How to Manage Allergies to Cats

Author: Emily Burt, Nursing Team

April 25, 2013


If you’re like me, you’ve had this experience before. Someone walks into your house and sits down on your sofa. Within minutes their eyes are watering. Then they spot your feline friend. “I’m allergic to cats,” they manage to get out between sneezes.

People with cat allergies will often select shorthaired or hairless cats if they are looking for a pet for themselves. This may not necessarily help because people are most often allergic to a protein in a cat’s saliva or dander. Regular grooming can help reduce allergens, and there are wipes that you can use on their fur. Antihistamines are effective and if you speak with your physician, they may recommend allergy shots to help reduce sensitivity.

In the home, HEPA filters can help. Hardwood floors are easier to clean and don’t trap allergens in them in the same way that carpets would. Regular vacuuming is essential. Keeping the animal out of the bedroom and off of pillows and bedding will also help. Unfortunately, it is impossible completely eliminate your exposure to the allergens.

There are companies out there that claim to breed hypoallergenic pets. The companies claim that these animals have had the major allergenic protein removed from their system. It is important to note that this may not be sufficient to prevent sensitivity in some people. Also, with prices ranging up to $28,000 or more, these can be very costly pets. Animals can produce many allergens and the most effective way of controlling them is to reduce exposure and treat your symptoms.