpets, windowsills, draperies and lampshades. Also, clean other accessories where your cat spends a lot of time. If the cat permits, also use the vacuum hose on the cat’s fur.

It is especially important when you vacuum to get the crevices where dander becomes trapped. These spots include around baseboards, windowsills, draperies and lampshades. Make sure to vacuum the cat’s bedding and play area.

It’s good to change and clean your furnace filters every three months. Also, add a layer of cheesecloth over furnace vents to keep dander from your furnace. Launder these covers at least once a month.

If you are the one with the allergies, when you clean the litter box, wear gloves and a facial mask. Do the task outside whenever possible.

On solid surfaces such as baseboards, walls, tables, and other solid furniture, clean regularly with a natural cleaning product and a soft cloth. On soft surfaces, use a lint roller. Roll the sticky side over curtains, upholstered furniture, and even clothing.

3) Keep a supply of hypoallergenic pet wipes nearby.

Though you don’t want to bathe your cat every day, it is an excellent idea to clean your pet’s fur with theCat in kleenex box: allergic to humanz hypoallergenic pet wipes. Doing so will help control the presence of cat dander in the house.

4) Give walls and ceilings a hot, soapy water wash.

Periodically, do a wall and ceiling wash, as dander will also accumulate in these areas. This procedure is especially important in the areas where the cat spends the most time. You can use a multipurpose cleaner for this job.

5) Use an air purifier.

If you get a large-size purifier, you can cover the whole main area of your house. This will remove dust, dander, fur, mold, and other unwanted particles from your residence. If you have an additional area where the cat spends a lot of time, you might get a smaller unit for that room.

Another way to improve the air quality in your home is to clean air ducts regularly. Hire a technician who will use a powerful vacuum to eliminate contaminants from the ducts. You will be supplying cleaner, fresher air to your family.

6) Add anti-mite products.

Products that control dust mites will also be quite effective in controlling dander. The two tend to behave in similar ways. Dander, though, is one-tenth the size of dust mites, making this material hard to remove. Using non-toxic sprays and other products that will get rid of dust mites will be very useful in helping control dander.

7) Occasionally steam clean carpets and upholstery.

Carpets are the spot where most of the unwanted shedding of our animals accumulates. Therefore, it is important to get these areas steam cleaned on a regular basis.

If the allergy is severe, it would be worthwhile to get rid of the carpets completely, and then the dander can’t accumulate in them.

8) Don’t let the cat in the bedroom.

We had to get rid of the children -- the cat's allergicGive the allergic person a dander-free zone in the house. Don’t let the cat in that bedroom. If possible, also close the air ducts in the room to prevent the allergen from entering there.

You can help allergy-proof the bedroom by washing sheets on the hot cycle every week, using covers on your pillows and mattress, and keeping all linens clean.

9) Don’t use clay litter; use dust-free cat litter

Dander, like dust, can be scattered into every corner of a room. If there is dust in the air, it is possible it will contribute to scattering dander as well. Dust-free cat litter will minimize the scattering of dander in the area.

For extreme measures, try these ideas

If you need some drastic solutions, consider these:

1) Repaint the interior or your house every few years

2) Replace or completely remove carpeting

3) You might replace fabric furniture with something covered in leather or vinyl. While fabric tends to trap dander, leather and vinyl are easier to clean.

4) It is a good idea to have your furnace and ducts professionally cleaned twice a year

Sometimes dander is confused with flea eggs, as both are smaller than a pinhead. However, flea eggs are oval and dander is usually a small flat square. While flea eggs will fall out of the animal’s coat, dander is often trapped in the fur.

Make sure your cat gets a high-quality, protein-rich food. Poor quality food, low in omega- and omega-6 oils won’t maintain plump, healthy skin cells.

Lack of moisture in the air can cause lack of moisture in the superficial layers of skin. This dryness tends to lead to flaking and increased dander. Consider using a humidifier and turning down your heat.

If a cat isn’t grooming because of arthritis or other pain, a prescription for pain relief might be in order. Also, brush thDog pic: I'm allergic...please get rid of the cate cat regularly, as this will help him remove unwanted debris and dander as well.

If you have a cat, you will have cat dander. By following the guidelines shown here, you can keep the problem under control.

Information for this post came from three references, listed below:

12 thoughts on “Suggestions For Dealing With Cat Allergies”

  1. This is great information! I appreciate you doing so much research to help people like myself. I have two cats whom I adore! Both are female and both have been spayed. I recently got engaged and getting a little concerned. My finance’s daughter is very allergic to cats. This information will help me a great deal, trying to ease her allergies without getting rid of the cats.
    The good news is, we don’t plan on having carpet in the new house, except in the bedrooms. I’m already used to keeping the bedroom doors closed, so keeping them out of the bedroom shouldn’t be very difficult.
    Great ideas about having the air ducts professionally cleaned!! That is something people don’t consider. I’m sure mine really needs it!
    Also, the cheesecloth on top of the air filter is something I’ve never heard of before. I’ll give that a try as well.
    We plan to visit the “Rainbow” company to try finding a really good air purifier system.
    These are some really good suggestions!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Devara, I am very glad you found the information helpful. I’m so happy you asked the question, because it was a great topic to research. Many people might like that information.

      It sounds like you are going in the right direction, figuring out what you can do to keep the house as free from dander as possible. I wish you luck. Let me know how it works out…and be sure to ask if you have more questions.

  2. Cat allergy is one thing that has led me to quit with adopting a cat or owning one. While growing up, we had one but my reactions were bad towards him due to my allergic reactions to the dander. But now, I really crave to have a fur friend and that is the reason I have decide to carry out a research and put all safety precautions into place before owning another cat. All the tips you shared here most especially, not allowing the cat into my bedroom will be well adhered to and strictly followed. Thanks for sharing from your wealth of knowledge about cats.

    • It is too bad that many folks have cat allergies.  It is such a comfort to own a cat.  They are entertaining and loving and quirky — all things that keep you happy to have one in your life.  I hope you find a way to control your allergies enough to be able to add a cat to your family.

      Some breeds are better suited for people with allergies, as they don’t produce as much of the Fel D1.  If you go to the section of my website where I discuss various cat breeds, you will find that some of them might be a better choice for you.  Hopefully that information will be helpful.

  3. This is so interesting. I always thought it was cat fur that people were allergic to. I assume this is the same with other animals, dogs, horses etc? I have a friend with a cat allergy so I will certainly pass this information on. Thanks so much for this post.

    • No, it is not the fur.  With other animals, the dander is also the culprit.  

      If you have an allergy, it can make you miserable, and as you can see from the article, it is not easy to control the problem.  However, if you have a cat that you love, you’ll want to do what you can to make life enjoyable for both of you.  Yes, pass the post on to your friend.  Perhaps you can help with this information.

  4. Dealing with cat allergies is one thing that I haven’t excelled well at and I am glad I came across this post. Though I didn’t know it was called dander and not dandruff, the dust has been the major reason I was considering to do away with my cat. Thankfully you shared tips that would change my outlook on how cats should be treated and also, maintaining a constant hygienic emvironmeñt would also limit this exposure to the dander. Great one here. I’d try to incorporate this into my routines at home.

    • I am hoping this post can be helpful to many people.  Suffering from allergies can make you miserable.  Perhaps you can reduce your problems by utilizing some of the information in this post.

      However, I do urge you not to “do away with your cat.” Sounds like you want to give it a lethal injection, or something.  If you have to rehome it, do just that — do your best to find it a new home with someone who will appreciate it and take good care of it.  Put it in a shelter only as a last resort.  Don’t make kitty suffer, too.

  5. To further on my summation earlier, I just heard a friemd who suggested to me to get anti-dander sprays. Please does this truly exist and if it does, is there a way you can suggest the best possible one that I can get since I will be looking forward to getting a fur friend sooner than later. I will really look forward to your reply

    • I have not heard of an anti-dander spray.  How does it work?  Do you spray it on you or on the cat?  I would really like to know more about such a thing myself.  If you find out more, could you pass on the information?  I might do a review of the product, as it is something many folks would be interested in.

      I hope you are right.  I’ll do some checking as well, and if I learn anything important, will let you know.


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