Managing Cat Allergens In The Home

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Whether you get the occasional sniffle or you’ve got itchy eyes and skin rashes, cat allergies can be a pain. But they don’t mean have to forgo having a feline friend—you just need to make a few arrangements in advance, and keep up with some training and tasks along the way. Here’s a list to get you started.

Take your medicine. Don’t slack if your doc recommends that you take a prescription allergy medication of some kind. Follow the directions to a tee. Some medicines need to build up in your system; missing doses can dampen their effectiveness.

Treat all your other allergies first. Got allergies to things like dust, mold, or hay fever? Adding a cat to the mix can obviously add to the assault on your system. Take whatever steps you need to take to eliminate those other nuisances from the equation, and you’ll definitely be happier and less sneezy. (This is another reason an allergy test is a great idea.)

Embrace bath time. The proteins responsible for your allergic reaction collect on your cat’s skin over time. She may not love it, but if you wash her frequently (say, twice a week) you can avoid heavy buildups. Look into an allergen-reducing shampoo for a bigger impact.

Limit their range. Keep kitty out of your bedroom and other more sensitive spots in your home to increase your safe zones (your bedroom makes sense because you’ll increase your chance at restful sleep too). For example, if you have a multistory home, try limiting her to the ground floor. Got wood floors? Keep her in those areas if possible—they’re easier to keep clean.

Eschew fabrics. Rugs, drapes, and upholstery trap hair easily, so go for other options when you can. Allergy-proof bedding can be a good choice as part of a greater allergy control scheme.

Air purifiers work. Get one that uses HEPA filters and replace them as recommended.

Get out of house cleaning if you can. Our best tip yet, right? Seriously though, vacuuming, dusting, etc. stirs up dust and hair, both of which are likely to be laced with allergens. If you can get someone else to tackle this job, you might be spared an attack.

Clean the litter box a lot. It’s an allergy hotspot. Get litter that clumps well and doesn’t powder up. Another great task for any nonallergic housemates you might have.