People with allergies and cats

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Managing Allergies to Cats

You may want a cat but are concerned about any allergies you or someone in your family may have. Perhaps you already have a cat and have found your allergy is a problem. The good news is that people with allergies and cats can live together!

Allergies to cats are caused by a reaction to certain proteins found in oils secreted from her skin and in her saliva.

Don't rely on immunity

Some people report developing an immunity to their cat i.e. they ' grow out' of the allergy. While this is certainly true for some, don't depend on it if you're getting a new cat. It is possible that an allergic reaction will get worse with more exposure.

If you are getting a new cat and have concerns about allergies, consider a short-haired breed over a long-haired as they release less hair into your home environment. If you are interested in a purebred, consider a Devon or Cornish Rex. These cats lack some of the layers of hair found on other breeds and so may produce less reaction. The Sphinx breed is entirely hairless and extremely affectionate. Bear in mind that all cats groom themselves and an allergic reaction is caused by saliva just as much as by hair.

Once you have a cat, fastidiousness is the key to dealing with allergies. Wipe down smooth surfaces in the home regularly and vacuum frequently. Also, regularly wash any bedding your cat sleeps on.

Restrict access

You may want to restrict your cat's access to certain areas of the house. The allergic person's bedroom is a definite cat no-go zone. Rooms with hardwood floors will retain less allergens and be easier to clean than carpet. If you have only a few rooms in your house with carpet you probably should keep your cat out of those.

Upholstered furniture will retain a lot of allergens so you may choose to keep cats off of them or out of the rooms that contain them.

The more you brush your cat, the more helpful it will be in reducing allergic reactions because it helps prevent loose hair from getting into the air. At least once a week is good, more often is better still.

Be particularly careful to groom in the springtime when your cat will be shedding her winter coat. Whenever possible, grooming should be carried out by someone who isn't allergic to cats and ideally outdoors.

Cleaning the litter regularly will also help because the proteins that cause a reaction in saliva, hair and dander are found in urine as well.

Talk to your doctor about what anti-allergic drugs you can take to make life easier and other possible ways to manage the problem.

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