Many cat owners will tell you that cats are one of the best pets you could have. However, it’s also quite common to have allergies to cats. But don’t worry, if you love cats and can’t imagine your life without them, it is possible to get a handle on your allergy symptoms. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is the Cause of Cat Allergies?
Around 10% of the US population experience cat allergies, and if you're reading this, you’re likely one of them. Unfortunately, the underlying cause of why humans develop allergies is still unknown, but you can develop symptoms in response to several allergens, including cats.
Allergens from cats are usually due to the Fel d 1 protein that your cat produces. These can be in your cat's body, cat dander (small skin flakes that usually get attached to hair), saliva, or urine.
When you are allergic to cats, your immune system has identified cat allergens as a threat to your body. When you come into contact with an allergen, your body releases chemicals, such as histamine, as part of a defense mechanism. Histamine helps remove allergens from your body by causing reactions like sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose.
What Are the Symptoms of Cat Allergies?
To determine how to get rid of cat allergies naturally, you need to learn to identify your symptoms first. Allergy symptoms and allergic reactions can vary, so understanding what your symptoms are is essential. Here are some of the most common symptoms that you might experience when you get close to cats:
- Runny nose
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Frequent sneezing
- Nasal congestion
- Skin irritation or hives
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
Many of these symptoms are common for any pet allergy, like dog allergies. However, cat allergies are more prevalent among US residents. Keep an eye on your symptoms and when they occur to get a better idea of what might be triggering your allergies. Learn if you have a cat allergy now.
Can You Reduce Your Cat Allergy Symptoms Naturally?
Since cat allergies are common and there are many different natural remedies to deal with them. Getting rid of cat allergies naturally is possible, especially if you don't experience severe symptoms. Here are some approaches to consider.
Change Your Laundry Habits
Regularly washing your clothes and linens significantly reduces cat allergens, which will help you get a better handle on your allergy symptoms. Make sure you clean every surface your cat spends time on to reduce exposure since cat dander is more likely to be on the surfaces your cat uses. Maintaining a clean house can be a great tool in reducing your allergic symptoms.
Try Using A Filter
You can use a HEPA air purifier to help reduce the amount of allergens circulating in your home, especially if you have a male cat. Research shows that female cats produce fewer allergens than non-neutered males. Thus, air purifiers might be useful if your furry companion triggers your immune system.
Remember that this doesn't mean that females don't cause allergies. To avoid making your allergies worse, use an air filter to filter the cat allergens in your house.
Frequently Dust And Vacuum
As was mentioned before, allergens, like dander, trigger cat allergy symptoms. Thus, if a HEPA filter is not enough to deal with how your cat triggers your symptoms, you might need to remove loose dander from every surface, reducing the amount of allergens circulating in the air.
Dusting your house could help you manage your symptoms. Additionally, deep cleaning with a high-quality vacuum, especially around your cat's litter box, can help reduce allergens. An extra tip is to always ensure that your cat has fresh litter. Otherwise, they might go around your house trying to clean themselves, which, in turn, spreads cat dander.
Brush Your Cat Regularly
Brushing your cat is great for them, and for you. Why? Brushing helps get rid of your cat’s hair buildup, which means that it won't be around your house to spread cat dander. There are special brushes for you to brush your cat and while they may not like it at first, it’s very effective in reducing your exposure to cat allergens.
Bathe Your Cat
Unlike dogs, most cats don't like water. However, cat baths might help you handle your allergy symptoms. Bathing your cat helps get rid of the dander build-up, so it's an ideal alternative to try if you're allergic. Make sure that you only use warm water when you try bathing your pet. However, cats are different from dogs and you can't bathe them every week. Try it out once every two or three months to avoid causing unwanted skin conditions for your pet.
Change Your Cat's Diet
On occasions, a cat allergy occurs because your pet sheds too much hair, and this, in turn, might be due to their diet. Though it's uncommon, it’s worth monitoring to see if it can make a difference. Talk to your cat's vet about your allergies, and try to see if it's possible to change something in their diet to help. If you feed them food with more fatty acids and fish oil, for example, they might shed less. If a cat sheds less, it will decrease the amount of dander spread around your house.
Set Boundaries for Your Cat
Sometimes, there is no other way to deal with allergies. You might need to ensure your cats stay out of the places you're in the most, like your desk or bedroom. This doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to your cat. But if you want to reduce the cat dander in the air, you must clean, dust, and set boundaries for your cat to be away from the rooms you're in the most when you're at home.
Are There Herbal Remedies?
If you’re looking for a natural remedy, you can go to your local natural health store and ask for stinging nettle, butterbur, spirulina, or quercetin. Herbal remedies might help decrease some of your allergy symptoms, but they aren’t guaranteed to work.
Make sure you consult your doctor before trying any natural supplements. It is important to know what side effects to look out for and if there are any interactions between the supplement and any current medications you are taking.
What about Allergy Medications?
Some people take over-the-counter medications to deal with their allergies. Medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen could help, especially if your symptoms are not severe. Sometimes, taking a pill will alleviate your symptoms, and you might not need anything else.
However, if you've never taken any medications for your cat allergy, you should consult with a healthcare professional first. Other strategies such as cleaning the litter box, using multi-purpose cleaners on surfaces, and deep cleaning your house are not as invasive to your body. Make sure you talk to a doctor before trying any new medication.
When to Talk to an Allergist
While natural treatments might help some people with allergies, they don't provide enough relief for many people. If you have tried out natural remedies and still need additional allergy relief, it is a good idea to talk to a specialized doctor about your cat allergies. Allergists and allergy doctors can help you identify the allergens that trigger your symptoms and recommend solutions to treat your allergies.
Seeing an allergy doctor can help you identify exactly what you're allergic to and help you create an effective treatment plan that works for you. Allergists will usually recommend that you take an allergy test to find out what you are allergic to. There are several types of allergy tests they may recommend:
Skin Prick Test
A doctor may recommend a skin prick test if they suspect you have allergies. During this test, your doctor will place a drop of liquid containing an allergen on your arm or back and then prick the area with a needle. If your body reacts with redness or swelling at the site of the prick, it indicates that you are sensitive to that particular allergen. Skin prick testing can be an uncomfortable experience and result in itchy hives or irritation.
At-Home Allergy Test
Taking an at-home allergy test allows you to take control of your health care and get accurate results quickly and conveniently from the comfort of your own home. The process is easy and only requires a quick finger prick. Order an at-home allergy test today to confirm if you have cat allergies.
- You start by ordering your at-home allergy test online from Wyndly's website. We will send the test kit straight to your door.
- Take the test yourself using simple instructions provided with the kit and send it back to us. It's a simple finger prick test that will provide us with your blood sample for a complete diagnosis.
- When we receive it, our team of allergy experts will analyze the results and create your allergy profile. You will then meet with one of our doctors to go over your results and get a personalized treatment plan.
Take Our Allergy Assessment
If you want long-term relief from your allergies, sublingual immunotherapy might be the best option. At Wyndly, our allergy doctors will create a personalized treatment plan for your allergies to get you living allergy-free. Take our brief online assessment today to see how Wyndly can help you!