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How to live with a cat if you are allergic to them

Updated on September 30, 2007

It might seem impossible that you might have an allergy to cats and still have a feline companion roaming abut your home. It would not be recommended to actually get a cat in case of severe allergies or asthma. But you do not need me to tell you that. However if you do suffer from mild allergies to cats, owing a cat is definitely doable and I can attest to that. I was never allergic to dogs, so dog hair was never a problem.

But every time I would visit someone who did have a cat my reactions and symptoms were easily predictable - itchy eyes and nose and fits of sneezing were just some of the symptoms. So when our first cat arrived, so did predictably the symptoms. But after a week of antihistamine I was symptom free. And it has not repeated ever since, even though we now have 3 cats instead of one. To this day I do not know what happened, maybe constant exposure helped my immune system or something, but I do feel better and not worse.

Here are some preventive measures you can take to ensure living with a cat is manageable even if you do suffer from a mild allergy to cats:

· Brush your cat daily, as this will help with the shedding and the amount of cat hair you will have floating about your home

· Vacuum often for the same reasons as above

· Carpets and/or soft furnishings are also a great attractor of cat hairs and other debris. If possible remove the carpets, if not vacuum both your carpets and soft furnishings regularly. In my house there is a number of soft, pliable rugs that I can dump in the washing machine to be washed and dried easily, so that is another option.

· Talk to your doctor about a possible treatment of antihistamine or if you prefer alternative methods try homeopathic remedies, which are known to be of great help to allergy sufferers.

· Also if possible confine your cat to one or two rooms in your home that have been made safe previously (meaning that the rooms have been cat-proofed). This will also prevent your cat from roaming about your house, which in turn should also help with your allergy.

· If you still have not got a cat, but you are considering it you might want to opt for a short-haired cat rather then one with long hair. The reason is simple. Long haired cats do have long hairs and they leave more debris of dead cat hair. Another option is the Sphynx with its almost hairless body, which in theory should not make you react but it would be wise to check for a possible reaction for you decide to take a Sphynx cat home. Some of these guidelines should help you to leave with both your allergies and a cat. And who knows your symptoms might be gone after a while, just like mine.


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