Are you allergic to your cat? Living with pet allergies can be a real bummer, especially if you already have some furry friends living with you. Learn how to get rid of cat dander and get back to spending time with your favourite feline companion, promoting the health of both your immune systems.
Pet allergies can range from mild annoyances to life-threatening situations. The cat dander, skin cells, and saliva from just one cat can trigger some unpleasant reactions. While our tips can’t do anything to prevent the transfer from direct contact with a cat, they can help to eliminate a lot of the dander in your home that are worsening your allergy symptoms.
If you love your cat too much to give her up despite allergies from exposure to cats, then check out these tips for reducing cat dander and limiting the effect your kitty has on your health. An allergy test is a great place to start because cat saliva and the cat allergen can trigger a runny, nose, watery eyes, and more intense symptoms in some.
7 Ways to Get Rid of Cat Dander
Before we get into our tips, we want to start with a disclaimer:
If your allergies are bad enough to be life-threatening, then we strongly urge you not to get a cat, or at the very least, to talk to your doctor about the risks. Even "hypoallergenic” cats have dander and saliva that contain the proteins that can trigger allergic reactions.
There is no guarantee that you won’t react to a pet, even a hairless one.
That being said, milder allergy cases can sometimes be managed by reducing the amount of cat dander in your home and on your cat. Some general cleaning practices are a good start, but sometimes more drastic measures need to be taken to protect yourself.
Let’s jump into the best ways to reduce cat dander:
Regularly brushing your cat can help to reduce shedding and dander. This will get rid of some of the dander that would naturally fall off your cat and end up all over your house - including dust mites.
Brushing should be done daily with a soft slicker brush. Deshedding brushes can also help but should never be used more than once a week, as they can damage your cats’ skin and pull out healthy hair.
Bathing your cat can also help, but be careful not to bathe them too often. Over-bathing can damage their sensitive skin leading to dandruff or other skin issues that will make shedding worse.
If you must bath your cat more than once per month, then try sticking to just warm water and a sprinkle of baking soda. Most pet shampoos have fragrances and chemicals that can dry out their skin.
We recommend you delegate these jobs to someone that doesn’t have a cat allergy, though.
2. Routine Cleaning
Some cleaning practices that would typically be done monthly or less often will need to be done on a more regular basis. Vacuuming is a no-brainer, but walls, ceilings, and shelving will need to be dusted weekly to remove cat dander.
Even some of your spring cleaning jobs that only get done a few times per year will need to be bumped up in frequency. Dusting vents, changing filters, and even cleaning your washer and dryer should be done at least once a month if you hope to make a difference in the dander population in your home.
3. Dander Neutralizing Products
Products like Allerpet have been around for years and claim to encapsulate cat dander on your pet to prevent it from affecting you. Some people swear by these products, while others claim they are minimally effective.
We can’t tell you why it works for some but not others, but it could be worth a try if you are determined to keep your feline friend. These products are only made to reduce dander on your pets’ skin, so they will not help you if you are reacting to allergens in saliva or urine and will not prevent a runny nose.
4. Safe Spaces
Choosing a few areas in your home that can be dander-free is a great idea. We recommend your bedroom. Making your bedroom cat-free will drastically reduce the number of allergens you breathe in and might be enough to limit your reactions.
Just think about all the cat dander that collects on your bedspread. Now think about laying your face directly on that dander for 8 hours a night. No wonder you wake up with the sniffles. Cutting out the nighttime cuddles is a must for managing your symptoms.
Invest in HEPA products. High-efficiency Particulate Air filters will have a significant impact on the amount of dander in your home. An air purifier or a HEPA vacuum can be a lifesaver.
These aren’t always the cheapest option, but they are definitely worth the investment is you are determined to have a pet.
6. Wash Your Cat’s Stuff
Beds, blankets, collars, and even toys collect a disgusting amount of dander and saliva. Some products can be run through the washing machine to clean them routinely, but you might need to hand wash those that can’t.
Toys, especially those filled with catnip, are hard to wash without ruining them. These will need to be replaced often to prevent allergen build-up.
Even your cat’s litter box will be a hotbed for dander and other allergens. It’s best to empty and sanitize your litter box once per week. Try to avoid dusty litters that will carry dander around your home. Look for dust-free natural litters, instead.
7. Extreme Projects
If you need to eliminate cat dander, then you might need to consider some serious home-improvement. Not everyone is willing to go to these extremes, but they may be necessary if your allergies could kill you.
These are also recommended if you are moving into a house that used to have a cat:
- Tearing up the carpet and replacing it with hardwood, tile, or linoleum.
- Replacing furniture, like couches.
- Getting your vents and ductwork professionally cleaned.
- Upgrading your ventilation systems to include HEPA filters.
Think Before Getting a Cat
If you have cat allergies, please think twice before committing to getting and caring for a cat. Your allergies might affect them too.
If you need to limit contact with them or keep them quarantined in small areas of the house just to keep yours, or someone else’s, allergies at bay, then you might not be able to give them the loving environment or attention they need and deserve.
Not everyone has this luxury, as allergies can develop long after a cat has been welcomed into your family. This can mean making the heart-wrenching decision to rehome your cat due to cat dander. Hopefully, these tips can help to prevent this.
Are you allergic to your cat? Share your tips and tricks on how to get rid of cat dander in the comments.