|How To Successfully Deal
With Cat Allergies
by Eric Smith
There are many people who love
cats, but develop allergy or asthma symptoms when they're around
cats. This is something that I, unfortunately, have a bit of
history with. Let me explain.
When I was a kid, I was
diagnosed as having a rare kind of asthma called "allergic asthma."
This type is more dangerous than normal asthma because an allergic
asthmatic's lungs AND nasal passages close up at the same time,
thus making breathing extremely difficult.
I took up to five allergy
shots a week for about a decade and a half, and often ended up in
the emergency room. I played competitive sports and led an
active life, but allergic asthma was something that was constantly
on my radar.
It was especially prominent
when I was around cats. I remember loving to go to my aunt and
uncle's house to see my cousins, but they had a long-haired orange
cat and every time I'd go to their house, I'd have a severe attack
and we'd have to leave. I'd be popping pills, sucking on my
inhaler and absolutely miserable.
Well, in the early 1980s, I
got so fed up with allergies and asthma that I gave myself a good
talking-to. I told myself that asthma and allergies were
getting in my way, served no purpose in my life and needed to GO!
By then, we were already getting serious about animal rescue and had
a number of cats, so the time was right for me to clean up my act
and move on. You know what? It worked. I stopped
having allergies and asthma! Now, to this day I will sometimes
have a bit of hay fever in the Spring and Fall, but these are minor
and rare; I just pop a Zyrtec and move on. But gone are the
severe troubles I once had.
If you're stymied by allergies
and asthma, and my story resonates with you, check out the book
The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy, a
psychologist and minister (deceased).
Even without allergy shots and
putting the power of your mind behind your allergy or asthma issue,
there is more you can do. Lots more.
Things that have been helpful
to us and others we know include:
These are weak versions of the things that bother you. They
stimulate your body gently so you can better handle what you've been
reacting to. You can buy homeopathics online, at places like
Whole Foods or at natural-centric local stores.
Low-Dose Allergy Shots:
These are similar to homeopathics in that they desensitize your body
without overly taxing it. I took these toward the end of my
allergy-shot period and did find them helpful.
can't say enough good things about acupuncture, as I have found it
to be helpful for every issue for which I've been treated. Not
all acupuncturists are equal in skill and comfort, so you might have
to try a few to find one you really resonate with, but the search
will be well worth it. Oh...some acupuncture needles feel FAR
better than others. Cheap needles can hurt a bit, while
expensive needles are virtually painless, so ask around and see who
uses the good needles.
Chinese Herbs (TCM):
I also can't say enough good things about Chinese herbs, which my
wife and I take regularly for a variety of purposes. Herbal
Times is a good brand; we feel good about its purity and efficacy.
There are a number of types, of which we feel best about HEPA
filters. (You can learn more on the
Freshen Your Air
page.) Most importantly, there is a new technology we are
LOVING called AirRestore. We own and swear by a number of the
AirRestore Naturalizer units, which you can learn more about on our
page. We use them in our home and in our rescue facility.
I even take one with me on business trips.
I've read that chiropractic can help with allergies as well.
Vacuums: None of
us vacuums as often as we should, so when we do, doesn't it make
sense that we're not shooting back into the air some of the dirt
we're trying to vacuum up? Well, unless you use a sealed HEPA
vacuum, that's exactly what you're doing! Not all HEPA vacuums
are of the sealed type, but some
Miele units are, as well as
some less expensive units by
Hoover and others. We own Riccars, a Miele, a
Hoover and numerous
Euroclean GD930U models, and
appreciate how they don't re-pollute the air when we're vacuuming.
Diet: I can't
tell you how strongly I believe in the benefits of an organic,
vegetarian, gluten-free diet. It's not as hard to stick to as
you might think...and BOY do all sorts of symptoms go away when I
stick to the diet! Drink plenty of purified water, perhaps
with organic lemon juice in it for detoxing, and you'll be amazed at
how much better you feel. As I said at a Thanksgiving dinner a
couple decades ago, "If you profess to love animals, don't eat 'em!"
We are big on nutritional supplements and feel that anything you can
do to calm systemic inflammation and keep your body healthy will
help with allergies, which are, after all, nothing but an
inflammatory response. Our favorite supplement vendors are
Lucky Vitamin, Botanic Choice and others like them.
Keep washing your hands (the proper way, not the ineffective way
most people do it). Keep your fingers out of your eyes, nose,
mouth and ears.
Here is part of an article
www.mercola.com and written by Dr. Karen Becker, a
veterinarian who's holistic:
An estimated 10 percent of Americans are allergic to household pets,
and cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. Most people
with cat allergies react to Fel d 1, a protein found on cat skin
(although there are other cat allergens as well found on the fur and
The Fel d 1 protein is quite small, so when it’s attached to a piece
of airborne cat hair or skin, it can linger in the air for hours –
much longer than a dog allergen would typically stay airborne.
Meanwhile, the Fel d 1 protein is quite sticky, so it readily
attaches to your clothing and skin, and can even be transferred
quite easily to public locations that have no cats present, like a
Male cats tend to produce more of this allergenic protein than
female cats – especially if they’re not neutered. However, all cats
produce the Fel d 1 protein, and it’s not related to the amount of
dander or shedding.
This means there are no truly hypoallergenic cat breeds.2
If your allergy symptoms are more of a nuisance than a serious
health threat, here are some options to help minimize
your cat allergies at
Consider making your bedroom (or the bedroom of your allergic
family member) a cat-free zone. This will help keep allergens
Purchase a high-quality air purifier to help rid the air of
allergens and other pollutants.
To prevent a buildup of allergens inside your home, replace
carpeting with hard flooring, replace drapes and curtains with
non-fabric window coverings, and if possible, avoid upholstered
Clean your home often and thoroughly, including any surfaces
that trap pet hair and dander (couch covers, pillows, bedding,
and pet beds, etc.).
Wash bedding at least weekly in hot water.
Wash your hands after handling your cat, and if the two of you
have been snuggling on the couch, consider a shower and shampoo
before retiring to avoid bringing kitty allergens to bed with
Feed your cat an anti-inflammatory (grain free), balanced, and
species-appropriate diet. Reducing or eliminating the allergenic
and genetically modified foods your kitty eats reduces the
allergenic quality of her saliva.
Make sure your cat is getting optimal levels of essential fatty
acids in her diet to reduce
shedding and dander.
Bathe your cat regularly, taking care to use only a safe,
non-drying herbal animal shampoo.
The bottom line is that there
is plenty you can do to lessen your pet allergies! Clean up
your diet, clean up your house and use common sense. You'll be
amazed at how much better you feel!