Finding out that you are allergic to your beloved cat can be devastating. Here is information that will help you manage your allergies and hopefully keep your cat.
1. What is it about cats that cause allergies to flare? Contrary to popular belief that it’s the hair, the culprit is the protein (Fel d1) found in cat dander, saliva, and urine. No one knows why, but if you have sensitivity to this protein being exposed to can trigger reactions that range from irritating to debilitating.
2. Can cat hair trigger an allergy flare-up? The hair does not contain the protein, so in a word no. But it can seem that way because dander (which does contain the offending protein) often stick to the air and other airborne particles. And so contact with the hair that has dander on it can make it appear that the hair is the culprit.
3. Can bathing the cat reduce dander? Yes, scheduling a regular schedule for baths with a veterinarian recommended shampoo can reduce the amount that potentially go airborne and be inhaled. Be prepared for your cat’s disapproval, but hopefully with a regular schedule it will be come a routine that you both can literally live with.
4. Does Color Matter? There was a small study conducted several years ago whose findings indicated that dark-colored felines produced more dander than those with lighter fur. Without other studies to support it, this theory is inconclusive.
5. Does Sex Matter? Male cats are known to produce more allergy triggers than female. So if you have been identified as having allergies, this is an important piece of information to have as you adopt or add to the family.
6. Is there a way to stop the production of dander? These small flakes of dead skin that we call dander are a natural part of your cat’s growth and development. This is the body’s way of making way for newer healthier skin that will be more able to ward off disease and infection. This is a process that will continue for as long as you have your kitty.
7. Is there an effective way to manage the allergy symptoms well enough to be able to enjoy a cat? No one thing will work, but using a multi-pronged approach will greatly improve your quality.
Make one room a clean room that is off limits for your pet. Anticipate flare-ups by using over the counter medication or prescriptions from your allergist.
You should also use a HEPA or high efficiency particle arresting air cleaner to constantly reduce the allergens in the air. 24 hour filtration with this type of technology is by far the most effective and non-invasive way to deal with your allergies.