allergic to cat

What to Do If Your Roommate is Allergic to Your Cat

allergic to cat

Flickr, Andrew Goloida Cat Allergies

As someone who has struggled with cat and dog allergies my entire life, I think I can speak from a very personal place on this subject. When I was younger, I could not go near an animal without having some reaction. It made being an animal lover rather tricky.

Now that I am much older, I have owned several pets in the past years, and I currently own two cats and a dog. It is not without struggle because, yes, allergies do need to be managed, but it is possible to be a pet owner despite your allergies!

It is essential to understand that just because you have a roommate who is allergic to cats, you don’t have to give up on your dreams of owning a cat ultimately. Yes, there may be a lot of compromise and discussions before you’re able to get your furry feline companion, but it is not impossible. There are a few key factors that must be addressed before your roommate, who is allergic to cats, can successfully live with you and a cat.

Have a Discussion with Your Roommate

Before you go out to the local shelter or shop popular hypoallergenic cat breeds, it is essential to have an initial discussion with your roommate about bring the cat into the home or apartment.

It is a good idea to have this discussion to hash out all of the details before you purchase your new feline friend. Listen to your roommate’s concerns, and then work together to find a solution that would make both of you happy.

It is important to note that if your roommate suffers from severe allergies or asthma, it is an excellent idea to forfeit owning a cat. If your roommate is suffering from allergies it can be managed but if your roommate has asthma, it can be dangerous to own a cat. 

Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds Exist

Wikipedia, Edison/Azureys Cats, Old-Style Balinese-Seal point cat.

While no cat is 100% hypoallergenic, some breeds are considered hypoallergenic because they help reduce the effects of allergens.

According to Dr. Becker from Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker, the breeds that are considered hypoallergenic are breeds such as Balinese, Russian Blue, Bengal, Devon Rex, Oriental Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Siberian, LaPerm, Sphynx, and Javanese. By investing in one of these cat breeds, you can help reduce allergens.

Purify the air

air purifier

Wikipedia, Winix air purifier P series, Author Darkopetreski

Since Fel D1 is the primary allergen produced by cats, it’s essential to have a great air purifier on hand to help clear the air of such allergens.

Fel D1 can affect people in different ways. If it is inhaled through the nose, the danger can cause severe sneezing and hay fever symptoms. If it is inhaled through the nose and mouth, it can make its way into the bronchial tubes and lungs, leading to severe asthma attacks.

Fel D1 can also cause skin irritations such as hives or skin rashes. Keeping all of this in mind, you can see the importance of owning a proper air purifier. 

Air purifiers work wonders to help keep the air free of allergens. They work to capture these allergens that are freely floating around in the air.

According to Kitty Catter, when shopping for the right type of air purifier to reduce cat allergens, you need to pay attention to the kind of filtration system in the air purifier.

You will need an advanced filtration system like a HEPA filtration. HEPA stands for a high-efficiency particulate air filter. HEPA filters can capture up to 99.97% of particles at a size of .3 microns and above. This type of filtration will help trap any cat dander or hair that may be floating around in the air.

Clean, Constantly!

You’re going to have to clean, always! 

According to Dr. Becker from Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker, people are mostly allergic to a cat protein called Fel D1. This protein is typically found on the cat’s skin.

It is also a very sticky protein, so it can readily attach itself to virtually anything with ease, especially clothes, hair, handbags, skin, and other items.

Keeping this in mind, you’ll have to continuously clean the house or apartment to ensure you keep as much of the Fel D1 at bay as you possibly can.

Another effective way to clean to remove cat dander is by vacuuming. It is recommended that you vacuum at least once a day, possibly more depending on how harmful the dander is or if your roommate’s allergies are acting up.

By vacuuming, you are sucking up any stray cat dander, fur, skin cells, and other allergens that your cat can produce. 

Consult a Doctor

Before you bring a cat into the home or apartment with your roommate, it’s a good idea for you and your roommate to speak to a doctor about cat allergies.

Doctors can make recommendations and help you understand how best to handle the addition of a cat into the apartment.s.

Allergy Medicine Helps, A LOT!

This one may seem a little obvious, but you would be surprised how many people forget that allergy medicine can help them significantly reduce the suffering allergies can cause.

If your roommate does not take every day over the counter OTC allergy medicine, encourage them to do so. OTC or over the counter antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays are the perfect arsenal for your roommate.

These medicines will help your roommate feel better in the long run, and it will help you be a cat owner despite your roommate’s cat allergies.

Bathe Your Cat Regularly

bathe cat

While bathing your cat is not a cure-all when dealing with allergies, it can help significantly reduce cat dander which is the leading cause of allergens.

It is recommended that you bathe your cat at least once a week, or every other week, to help the removal of excess cat dander that can build up on your cat and reduce the production of dander. 

Try Dander Removal Products

There are products available that help to remove or reduce, cat dander.

Allerpet is a cat dander removal product that works to reduce cat dander which is the leading cause of allergens. Allerpet is applied directly to the cat’s skin. It is non-oily and will leave no residue.

Designate a NO CAT Area

no cat area

One of the best ways to negotiate with your roommate is to promise to set some boundaries to ensure their allergies stay in check. You can set these boundaries by establishing designated NO CAT Areas.

These areas mean that your cat is not allowed to venture into the No Cat Area.

Examples of practical No Cat Areas would be places in the home or apartment that your roommate spends a great deal of time, such as your roommate’s bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen. These are significant areas to establish as No Cat Areas. You can also set boundaries that ensure the cat stays off of the furniture.

If you are a cat lover who lives with a roommate with cat allergies, have no fear, there is hope for you if your roommate is willing to work with you.

As mentioned previously, if your roommate has asthma, then bringing a cat into the home or apartment could cause them to have severe asthma attacks which could be very dangerous. If your roommate suspects they may have asthma, they need to see an allergist to be tested before you bring a cat around them.

Talk to a vet

According to Heather Oxford, DVM, the highest quantity of the primary allergen from cats is in their saliva and  anal glands.

She goes on to suggest that shaving a cat or purchasing any expensive products that claim to reduce cat allergies is not necessary.

Instead, the best ways to help reduce cat allergens is to bathe the cat regularly, apply flea medication as needed, and to change the litter box once a day.

Writer: Kamie Allen

kamie allen



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