Cat Allergies and How to Live with Cats Revisited A cat allergy relief guide to help with symptoms


Naturally, if we were sane and rational about our allergies, we would stay away from anything that makes us sick. Many of us, however, are not sane and rational about pets and indeed one of my screening questions when I was single was "Are you allergic to cats?"

I never wanted to have to make the choice between my spouse and my cats. Besides, the cats would always win out. So by a cruel twist of fate, AFTER I got married and after a whole lifetime with cats, I found out I was allergic to them, with a 7 out of 9 scale rating.
I want to be honest at the outset of this article. If I did not have cats, I would probably always wake up in the morning with a completely clear head. I would never sneeze around the house or experience mild sinus pressure. My eyes would never itch after I bury my head in their fur. BUT I would miss out on an important part of my life. My cat allergy symptoms are never gone completely, but they are manageable. Very manageable.
If you are super allergic to cats consider immunization. See our article on the subject by Dr Spector.
As yet there are no allergy-free cats or one-shot cat vaccines, although both are the subject of research.
Above all, be sensible. I get letters from people who have anywhere from 10-17 cats and land in the hospital several times a year with severe asthmatic attacks. With more cats, there is more allergen to handle. Less is better.
So here is an updated version of my original article.
1. No more cats sleeping on the bed. Sorry, this is a small price to pay for allergy relief. If you get your symptoms under control by all means invite them back, but give yourself a break while you are trying to abate your symptoms.
2. Close the bedroom door to try and keep the cat allergen down in the bedroom. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary from allergens. So tempt your cats to sleep elsewhere during the day.
3. Wash all bedding in 140F hot water at least twice monthly. This eliminates both dust mites and cat allergen (because we know some of you will still let them sneak up on the bed).
4. Vacuum up cat allergen with a high grade HEPA vacuum cleaner twice weekly. Vacuum the walls, carpet, flooring, chairs, and furniture...everywhere. Use the hand tools on the vacuum. We use a Miele vacuum cleaner at home for quick pick-ups and a central vacuum for the rest. Cat allergen particles are very small and invasive so you really have to do a thorough job. Good hand tools on your vacuum cleaner are the answer here.