How to Raise a Cat When You Have Allergies
Before I start this article, I want to leave a disclaimer that these instructions aren’t for those with severe allergies, but more for people like me who have mild to moderate cat allergies (AKA people who can spend a couple hours to a day with a cat without severe allergic reactions).
I didn’t know I was allergic, until one summer I had to stay in a single bedroom with my newly adopted cat for a month. The first week I was mildly okay, just a scratchy throat and itchy nose whenever I was in the bedroom. The second week, my eyes started tearing up, my nose rubbed raw, and my sneezes occurring every 5 minutes. The third week, I couldn’t sleep because I was in so much pain. I survived the summer by heavily dosing myself with allergy pills and anti-histamine cream, but swore to fix this once summer ended. I wanted to share my experience and the method that worked for me to fellow cat owners who suffer all for love.
Step 1: Create a Safe Haven
Divide your living space into two categories. Your safe haven, and your cat’s territory. Your safe haven should be a place where your cat is absolutely not allowed, where you will be sleeping, and where there is a lot of cloth. Keep your cat where there isn’t as much linen/cloth/etc. The more fabric, the more likely cat dander is going to torment you.
For example, I have a one bedroom apartment. I have my cat roam around my living room, kitchen, and bathroom. I do not let her in my bedroom where my bed, clothes, carpet, and throw is.
Step 2: Minimize the amount of fabric in your cat’s territory.
I keep my sofa throw in my room and only bring it out when I know I will be there to safeguard it from my cat’s fur. If my cat’s fur gets on it, I either duct tape all the hair out before I bring it in or just wash it. I made my dining room table was wood and metal based, and that any “cushions” I had was leather or faux leather, or any one of those waterproof materials. My clothes are always in the closet with a closed door (no clothes laying around). If my clothes have a lot of cat hair, DO NOT BRING IT BACK INTO YOUR SAFE HAVEN. I do have rugs, aprons, and kitchen towelettes, but I’ll explain how to deal with those later.
Step 3: Vacuum often
I vacuum once every 2 days, and you won’t believe how much cat hair I find. I make sure I am very thorough with any fabric-y stuff in my living room area. I vacuum the cat tower and the cat scratchers also.
Step 4: Invest in a HEPA Allergen Air Filter
It helps. I promise you. Make sure it is powerful enough to cover the sqft of your cat’s area.
Step 5: Invest in a litter box with a lid
Open litterboxes are THE WORST for allergies. Get the ones with the lids so your cat doesn’t 1) spray her stuff all over the floor when she jumps out and 2) flings the sand all over the place. It is even better for you when you clean it out.
Step 6: Throw out all cat litter immediately OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE
I found out that even if they were in a closed lid trashcan, it doesn’t beat throwing their poop in the outside trashcan immediately upon cleaning up.
Step 7: Comb and bathe your cat often
I comb my cat every day, and bath her once a month. This helps with her shedding.
Step 8: Feed your cat “indoor” cat food that is well-balanced.
Healthy cats don’t shed as much. I learned this the hard way.