6 Steps to Natural Cat Allergy Relief
Cat allergies never take a holiday. However, they can become more problematic during the winter months, when our furry friends spend more time indoors where it’s cozy and warm.
Any time your cats cuddle up inside, the allergens they shed 24/7 can accumulate on your bedding, carpeting, clothing, linens, and upholstered furniture. It’s these allergens that provoke symptoms like itchy, watery eyes and sneezy, stuffed-up noses.
Kicking your kitty out into the cold is not the solution. Instead, follow these 6 steps to get natural cat allergy relief instead.
What causes cat allergies?
Cat allergies are second only to dust mites as a cause of indoor allergies. A 2022 review of human allergy to cats revealed that 20% of the world population of adults sniffles, sneezes, and wheezes when spending too much quality time around felines.
What is it about cats that trigger an allergic response in some people? You can blame a tiny protein allergen called Fel d1.
Invisible to the human eye, cats primarily produce Fel d1 in the glands underneath their skin. You also can find it in their dander, feces, fur, saliva, and urine. Cats shed the protein constantly, contaminating homes for those sensitive to it.
Physicians worry about cat allergies because they can lead to chronic asthma and irreversible lung damage in some people.
Adult cats vs. kittens
Allergy and immunology experts know that cute and cuddly kittens can provoke allergy symptoms just like adult cats. While kittens may produce less of the Fel d1 protein, it’s still present in their tiny systems, and they can shed it just like an adult cat.
The experts also know cat allergens are cumulative. Prolonged exposure to cats can eventually cause allergic reactions in even mildly susceptible people.
Common cat allergy symptoms
How do you know you’re allergic to your favorite furry feline? Some of the most common cat allergy symptoms include puffy, red eyes that can burn and water. You also might experience a persistent runny nose (or congestion) and sneezing.
Some of the less common signs of a Fel d1 allergy include:
- Itchy eyes and skin
- Joint pain
- Shortness of breath
Can I get rid of the Fel d1 around me?
You can never get rid of Fel d1 completely in an indoor environment. The proteins are small and lightweight, increasing the likelihood of becoming airborne the second they leave a cat’s body. Within minutes they can travel several yards. That’s why you can experience cat allergies even when you don’t have a cat in your home.
Because the Fel d1 protein is sticky, it can stubbornly cling to any fabric surface—bed linens, clothing, upholstery—and get inhaled or absorbed through your pores from there.
While you can never rid your home entirely of Fel d1 protein, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount you’re exposed to every day. Giving up your beloved feline doesn’t have to be one of the solutions. You can keep your cat by creating an allergy reduction plan.
6 ways to get natural cat allergy relief
You can find over-the-counter medications and prescriptions to control your allergy and asthma symptoms from Fel d1 exposure. Your doctor can make recommendations for what works best in your situation.
However, if you prefer natural cat allergy relief, here are six strategies you can use to keep your symptoms in check.
1. Use an indoor allergen neutralizer
Using a natural formula indoor allergen reducer can reduce the amount of airborne Fel d1 in your home. Unlike toxic chemical sprays and shampoos, these herbal cat allergy remedies work without exposing you or your pets to dangerous ingredients.
Easy Air Organic Allergy Relief Spray and Organic Allergy Relief Laundry Rinse are excellent examples of natural solutions. Both instantly destroy cat allergens with benefits that last for weeks. Think of it like taking a dangerous boulder and crushing it into harmless rubble.
2. Neuter your male cats
Male cats produce more Fel d1 than female cats. If your male cats are not neutered, they can generate even more of the protein than their neutered counterparts.
Spaying your female cats has benefits as well. Not only is it better for their health, but it also can reduce the number of allergens she produces.
3. Bathe your cat
Your kitty probably won’t like this solution. However, bathing dramatically lowers the allergen level in your home. Shampooing doesn’t stop your cat from shedding Fel d1, but it can reduce the allergen count in your home by nearly half. You can take your furry companion to a professional groomer weekly if you don’t think you can handle the task on your own
4. Change the litter box frequently
Your cat sheds Fel d1 in its feces and urine. Putting the litter box in your garage or another room that can be vented to the outside is an effective strategy for reducing allergens in your home. The experts recommend changing the litter every other day for the best results.
5. Moisten your pet’s fur before daily grooming
Again, your cat probably won’t like this, but it’s an effective way to manage indoor allergens. Lightly moistening their skin and then combing through it daily can remove some of the protein produced by your furry friend.
If you’re allergic, make sure you wear a dust-filtering mask before brushing or combing your pet to reduce the chances of inhaling the Fel d1 protein airborne particles.
6. Use a HEPA filter
Using a High Efficiency Particle Air (HEPA) filtration system in your vacuum and an air purifier for your home can go a long way in eliminating cat allergens from your home. Vacuum at least once weekly, including upholstered furniture and all carpeting. Run an air purifier with HEPA filtration around-the-clock, in all indoor spaces.
- An update on molecular cat allergens: Fel d1 and what else? Chapter 1: Fel d1, the major cat allergen. aacijournal.biomedcentral.com. Accessed January 3, 2023.
- Human allergy to cats: A review of the impact on cat ownership and relinquishment. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed January 3, 2023.
- Keep the cat, change the care pathway: A transformational approach to managing Fel d1, the major cat allergen. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed January 3, 2023.
- Pet allergies. acaai.org. Accessed January 3, 2023.
- Sex difference in Fel d1 allergen production. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed January 3, 2023.
- The link between cats and asthma and how to manage. medicalnewstoday.com. Accessed January 3, 2023.
- What is a HEPA filter? epa.gov. Accessed January 3, 2023.