Cat Allergies: Helpful Tips for Cat Dander Allergies

If we were sane and rational about our allergies, we’d stay away from anything that makes us sick. Many of us, however, are not sane and rational when it comes to our beloved pets, and indeed one of my screening questions when I was single was “Do you have cat dander allergies?”

I never wanted to have to make the choice between my spouse and my cats. (Because, hello, the cats would always win!) So by a cruel twist of fate, after I got married and after a whole lifetime with cats, I found out that I was the one with cat dander allergies with a 7 out of 9 scale rating.

Here’s the truth: If I didn’t have cats, I’d probably wake up every morning with a completely clear head. I’d never sneeze around the house or experience mild sinus pressure. My eyes would never itch after I bury my head in their fur. But I’d also miss out on a very important part of my life. So no, my cat allergy symptoms are never gone completely, but they are manageable. Very manageable.

So here’s what I’ll say: above all, be sensible. I get letters from people who have anywhere from 5-10  cats and land in the hospital multiple times a year with severe asthmatic attacks. The more cats you have, the more allergens there are to handle.

So here are the tips I’ve personally come up with to help with the cat allergy issue. (And for you dog lovers, yes, this works for you too, should you find you have an allergy to your beloved pooch.)

  • Vacuum with a high grade HEPA vacuum cleaner at least twice weekly. Vacuum the walls, carpet, flooring, chairs, and furniture…everywhere!  Use the hand tools on the vacuum to get in small spaces and crevices. We love the Miele Cat & Dog S8380 Vacuum for cleaning upolstery and carpets. It has an Active AirClean filter to absorb pet odors and a mini turbo brush for removing pet hair from stairs and furniture. Cat allergen particles are very small and invasive, so you really have to do a thorough job to get rid of them. Good hand tools on your vacuum cleaner are the answer here, and this Miele comes with a crevice nozzle, dusting brush and upholstery tool.
Miele Cat & Dog S8380 Vacuum
QuietPure Home Air Purifier

We use several HEPA air purifiers all over our house. The best one we’ve found is the QuietPure Home Air Purifier.  It monitors actual particle count, volatile organic compound (VOC) levels, relative humidity and even temperature. The QuietPure Home removes dust, allergens, viruses, smoke, odors and pet dander.

We also like the Airpura v600 Pet Air Purifier. It pairs a HEPA filter with 18 lbs of enhanced, activated carbon, making it a great all-around air cleaner and a smart choice for pet owners who need to remove pet odors and dander at the same time.

A Blueair PRO M Air Purifier in great for bedrooms because it’s so quiet. The PRO M’s HEPASilent and electrostatic air filtration technology exceed HEPA standards, with the capability to remove 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 micron in size.

Blueair PRO M air purifier

The IQAir New Edition HealthPro and HealthPro Plus Air Purifier is our category winner here at Allergy Buyers Club. IQAir’s HyperHEPA filtration system is able to capture particles down to 0.003 microns — the smallest particle that exists. If you need serious allergen control, the IQAir Health Pro is the way to go.

IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier

The important thing to remember about cat allergens is the constant high rate of recontamination…because you have the actual source running around the house chasing toy mice! When my husband has an allergic patient come to the house, we use one of the HEPA air purifiers on high in order to clear the air within a 1- to 2-hour period. It works like a charm. HEPA air purification systems may be a little boxy and require filter replacement, but when push comes to shove and you’re in need of fast relief, a high performance HEPA air purifier will do a great job for you.

So remember this basic fact about cat allergens: in order for you to have an allergic reaction to them, they need to be both airborne and (subsequently) inhaled. Cat allergens are very small so they remain suspended in the air longer.

Keeping a cat when you have allergies takes a concerted effort, but for those people who are passionate about their cats (and dogs!), it’s really no trouble at all.