Does your cat make you sneeze? You could be allergic to your cat! Or would you like to adopt a cat but suspect you’re allergic? Read our tips on how to manage your cat allergy.

Allergies occur when our immune system overreacts to a foreign substance called an allergen. Common allergens include foods (like peanuts and milk), pollens, medicines or animals – like our beloved feline friends.

In most cases, cat allergen is a protein in a cat’s saliva, urine, skin or faeces. If you’re allergic to cats, your body will overreact when it comes into contact with these proteins. This may cause you to experience various nose, eye, skin or respiratory symptoms.

If this sounds familiar, it is always advisable to see your doctor and discuss your symptoms. They may decide that a skin prick test or a blood test is needed for further information or to confirm a diagnosis.

If your symptoms are more severe, you’ll need to discuss your cat parenting options with your doctor.

But the good news is that if your symptoms are milder, there are practical ways to manage your allergy and continue being – or become – a cat parent. Many people with allergies are able to keep their cats, and live long and happy lives together.

So, what can you do?

Reduce allergens in your home

This approach can help reduce your allergy symptoms.

Our top tips are that you:

  • keep your cat out of your bedroom and out of your bed
  • use an air purifier with a HEPA filter in the rooms you spend the most time in
  • vacuum regularly if you have carpets in your home
  • if possible, consider removing the carpets and installing smooth floor like wood or tiles
  • wear a mask while cleaning your home or have a non-allergic person do the cleaning.

Reduce allergens around your cat

While it’s impossible to eliminate allergens in your cat, you can reduce them.

Our top tips are that you:

  • avoid petting your cat for long periods of time or having them sleep on you
  • wash your hands after petting your cat
  • desex your cat – desexed cats produce less allergens
  • clean the litter box regularly
  • have a non-allergic person or cat groomer regularly brush your cat.

Manage your symptoms with medication

Your doctor can prescribe you anti-allergen medication. There are also over-the-counter medications available but always speak with your doctor or pharmacist before trying one of these for the first time.

Some of the treatments available include:

  • antihistamine tablets
  • corticosteroid nasal sprays
  • asthma medication
  • desensitisation injections.

For more information about cat allergies and managing them, read our ‘Does your cat make you sneeze?’ fact sheet.