It's frustrating when you're allergic to cats, because that might mean no one in your household can experience the joy of having a cat for a pet. If you or your kids really want to bring a cat into your family, you might be able to make it work if you take some precautions. If your allergic reaction is severe, you shouldn't attempt to live in the same house as a cat, but if you only have mild or moderate symptoms, you can try these suggestions.
Consult An Allergy Specialist
Make sure you are actually allergic to cats before you ban one from your home. If you've had problems around cats before, maybe you were allergic to their fleas, flea treatments, or even the grass pollen clinging to their fur. The allergist, such as Diane L. Ozog, MD, SC, can pinpoint your specific allergy and suggest ways to treat it, if necessary, depending upon your symptoms.
Create A Cat-Free Oasis
When you agree to get a cat, make a firm rule that the cat cannot enter your bedroom. You spend most of your time in that room sleeping at night, so you want it as allergen-free as possible. Always keep the door closed to your bedroom so cat hairs cannot blow inside. You may even want to run an air purifier in your bedroom that will remove dander and hairs from the air.
Get Rid Of Carpeting
Carpeting holds onto cat hairs, and it is much harder to clean than smooth flooring. If you do have carpet, you'll need to vacuum it often and have it professionally cleaned on a regular basis. It is much easier to just run a wet mop over a tile floor every day to pull up all the cat hair from the floor. If you don't want to remove the carpet from all the rooms in your home, then consider just removing it from the rooms you are in most often, such as the family room.
Use HEPA Filters
Be sure the vacuum cleaner you use has a HEPA filter. These filters are very efficient at removing allergens of all kinds from the air, so your vacuum does not blow out cat allergens when you use it. You should also make sure any air purifiers you place in your home have HEPA filters in them. In addition, choose a filter for your HVAC unit that is recommended for allergy sufferers, such as an electrostatic or activated carbon filter.
Cover Your Furniture
Cover your furniture with pet covers or throws. You can wash these in hot water every week, keeping pet hairs off your couch and chairs much easier that way. You may also want to change your curtains to wood or metal blinds, so you don't have drapes that collect cat hair. You'll cut down on your weekly cleaning chores if you reduce the amount of fabric in your home from upholstery, carpet, and drapes that can trap cat allergens.
Create A Cat Room
Cats pretty much go where they want and do what they want in your home, but you can try to set a designated sleeping, eating, and playing area in a room you don't go in very often. Pet gates aren't effective with cats, so it can be tricky to keep a cat in a particular area unless you can close the doors to rooms you want your cat to stay out of.
It will take some effort to co-exist with a cat when you have a cat allergy, but it is definitely worth it if you have a child that is a cat-lover. Cats are great pets. Don't let a mild allergy stop you from the joy of owning one.