Living with Allergies

How to help lessen your allergies to your cat (and everything else you're allergic to). Just because you have allergies doesn't mean you must part with your feline friend. If you're allergic to cats, chances are you're allergic to other things, too. So finding Fluffy a nice new home will likely only solve just a small part of the problem. So many people get rid of their cat and continue having allergy problems, leaving the cat helpless and uprooted and their owner still reacting to everything else in their environment. Try looking at this issue a different way, your allergies won't ever go away, but they can be managed so you can live comfortably from day-to-day.
  • Look at the big picture: "Allergies that millions of Americans suffer are a result of their hypersensitivity to common elements found in the environment. Identifying the allergen that causes your symptoms is a key first step in controlling allergies. Allergens include pollens, grasses, dusts, molds, dust mites, animal dander, insect venoms, occupational exposures and foods. Because of recent advances, this can now be done with a simple blood test that is simpler and less irritating than the traditional skin test. Many people who think they have allergies who have never been tested don't have allergies at all. Studies have shown that up to two-thirds (2 out of every 3) of the people who "think" they have allergies DO NOT! Effectively then, as many as two out of three people are spending money on unnecessary, expensive allergy medications that are not helping them...or making things worse." * If you're going to war, identify your enemy so you can fight it more effectively. Make that appointment with an allergist and prepare to dig in if the Doctor goes into their rote "Get rid of the cat" routine. Ask your doctor to help you solve the larger issue of your total allergy problem. Insist on allergy testing and have your doctor order through screening of ALL the possible irritants in your environment and then look at your list. It is highly unfair to pick out one thing on a list of many as the main culprit. That one thing is a living, breathing soul who loves you unconditionally!
  • Don't Give Up. Even if the tests show you're allergic to cats, don't be talked into giving up your cat immediately. Since allergic people are usually bothered by more than one thing, it's the total allergen level that causes problems. If you can remove a large percentage of the total allergens in your home, your cat may not bother you at all.
  • Consider allergy shots. Did you know that it is possible for your allergist to order a custom allergy shot that can be mixed using the dander of your cat to make you less allergic to YOUR cat? Even "generic" allergy shots for cats work for many people and remember cat-related allergies are particularly responsive.
  • Think long-term. You will always have allergies even if you might not always have a cat. Make your home environment as allergy-free as possible, which means increase your easily cleanable surfaces. Take out the wall-to-wall carpet and change to something you can vacuum and damp mop. Replace drapes with vertical blinds that can be vacuumed and wiped clean, a cheap vinyl sofa covered with a fitted slipcover can look quite nice and is as easy to clean as putting the cover in the washing machine. Paint the house in a semi-gloss or satin cleanable paint and stage a yearly wall-wiping party with your family. Invest in HEPA air cleaners (Christmas list time!) for the rooms in your house you spend the most time in.

Here is the best allergy-control advice listed in order from the most imperative to the almost as imperative.

  • Vacuum often and thoroughly with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner or even double walled bagged vacuum cleaners. Damp wipe all surfaces. Buy an allergy mask to wear during the times you clean and vacuum your house and brush your pet (or better yet, enlist your non-allergic family members as punishment for being so darned healthy).
  • Establish an allergy-free zone. Keep pets out of your bedroom…studies show that breathing 8-10 hours of "pure" air will help you tolerate your daily exposure to allergens better.
  • Give her a bath. Bathing cats in lukewarm tap or distilled water every few weeks reduces the production of allergy-causing protein found in cats' saliva and on their skin and coats. A "sponge bath" works, as long as the water reaches the cat's skin. Use Allerpet It comes in shampoos and between shampoo-sprays and it really works. You can buy this at pet supply stores, or easily online.
  • Give your cat the Allergy Remedy - Recipe below.
  • Change your cat litter. Unscented clumping litter is least irritating. Use a brand that produces little dust. Pour litter into the pan slowly to minimize dust and wear that mask!
  • Spray tannic acid such as Allersearch ADS: A 3 percent tannic acid solution sprayed on carpets, upholstery and bedding (not the cat) every 2 months kills many allergens and is not toxic
  • Wash your hands after handling your cat and keep the cat away from your face.

Linda East, DVM

Crush one 5 mg acepromazine tablet
Add 30 ml (1 ounce) of water
Store in an amber glass bottle in refrigerator
Add 6 drops of mixture to cat's food daily

Acepromazine is an animal tranquilizer, available only by prescription from a veterinarian. The amount given for allergies is such a small dosage that there are no tranquilizing effects, but a chemical change does take place in the cat's saliva (which is what many people react to). About 75 percent of those using this formula report at least some improvement, and about half of those say their allergies improve dramatically. Contact your veterinarian if you would like to try this remedy. Your cat must be a patient of a veterinarian before he or she can prescribe any medication.

*(taken from Health Tests Direct webpage)