I'm not sure if I'm allergic to cats, but I want one.
There are many ways you can manage allergies without giving up on your beloved new pet. Always check first with your doctor.
Cat hair isn’t the root cause of cat allergies!
There is a lot of confusion about what exactly causes an allergic reaction to cats. Most people believe what they’re allergic to is cat hair. That’s actually not true!
The real triggers are proteins. Different people are allergic to different types of cat protein. One type of allergy comes from proteins in the kitty’s microscopic skin flakes, called dander. (Dander is like human dandruff.) Another type of allergy comes from a protein in its saliva, tears and urine.
Signs of allergies can appear instantly or after a few hours. Common symptoms can include: Sneezing and a runny or stuffy nose; facial pain from nasal congestion; coughing, chest tightness and/or wheezing; watery, red or itchy eyes; skin rash or hives.
CAT ALLERGY HELP
ALLERGY HELP: CAT CARE
Cat care can minimize your allergy. Here are tips:
— Wash your hands after touching your cat.
— Use a Furminator brush on your pet every day.
— Use a wet glove to clean your cat once a week.
— Try an anti-allergen pet shampoo.
— Use an allergen remover for your cat’s coat.
— Keep kitty's litter box clean.
— Use dust-free litter brands
— Keep your cat out of the bedroom.
ALLERGY HELP: HOME CARE
Reduce allergens in your home. Try these steps:
— Clean daily with high-efficiency vacuum cleaner.
— Remove carpeting, curtains, tapestries and even wallpaper.
— Use an air purifier (HEPA) and a humidifier.
— Wash all bedding, including pillows and duvets, in hot water.
— Use a vapour steam cleaner to clean your home.
ALLERGY HELP: TREATMENTS
Ask your doctor about some treatments for you. Here are several that work for many people.
— Dietary supplements.
— Allergy shots.
— Medications: antihistamines or decongestants.
— A nasal irrigator such as a neti pot or a nasal spray.
Pick the cat with the fewest allergens.
There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic cat. Some cats, however, may produce fewer allergens or will spread them less. If you can find out from your doctor which cat protein you're allergic to, you can choose a type of cat that might help reduce allergies for you.
The best cats for allergies are:
— Low-shedding cats.
— Small cats. The smaller the cat, the fewer allergens it produces.
— Female cats. (Neutered males are better than non-neutered.)
— Cats with lighter coats.
— Long-haired cats. (Yes, really! Long hair holds in dander.)
If you want a purebred cat, some breeds that may reduce certain types of cat allergies for some people include Balinese, Bengal, Burmese, Colorpoint Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Korat, LaPerm, Ocicat, Russian Blue, Siamese, Siberian and Sphynx. (Nine Lives cannot guarantee the breeds of any rescue cats.)