Allergic to cats? Those cat allergies are nothing to sneeze about, for people or for cats. Allergic humans, especially children, are among the top reasons cats lose their homes. If they go to open-access shelters, chances are they won’t come out alive. So the arrival of Purina Pro Plan’s LiveClear cat food on the market could not only nourish, it could save lives. The food drastically reduces the number of allergens a cat spreads around the house. Keep reading to learn more about this breakthrough in feline nutrition.
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With Cat Allergies, Nothing Much Has Changed
If you’re allergic to cats, you have my sympathy. Although my cat allergies are long gone, (allergy shots do work!) I still remember sneezing my way through kindergarten and first grade and rubbing my constantly itching eyes. Pandora, my gray cat with the most beautiful green eyes, slept against my face every night, making things even worse.
In those days, the solutions were much the same as they are now. The top recommendation was always to rehome the cat. Some doctors, like mine, said to rid the house of everything that trapped allergens, including books, curtains and rugs.
Or, you could continue to suffer until you finally became desensitized to the cat, take medication or get weekly allergy shots. It took my family about two seconds to decide our cat (dogs, books, curtains and rugs) were not going anywhere.
I hated those weekly shots. But within a few weeks, I was able to sleep with Pandora cuddled against my face and not feel anything except her soft fur.
If You're Allergic To Cats Don't Blame That Soft, Beautiful Fur
It’s not that soft, beautiful fur that causes cat allergies. The culprit is a tiny, lighter-than-air protein called Fel d1 that lives in the cat’s saliva. When the cat grooms herself, she gets Fel d1 on her fur, and from there, it drifts all over everywhere. It’s so sticky, it clings to everything — you, the walls, carpeting, furniture, window shades and blinds. You name it, and Fel d1 is there.
With every grooming session, it replenishes itself and can stay wherever it lands for months. As you move around your house, it gets stirred up and can become airborne again.
That’s why removing a cat from her home isn’t the most effective solution. The allergens are still there long after the cat is gone.
If You're Allergic To Cats, The Solution Could Be In The Bag
It’s been more than 10 years since Purina researchers began looking for a way to reduce human allergies to cats. Now that the answer’s in the bag, they’re hoping people will manage cat allergens in a new way. So maybe you can forget about the shots and over-the-counter medications and put relief from your cat allergies in a bowl.
LiveClear uses a specific protein sourced from eggs that binds to Fel d1 and neutralizes it in the cat’s mouth so she doesn’t get it on her fur when she grooms. Purina claims it can reduce the amount of Fel d1 in a cat’s mouth by 47 percent starting in the third week of daily feeding. It’s available online and from specialty retailers and comes in a variety of formulas, from kitten food to food for senior cats.
Looking at the ingredients, this isn’t something I’d want to feed my cats. But if I was still plagued by cat allergies, I might not be as fussy about my cats eating corn gluten meal (an inexpensive source of protein) rice (another inexpensive source of protein) and caramel color.
Other Ways To Live With Cats If You're Allergic
Aside from shots, the best treatment I know of for cat allergies is NAET. While it may sound like snake oil, it’s helped several friends get over their allergies to cats, peanuts, pollen and all the other allergens that can make life miserable. Using a sample of your cat’s fur, it can even be customized to her.
NAET combines kinesiological muscle response testing, electromagnetic fields and acupuncture to reprogram the brain and nervous system to no longer react to an allergen. It’s a painless treatment that’s readily accepted by children, as well as adults.
Here are some more suggestions for making life with cats more comfortable if you’re allergic.
♦ Keep the cat out of your bedroom.
♦ Wash your hands with soap and water after you touch the cat. Wash your arms and face, too.
♦ Vacuum often with a HEPA vacuum cleaner. And don’t stop with the floor. Use a hand vac to do the walls, blinds and curtains and upholstered furniture. I like this one because it has a long crevice tool so it’s easy to reach high places.
♦ Keep HEPA air purifiers running constantly in the rooms where your cat spends the most time.
♦ If you can, replace your carpeting with hardwood.
♦ Open some windows a bit to keep your home well ventilated.
♦ Bathe your cat once a week. The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine website says this can reduce allergens by up to 84 percent. If your cat doesn’t appreciate being dunked in a tub and getting soaking wet, go over her with a damp cloth or paper towel. Then rinse the cloth thoroughly so all the allergens go down the drain instead of into the air.
♦ Regular brushing can help, too. It will reduce shedding by removing loose hair, spread the natural oils in the cat’s skin and get rid of dander. Since brushing will stir up those allergens, try to brush your cat outside, wear a mask or have someone who’s not allergic brush her. And put the hair you brush off in a closed container so the allergens don’t escape into the air. This is my cats’ favorite brush, and it gets off an amazing amount of loose hair.
♦ A broom or feather duster will stir up the allergens and send them drifting everywhere. Instead, use a statically charged dustcloth or wet mop to trap the allergens while you’re cleaning.
♦ Wash your cat’s bedding often using the highest temperature possible. Don’t use soap though. Your cat wants her bedding to smell like her, not cheap perfume.
When It Comes To Allergens, Every Cat Is Different
If you feel like you’re allergic to one cat but not to others, or if you seem to be allergic to all cats you meet except one, it’s not your imagination. Every cat is an individual, and they all produce different amounts of Fel d1. While it’s never good to paint any species with a broad brush, these generalizations seem to be true.
♦ Unneutered male cats produce the most Fel d1. Females generally produce less than males.
♦ Light-colored cats generally produce less Fel d1 than dark-colored cats. ‘
♦ Long-haired cats are least likely to cause an allergic reaction because their fur holds the allergens against their skin.
If you’re thinking about adopting, break out your cat allergy toolkit and try fostering first to see how you do. And try feeding LiveClear. I hope it works for you and your cat and millions of others, too.
What do you think? How do you deal with your cat allergies? Tell us in the comments below. Note: All comments on this page are moderated. If you’re selling something illegal or unsuitable for children, save yourself and me some time. Your post will be deleted, not published.