Last summer, a friend of mine from Chicago came for a visit. She told me before she came that she has allergies, and cats will leave her sneezing and stuffed up. Despite my warning that I have two cats, she came to stay with me anyway. Her allergies did not stop her from falling in love with one of my cats.
She carried him around sneezing and sniffling the entire time. To this day, she still asks about him, and on occasion, has sent him things in the mail. That’s a topic for a different article, though!
Before her arrival, I considered what I could do to make staying in my home a little easier on her. I dusted, mopped, and vacuumed repeatedly, trying to get rid of as much cat hair as I possibly could. I didn’t know it then, but the problem is not the hair, it’s the dander.
Dander is a fancy term for flakes of skin. Most animals release dander and it is the reason behind animal allergies. The proteins in these tiny flakes of skin are what trigger an allergic reaction. Hair can also cause problems because this protein is also found in saliva. Cats clean themselves with their tongue, so the hair can be as irritating as the dander.
Cats are not the only problem when it comes to pet allergies. Dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils also release dander. Their presence in a home will have the same effect on a person with animal allergies.
If vacuuming up pet hair really doesn’t help the situation, what will? If you refuse to get rid of your furry friend, there are a few things you can do to keep dander to a minimum.
An air purifier or filter might be a great first step. Trying keeping your bedroom closed to your pets, at least that way there are less irritants where you sleep. Washing your hands after each time you touch your pet will help keep you from touching your face with danger on your hands.
Any fabrics in your home will trap and hold dander. If you have carpeting, consider opting for hardwood floors. If you aren’t particularly attached to your drapes, trade them in for good, sturdy blinds.
You can try bathing your cat occasionally to help reduce the amount of dander in your home. I don’t know if this works, but if you wish to try it, I wish you luck. I’m pretty sure most cats would prefer to be set on fire rather than be bathed with water.
You can also try over the counter allergy medications, or visit with your doctor to see if they have any ideas to help you out. There are a variety of allergy medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, which may offer you some relief.
My friend who braved her allergies long enough to fall in love with my cat is not alone. Millions of people in the US with pet allergies put up with the symptoms and the extra hassle so they can keep their pets. Aww, now that is love!