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Allergic to Cats?

Help for Allergy Victims Who Love Their Cats

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Do you or family members have allergies involving cats? You may be interested to know that you don't necessarily have to give up your cats because of allergies. Thousands of victims of hay fever, asthma, and other allergies are able to cope with their allergies while living with the cats they love.

These articles and features can help those with allergies who are determined to keep their cats. You may never be able to eliminate your allergies entirely, but you can help minimize the symptoms.

Disclaimer: Consult with your allergist or other medical professional before embarking on any program involving a cat as a pet.

Do You Long to Adopt a Cat, But Are Allergic to Them?

Woman With Cat
Photo Credit: © iStock/Ekaterina Monakhova
Yes, there is hope that you can adopt a cat, despite your allergies. However, rather than immediately immersing yourself into cats, this process will be slow and gradual, more like dipping your toe into the water first. You can liken it to the same procedure we use for introducing new cats to a family of existing cats. It is no longer considered "cool" to just toss them in and let the dust settle. For entirely different reasons involving your health, you must take on this challenge slowly, in order to be able to comfortably enjoy the companionship of a cat.

How to Live With Cats and Allergies

Frequent Brushing may Help Control Dander
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
Many cat lovers are denying themselves the pleasure of feline companionship because of allergies to cats. Here are 10 steps you can take for minimizing cat dander, the microscopic flakes of dried saliva on cats' skin which cause allergy.

Nearly Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds

By sheer definition of hypoallergenic, there is no breed of cats that fits that description. However, a small number of cat breeds have acquired the reputation of being much less allergenic than other cats.

One of these breeds, the Siberian cat, is said to produce less of the Fel D1 glycopropene, considered the source of allergies to cats. One Siberian breeder even shows independent lab fur analysis results backing up that claim.

What is cat dander and why is it a threat to humans with allergies?

Yes, cat hair has something to do with our allergies to cats. However, the hair itself is not the element which makes us sneeze and wheeze. The hair is just the medium - the carrier of the unseen villain: cat dander.

Cat dander remains a mystery to some people and poses a threat to those of us who suffer from allergies. Here are the details on what cat dander is, the mystery of Fel D1, and how and why it affects allergy victims.

How can I help my visitors who are allergic to cats?

Billy is sweet, but loaded with dander
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
It would be a great world if everyone could share equally in our love for our cats, but the reality is that cats carry a common allergen for many people. Here are a number of suggestions for readying your home for your allergic sister's visits. In fact, you should incorporate them into your normal routine if at all possible.

Top Products for controlling Symptoms of Allergies to Cats

bioAllers Animal Hair & Dander Allergy Relief, Liquid
Photo Credit: Courtesy of PriceGrabber
Those of us who love cats, but are allergic to them, constantly strive to find new ways to reduce our allergy symptoms. These widely-diverse products each help in their own specific applications, and the costs vary widely, from the HEPA air purifiers, to antihistamines. If you are like me, you'll probably need to take a "shotgun approach" toward reducing your allergic reactions to cats.

An added bonus is that some of these products are equally effective for asthmatic cats.

Top Ten Steps for Reducing Allergies to Cats

Bissell Quick Steamer
Photo Credit: courtesy of PriceGrabber
"Naturally, if we were sane and rational about our allergies, we would stay away from anything that makes us sick. Many of us, however, are not sane and rational about pets, especially our cats. Although cat allergy symptoms may never go away completely, they are manageable," says Mercia Tepping, guest writer and President of the Allergy Buyers' Club.

Create a Dust-and-Dander-Free Bedroom

Former Senior Health Guide, Marian Anne Eure, posted this informative article on cleaning (and maintaining) your bedroom of dust, mites, and - YES - cat dander to help control your allergies. A helpful checklist is also included from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Cat Allergy

This Red Cat is Loaded with Dander
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
Daniel More, M.D., About.com Guide to Allergies, writes a comprehensive guide to the cause of cat allergy, its incidence in humans, how it is transmitted outside the home, and a lengthy list of tips for controlling symptoms, short of getting rid of the cat.

Pets and Allergies in Children

This Child may have a Lessened Chance of Cat Allergies as an Adult
© Sandra
Vincent Iannelli, M.D., About.com Guide to Pediatrics, answers a FAQ from a pregnant woman asking if she must give up her pets before the baby is born to help decrease its possibilities of developing allergies. Dr. Iannelli quotes a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association which puts that risk in doubt. "The study, Exposure to dogs and cats in the first year of life and risk of allergic sensitization at 6 to 7 years of age, concluded that having two or more dogs or cats around during the first year of life actually decreased a child's chances of developing allergies.
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