Cats and allergies

Learn quick tips for managing allergies in our video

Cat allergies

Are you allergic to cats? Or another allergen in your home? Even if you are allergic to some cats, other cats may not trigger an allergic reaction. Keep reading for more advice on managing symptoms if you think you are allergic to your cat.

Are you allergic to cats?

If you have an immediate reaction to cats, such as sneezing, itchy skin, watering eyes, coughing and wheezing, then you can be fairly sure that you are allergic to cats.

For many people, the signs are more subtle and it can be tricky to identify the cause of your allergic reaction, particularly if your symptoms are triggered by another factor, such as dust mites, which are the most common cause of household allergies.

Some people are allergic to some cats but not others.

A trial separation can help you determine if your cat is the cause of your reaction.

If you want to get a cat, but aren't sure if you are allergic, try visiting someone who has a cat, or a cat adoption centre, to test if cats trigger a reaction. You may want to ask your doctor for advice if this is the case.

Cat allergies - how to manage your symptoms

Your doctor is the best person to give you advice on managing and alleviating allergy symptoms, and whether you might benefit from:

  • using antihistamine tablets or nasal sprays (please consult your doctor first)
  • having hardwood floors instead of carpets and using blinds instead of curtains
  • avoiding woollen clothing
  • keeping cats out of some parts of your home, particularly bedrooms
  • opening the windows for at least one hour every day
  • moving litter trays and cat beds away from air vents
  • regularly cleaning rooms where the cat sleeps. Vacuumed rooms should be allowed to settle as vacuuming stirs up allergens
  • installing air filters to remove allergens
  • grooming your cat outdoors on a daily basis and wiping them with a damp cloth
  • washing your cat's bed regularly

Bio-Life Petal Cleanse is a cat cleanser designed to remove allergens from your cat's coat. Allergy UK has more information on Petal Cleanse and other products that may help you.

Cat breeds and allergies

Certain breeds, or even different moggies (non-pedigree) trigger the allergies of sufferers more than others. Trial and error is the best way to find out which cats trigger your allergy.

Cats Protection does not support the creation of hypoallergenic cats. The money spent on just one of these genetically-modified cats could help so many other felines in need.

Can I get a cat if I am allergic?

If you still want a cat even though you have a reaction to them, then your symptoms are probably mild to moderate and likely to be manageable using the suggestions above. Some people find that repeated exposure to the same cat reduces or eliminates their allergic reaction.

Should I keep my cat if I'm allergic to it?

There is not a single correct answer to this question. But before you decide whether to keep your cat, you must make sure that it is your cat causing the allergic reaction. You don't want to go through the stress and upset of rehoming a much loved pet if your allergic reaction is caused by dust mites.

You have to decide whether the severity of your allergic reaction means you need to re-home your cat.

In some cases, the symptom-easing tips included above are enough to make living with a cat sustainable, but other people find that their allergic reaction makes living with a cat unbearable.

Related topics

Grooming - Topic

Bringing a cat home - Topic

Photo credit: Matheus Queiroz