Do you suffer with a mild allergy to cats? Here's our advice on what you can do if you're allergic to cats, but still want a feline friend in your home.
What are the best breeds for allergy sufferers?
Various breeds, like hairless Sphynx or the relatively unfurry Cornish Rex, have been suggested for allergy sufferers. The claim that some breeds are hypoallergenic is based around the idea that these breeds shed less hair than others.
Am I allergic to cat fur?
However, this is based on a misunderstanding. “Cat allergen is found in the skin cells, saliva, and urine and not in the hair itself. It’s when the animal licks themselves, it’s then transferred to the hair,” says a spokesman for Allergy UK. As all cats groom themselves by licking, no breed can be completely safe.
How do I find out if I have an allergy to cats?
However, allergies can be individual, and some allergy sufferers claim that they can tolerate certain cats.
“We don’t know why this is,” admits Allergy UK. A true test of a breed would be to spend a few hours (not minutes) with a cat of that breed and see what happens. If you encourage the cat to lick you or rub you, this will allow any allergy to flare up.
To be sure of your safety, repeat this on more than one occasion. This test should be in somebody else’s house or a cat shelter. Taking a cat into your own house to test is risky. “Even when the cat has left, its allergen sticks to walls, ceilings, and other surfaces for months, even a couple of years,” warns Allergy UK.
How can I keep my cat allergy under control?
People who are only mildly allergic and strongly want to live with cats will need to do lots of vacuuming, invest in a good air purifier, and open windows as much as possible. Keeping the cat in the kitchen or adopting a feral cat that lives outdoors, and doesn’t come into the house at all, might be one way of spending time with cats.
Even so, it would be good to contact www.allergyuk.org or get an allergy test via your GP before taking this step.