What’s animal dander?
The majority of people assume that their cat allergy is caused by the animal’s fur and it’s easy to see why. Cats can shed fur constantly so, from bedrooms to carpets, it gets everywhere!
However, in actual fact the allergy is caused by dander which is the urine, saliva and dead skin cells of cats. Dander contains a protein called Fel de 1 which and it is this that brings out the familiar symptoms of sneezing, watery eyes and so on.
This means that no matter what type of cat you have, whether it’s long or short haired, small or big, it could still bring on allergy symptoms.
What should I do first?
Before taking steps to minimise your cat allergy, it’s best to visit your doctor to confirm that your pet is indeed at the root of the problem. That’s because there are other things around the home such as dust mites, mould spores and pollen which you could be allergic to instead. Also, if you are sensitive to any of these things, it could cause symptoms similar to that of a cat allergy.
If you have an allergy it isn’t the best idea to start grooming your cat however, to ensure that Smudge still has tidy, tangle-free fur, you could get someone else to do it. Are there any close friends or family members who would just love to come over and give him some attention?
Carpets and rugs easily collect dander so if you have a cat allergy, hardwood floor or vinyl flooring is preferable. This might not always be possible though, so if not just make sure these things get washed regularly.
An air purifier may also may a good addition to your lounge or bedroom as this removes allergens from the air to create a more comfortable environment.
I know that cats have a tendency to find their way into your warm cosy bed or your freshly cleaned washing however, this isn’t great for your allergy. So, to minimise the effects of dander keep your cat out of your bedroom and your bed! You spend a lot of time here at night and so, if the room is full of animal dander, it won’t make for a comfortable sleep!
Also, to prevent dander from spreading round your home, you should aim to wash your cat’s bedding at least once a week.
A well trained cat will rely on its litter tray in times of need however, to prevent dander from bringing on watery eyes and inflammation, ensure this is cleaned up promptly. Also, avoid using an air freshener to mask any nasty smells as this has the potential to make symptoms worse.
When the immune system detects an allergen it releases histamine in order to push it out. This increases blood flow to the affected area and as a result, the skin and nose become more sensitive than normal. Therefore, the harsh chemicals contained in most air fresheners could irritate the skin whilst strong scents may also worsen symptoms in the nose and eyes.
Whether it’s a scruffy mouse or a plastic ball, cats love to play! However, these toys do tend to get covered in saliva so, to reduce the effects of this allergen all toys should be soaked in warm water at least twice a week.
If your symptoms are particularly bad, you may want to think about restricting your cat to certain areas of the home. If you have two floors then keep it downstairs however, if you have just one storey then the kitchen, lounge and hall is plenty of space for your moggy to wander and sleep in. Although allergens can still collect on your clothes, this should reduce their spread throughout your home.
Cats are able to distribute their fur all over the home, especially in the summer months when the weather gets warmer and they shed their winter coat. Unfortunately it’s near impossible to get rid of it completely however, vacuuming and dusting a few times a week will, at least, get rid of some to help ease your symptoms. Rather than using a regular duster though, dampen a cloth and use it to wipe surfaces as this will collect dander rather than just pushing it around.
Need more help?
Our Nasal Spray soothes and cleanses the nose to make it feel more comfortable so if your allergy causes symptoms like congestion, this is a good option.
Alternatively, our Moisturising Eye Drops provide relief from itching, watering and any soreness that animal dander may have caused.