Q. All of us have a lot of love for our cats especially our children, but since I am allergic by nature, I have a big doubt on my mind whether these cats are causing me grievous harm. It is getting very difficult for me to breathe and I suffer from headaches and itchy eyes.
A. It makes total sense to give your cats away to someone. You will not find any cats that don’t cause allergy and cat allergens (dried saliva) resist any attempt to remove them while cleaning even if the cats are not present in the house anymore. Thus it takes many months to totally remove cat allergens from the house even after the cats have moved away. I would like to assume that you would prefer to know about any other options that are present, before you would be forced to give your cats away. You can take immunization shots from your allergist – these shots have been designed keeping cats in mind. These shots take a period of up to 2 years to be fully effective. And they normally are 80 percent successful. I myself have a couple of cats and face allergies caused by cats – these allergies are quite severe as they measure 7 on a scale with a maximum of 9 points. I have been able to live peacefully with my cats. I follow the following guidelines but I cannot promise if the same guidelines will provide you with the same results:
1. No cats should be allowed to sleep on the bed. Although you might feel sad, it’s a must if you want relief from allergy.
2. Your bedroom should be totally free of cats. You would need to totally protect your bedroom from allergens.
3. Washing the bedclothes in 140 degree water needs to be done twice a month. This will lead to the elimination of cat allergen and dust mite.
4. You should use a top quality hepa vacuum cleaner twice a week so that all the cat allergen is vacuumed up effectively. You need to vacuum all possible places like chairs, floors, carpet, walls and furniture. You should also utilize the hand tools on the vacuum. I use a Miele vacuum cleaner for my home.
5. A high-end hepa filter is a must in your bedroom. This is because cat allergen can be removed only with the help of a good hepa filter.
6. To remove the allergens that are present in your nostrils, a Grossan irrigator needs to be used everyday. It will help you in reducing the allergens that are absorbed by you by more than 50 percent.
7. Don’t forget to wash your hands in case you have petted your cats. This will help you to remove the allergens. Also avoid rubbing your eyes after this.
8. Although a number of cat lovers like to wash their cats to help in reducing cat allergens found in air, research doesn’t seem to support such practice. You can apply Allerpet, a famous liquid brand on your cat’s coat.
9. Although you are going to do all this, the allergens in your bedroom will not get reduced by more than 75 percent. You should check your efforts by having allergen testing done before and after all your efforts.
To sum it up – having a cat at your place takes a lot of effort if you are having an allergy. It’s only recommended for anyone who’s mad about their cats to take such a lot of trouble. All the best.