Household Changes To Help Your Cats Allergies
If your cat has seasonal allergies, you can make a few simple changes at home to help him feel better.
Keep your cat indoors when the pollen count is high.
Also, keep your home allergen free. Vacuum and wipe often, and change your HVAC filters monthly.
In addition, consider purchasing an air purifier to remove dust and pollen from the air.
Make sure your cat is flea free. Flea allergies are common in cats, and all it takes is one bite to trigger the allergic response.
Is your cat itchy and scratchy around his mouth? If his food dish is plastic, he might be allergic to the bowl. Try switching to glass, metal or ceramic.
Switch cat litter. Some cats are sensitive to chemicals and scents in many cat litter brands. Find a bag of low dust, chemical free brand and give it a try.
Do you like to cook? Try a home-cooked diet for cat allergies. Often limiting ingredients in a cats diet helps allergy symptoms.
PET | TAO Limited Ingredient Recipe is the perfect food for allergic cats.
What Is An Allergy
An allergy is an overreaction by your cats immune system to an allergen, resulting in the overproduction of specific antibodies, and ultimately the occurrence of symptoms .
An allergen is a normally harmless substance, which causes the immune system of allergic cats to produce an abnormal response .
Some cats may tolerate exposure to many allergens and not show symptoms. However, there is usually a limit, which when reached, will cause symptoms to be displayed. This is called the allergy threshold.
How quickly this threshold is reached will vary between cats. For some, one single allergen, perhaps exposure to dandelions or dust mites, may be enough to push that particular cat over its threshold. For another cat, it may be the cumulative effect of multiple allergens that results in symptoms occurring.
Identifying which allergens affect your cat is imperative, in order to be able to reduce the contact it has with them. This will help keep your cat as far under its individual threshold as possible and help to decrease symptoms and reduce the risk of flare ups. It is also important to understand that cats with allergies will always be prone to flare ups, as they will be closer to the threshold than a cat without them.
There are several different symptoms displayed by cats suffering from allergy, these include:
Wheezing, coughing , increased breathing effort/rate
Increased frequency of defecation, softer stools or diarrhoea, weight loss, vomiting
What Exactly Is Cat Dander
Dander refers to the microscopic pieces of dead skin that animals with fur or feathers shed into their surrounding environment. Since its defining characteristics are being tiny and lightweight, dander has no problem remaining suspended in the air for long periods of time. Its rough edges allow it to easily latch onto the surfaces in your home, especially those that are softer like bedding and upholstery.
Since dander can glide through the air and hook onto clothing without much difficulty, it can even spread to places where no cat has been before.
One of the reasons that cat dander is a major allergen is because of a protein called Fel d 1, which is commonly found within the skin, urine, and saliva of cats. Research shows that male cats produce less of this protein than female cats, so if youre a first-time cat owner, it may be in your best interest to adopt a Mrs. Sparkles instead of a Mr. Sparkles.
Siberians, Balinese, and Russian Blues are low shedding cats that would all be good options for those with severe allergies because they produce less of the Fel d 1 protein.
My cat has dandruff
To treat dandruff, you can follow the same first two steps to reduce dander in your home, so keep on reading!
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Natural Cat Allergy Remedies
Use an indoor allergen neutralizer. Always choose a natural formula. Unlike toxic chemical sprays and shampoos, these herbal cat allergy remedies work without exposing you to dangerous substances. Easy Air Organic Allergy Relief Spray and Organic Allergy Relief Laundry Rinse are excellent examples of natural solutions. Both these liquid formulas instantly destroy cat allergens. Its like taking dangerous boulders and crumbling them into harmless rubble. They work instantly, and benefits last for weeks.
Neuter your cat. Non-neutered males produce the highest levels of this allergen. So fix your guy. And, by the way, a number of studies also show that spaying sharply lowers Fel d1 levels in female cats.
Shampoo your cat. The animal will still produce Fel d1, but bathing dramatically lowers the allergen level in your home. On average, a weekly bath by a neighborhood groomer will eliminate nearly half the allergen in your home or apartment.
Change the litter box frequently. Cat allergens come from your pets urine and solid waste, so place the litter box in your garage . And change the litter every other day.
Moisten your pets fur before daily grooming. The moisture will help deactivate allergens, and daily combing will definitely get rid of more.
Use a HEPA vacuum at least once a week and a HEPA air purifier daily. Together, they will eliminate a lot more cat allergens.
What Causes Cat Allergies
About 10% of the U.S. population has pet allergies and cats are among the most common culprits. Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. But contrary to what you might think, it’s not the fur or hair that’s the real problem. People with cat allergies are really allergic to proteins in the cat’s saliva, urine, and dander .
How do these tiny proteins cause such a big allergic reaction in the body? People with allergies have oversensitive immune systems. Their bodies mistake harmless things — like cat dander — for dangerous invaders, and attack them as they would bacteria or viruses. The symptoms of the allergy are the side effects of your body’s assault on the allergen, or trigger.
Keep in mind that even if you don’t have an actual cat allergy, your cat can still indirectly cause your allergies to flare up. Outside cats can bring in pollen, mold, and other allergens on their fur.
And what about so-called “hypoallergenic” cats? While some breeds — like the “hairless” sphinx — are said to be less likely to trigger symptoms of cat allergies than others, any cat has the potential to cause problems. This is true regardless of its breed, hair length, or how much it sheds. So if you know that you or another family member is allergic to cats, getting one — no matter what the breed — is not a good idea.
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How To Prevent Allergies In Cats
There is no way to prevent a cat from developing allergies but you can often help to limit its exposure to allergens. Keeping a clean home, using dust-free and unscented cat litter, not using excessive perfumes or deodorizers, not smoking in the house, using regular flea preventatives, and using metal or ceramic food and water dishes can help prevent your cat from having an allergic reaction. If you notice signs of allergies in your cat, it is best to consult with a veterinarian.
What Are Symptoms Of Cat Allergies
If you know what symptoms to look for, youll be able to help relieve a range ofcommon cat allergies. Keep an eye on yourcat with allergy symptomslike the following:
BitingandscratchingCatsmay bite and scratch at their skin when theyre feeling itchy. Pay attention to increased fur nibbling andtake a lookat your cats paws. If they look tender and your kitty keeps chewing them, it could be a sign of dermatitis. Tail chewing could also indicate allergies, especially a flea allergy.
RednessandirritationFlea bite allergies and atopic dermatitis can give cats the same swollen, red or crusty patches on their skin that are familiar to humans with dermatitis. Acat allergy skin reactionmight be harder to spot under all thatfur, buttake a look if your cat seems itchier than usual or while grooming.
Hair lossInflamed skinand the scratching and biting that goes along with itcan cause your cats fur to get thin in patches. Constantly irritated places may lead to bald spots.
Sneezing, wheezing and coughingRespiratory and nasal symptoms could be a sign that your cat is having an allergic reaction.
Itchy, runny eyes and noseYes, cats can have watery eyes and runny noses in response to allergies, too.
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What About Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
Unfortunately, there is no breed of cat that is hypoallergenic, including those without much fur, like the Sphynx. That’s because the allergen isn’t the fur, it’s proteins in the saliva, urine, and skin.
Some breeds are widely accepted as being less likely to trigger allergies, so perhaps they naturally have less Fel D 1, but this hasn’t been confirmed scientifically. There is no breed of cat that can be counted on not to trigger a person’s cat allergies. As noted above, each individual cat varies as to how much Fel D 1 he produces, so a person who’s allergic might have more or fewer issues with some cats.
But What Is My Cat Allergic To
The tricky part is that there are so many potential causes. Your cat may be allergic to something in your carpets or furnishings, dust mites, pollens, grasses, cleaning products, fleas, or food proteins. In some cases the allergic response and changes in your cats skin are not immediate, so it may not be obvious what started all that over-grooming.
Allergies are not something your cat is born with they develop over time with repeated exposure to the allergen, usually by three years of age. That being said, some types of allergies are more acute in onset, such as insect bite reactions that can result in hives and itchy weals.
Many cats have multiple allergies, so finding one single cause is often not possible. In many cases your cat may be able to tolerate low levels of one allergen, but as more and more exposure occurs to multiple allergens, this could push him over the itch threshold.
Even if you cant keep your cat in an allergen-free bubble, it may be possible to at least reduce the overall allergen load of the house. Common causes of seasonal allergies in cats are:
- Dust mites
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Manage Allergens In Your Environment
Even if you don’t pet your cat often, you can still be exposed to allergens in your environment. Clean your home and your cat’s bedding frequently. Vacuum, dust, and mop even those areas where your cat doesn’t spend time, because allergens can spread far and wide. Fel d1 has been found in homes without pets as well as other pet-free establishments, such as hospitals or schools.
Consider a high-efficiency particulate air purifier or filter to remove particles from the air in your home. What makes HEPA so special is that it actually removes smaller particles than typical filters will, so more dander is removed from the environment. You can even buy vacuum cleaners that come equipped with a HEPA filter.
Is There An Allergy
No, theres no such thing as allergen-free or hypoallergenic cats. This is because all cat species, both long-haired and short-haired, produce the Fel d 1 protein which is the main cause of cat allergy in humans.
However, even though all cats tend to produce some allergens, it is still possible that a cat may not produce enough allergens to cause an allergic reaction like others would.
A lot of the allergic reaction in cat allergies is a reaction to a particular protein in a cats body even if they are not causing direct symptoms.
That being said, a cat can have less of those proteins, which means its less likely to trigger allergic reactions. In the next chapter, well look at some of these cat breeds that are likely not to cause allergy symptoms in detail.
There is nothing like allergy-free cats. The fact is that if youre allergic to one breed of cat such as the long-haired cats, youre likely to be allergic to short-haired cats too. This is because all cat species produce the Fel d 1 A protein which is the allergen that reacts in people with cat allergies.
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Allergy To Grass Weed Or Tree Pollens:
Keep lawns mown and weed free. Keep hedges trimmed to prevent them flowering. Regularly groom or wipe over your cat with a damp cloth , especially after exposure to long grass and/or weeds. Encourage your cat to stay indoors when the pollen count is high or grass is being cut. Change your clothes after you have been outside to avoid bringing pollens indoors. Try not to dry clothes outside they can catch pollen. Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible when the pollen count is high. Do not keep fresh flowers in the house.
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Diagnosis Of Cat Allergies
Diagnosing cat allergies is theoretically simple, but it can take a long time. Since flea allergy is the most common allergy, the first thing to do is to rule out flea allergy as a cause of your cats symptoms.
This means applying prescription-strength flea treatment to every animal in the house for at least 12 weeks without any break in cover. This is necessary to ensure that the flea life-cycle is broken. If, with good flea control, your cat improves, a flea allergy will be presumed- but not diagnosed, as it could be a coincidence.
If your cat doesnt improve despite flea control, the next rule-out is food. To diagnose a food allergy, a hypoallergenic exclusion diet must be fed.
This must either be a prescription hydrolysed diet or a novel protein diet. This diet needs to be fed exclusively for eight weeks to see whether your cat is going to respond- its usually necessary to shut them in for this time to ensure they arent eating at a neighbours house.
If your cat improves, food allergy is likely- feeding a bit of their old diet and watching for a return of the allergic symptoms is enough to be sure.
If food allergies have been ruled out, by definition your cat must be suffering from Non-Flea, Non-Food-Induced Hypersensitivity Dermatitis – in other words, some sort of environmental allergy. Determining exactly what your cat is allergic to can be done with blood tests or skin tests using subcutaneous injections to test for a response.
About Dr Joanna Woodnutt Mrcvs
Dr. Joanna Woodnutt is a small animal veterinarian and writer who is passionate about helping owners to learn more about their pets in order to improve animal welfare. She loves to write and wants to empower owners to make the best decisions for their pets by giving them all the information they need. In her spare time, she takes consultations on the small island of Guernsey.
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Home Remedies For Cat Allergies: Avoidance Is The Best Way
Several things you can do to reduce your risk of getting in contact with cat allergens include:
- Not allowing your cats to sleep on the same bed as you.
- Keeping them out of the bedroom entirely is a must.
- At least twice a month, wash all bedding in up to 140°F hot water.
- In rooms where your cats spend a lot of time, use HEPA air filters.
- Twice a week, sweep up cat allergen with a high-grade HEPA vacuum cleaner.
- Clean your house using a vapor steam cleaner. Regularly sweep and wash the floors, vacuum the carpets, and clean the furniture.
- Clean your cat.
- Not pet, hug, or kiss the cat.
- Ensure you get your cat its home separate from the entire house to confine or restrict it from roaming the entire house.
- After handling your cat, do not use that hand to rub your eyes. Always wash your hands immediately after petting your cat.
- Nasal lavage in severe cases such as runny nose, nasal lavage can be administered. Nasal lavage is one of the home treatments for long-haired cat allergy symptoms.
It involves rinsing your nasal passages with salt water . This will help to relieve congestion, postnasal drip, and sneezing. To make this you need 1/8 teaspoon of table salt with 8 ounces of distilled water.
If youve tried all the tips and solutions discussed in this article and youre still showing symptoms of cat allergies, then avoidance might be necessary. You may need to get rid of your cat completely and get another kind of pet.
What Can I Do With My Cat To Manage Allergy Symptoms
Aside from keeping your house clean and free of allergens, there are several things to be mindful of as you interact with your cat. These include:
- avoid being licked by your cat this will spread allergens to you and could make symptoms worse
- gently clean your cat with a damp cloth
- always groom your cat outside
- after giving them a stroke, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly
- feed your cat PURINA Pro Plan LiveClear to help reduce allergens in your home – more details below!
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