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Cat Care Clinic: The only 2 board-certified feline specialists in the state of Wisconsin.

What if I am allergic to my cat?

Many people who are allergic to cats can live comfortably with their cat by making some household and grooming changes. Also, some people develop tolerance to their own cat over time.

If you think you are allergic to your cat, find a sympathetic allergist who is willing to work with you. The healthy and positive benefits that people gain from living with a pet should be taken into consideration when evaluating all the options. Allergy testing is the only way to know for sure if you are allergic to cats; few people are allergic to just one thing, and the cat may be blamed for allergies to something else that just happened to worsen since the cat moved in.

Here are some hints for the allergic:
  • Keep the cat out of your bedroom.
  • Reduce household dust and allergens. Frequently dust rooms with a damp cloth, and damp mop floors and baseboards. Clean walls and ceilings regularly.
  • If possible, replace all carpets with flooring. Replace all curtains with blinds. Otherwise, use a cleaning solution of 3% tannic acid (available from your pharmacist) on your carpet and for dusting to alter the cat allergen (Fel D-1) so that it is less allergenic.
  • Changes filters on furnaces and air conditioners regularly.
  • Let someone else do the cleaning.
  • Weekly rinsing of cats with water can reduce allergens. Allerpet/C can be applied to the fur with a damp cloth or fine-toothed comb.
  • Use low dust, scoopable litter that is not scented.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling your cat.
  • Reduce or eliminate as many other allergens as possible. Most people are allergic to multiple allergens. Symptoms may decrease if eliminating other allergens in the environment.

This information has been provided by The University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, with contributions from the University of Wisconsin Allergy Clinics.