Indoor Allergy Week
12 November 2012
Cats Protection is marking Indoor Allergy Week, 12 to 18 November, by providing tips for sufferers with the aim of helping to ease the UK’s unwanted cat problem.
While there have been conflicting studies as to whether owning a cat helps or hinders those prone to allergies, the charity is keen to stress that all is not lost if you suffer a reaction to your cat and there are plenty of ways to reduce triggers.
Cats Protection advises owners discuss allergy testing with a doctor before taking any drastic action to relinquish their pet, as dust mites are by far the most common trigger for house-born allergies. Asthma sufferers may want to discuss allergy testing with their doctor before acquiring a cat.
As the charity is always full to bursting with unwanted felines, we recommend owners try a few simple measures to control allergy symptoms before thinking of giving up their cat. These include:
• having hardwood floors, instead of carpets and blinds instead of curtains
• avoiding woollen clothing
• designating some areas as cat-free zones, particularly bedrooms
• opening the windows for at least one hour every day and move the litter tray and cat bed away from air vents
• regularly cleaning rooms where the cat sleeps – vacuumed rooms should be allowed to settle for 10 minutes as vacuuming stirs up allergens. Air filters may also help
• fitting plastic covers over cushions and mattresses
• grooming your cat daily, outdoors, and wipe him with a damp cloth
• washing your hands immediately after petting a cat and do not rub eyes
• washing your cat’s bed regularly
• using conditioning products such as Petalcleanse on your cat to reduce the amount of allergen released into the environment
• keeping your cat in optimum health, with good parasite control, and seek veterinary advice in particular for any conditions that cause him to groom or scratch more frequently
• using medications such as anti-histamine tablets or nasal spray yourself, as advised by your doctor.
"Ironically it’s cats’ fastidious cleanliness that may be implicated in the majority of human allergic reactions to cats,” said Jenny Penn, Publicity Officer. “People generally assume the cat’s hair is the problem but that is not strictly speaking the case – rather it is proteins which are spread through the coat by the cat grooming itself. They then may become airborne when the cat scratches or is stroked. Certain cats seem to be better than others for allergy sufferers – trial and error is the only way to tell.”