Cats are a beloved pet. They are clever, calm, and playful. Their mere presence helps homeowners control pests and they are great hunters as well.
A cat’s preference for independence is likely the biggest difference from our other favorite pet, dogs.
With all the good attributes of cats, there must be a few downsides right? I suppose having to clean a litter box is something most cat owners dread.
Another increasing problem is cat allergy.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at cat allergies and you can take part in a cat allergy quiz to learn more about this inconvenient allergy
Cat Allergies Are Increasing
Like other allergies, cat allergy is on the rise worldwide, especially in the developed world. Currently, 10 percent of the U.S. population are allergic to pets.
Researchers don’t know the exact reason allergies are increasing but a few areas of focus are:
- Overactive immune systems
- Global warming (longer, more intense pollen seasons)
- Gut health
- Antibiotic use.
In the future there might be ways to solve the allergy problem, however, in the mean time we must take steps to protect our families from allergic reactions caused by cats.
People experience allergy in so many different ways. I might feel itchy after being around cats, while you might have trouble breathing.
Below are a few symptoms of cat allergy – remember your body can react in many ways.
- Itchy skin
- Nasal congestion
- Watery eyes
- Itchy ears
- Asthma (trouble breathing)
When I’m around cats for an extended amount of time, I’ll get itchy or experience hives. Sometimes it takes several hours for the reaction to appear. Often my symptoms appear after I’ve left the presence of cats (this confused me when I was younger).
My skin reaction can take days to settle down and return to normal.
Note: Allergies often appear as children are growing, however, they can appear as in adults, even if you’ve never had allergies before.
Cat allergies have also been found to appear or vanish during/after pregnancy.
Now you’re ready to take the quiz!
Allergic To Cats Quiz
#1 You Didn’t Grow Up With A Cat
#2 Do You Currently Have A Cat
#3 What Color Is Your Cat
#4 You Feel Better Once You’re Outside
#5 Are You Allergic To Other Things As Well
#6 Do You Experience Allergic Symptoms Like Those Mentioned Above (congestion, itchy skin, eczema, hives, asthma, watery eyes, itchy mouth/ears/eyes/nose
#7 Does Anyone In Your Family Experience Allergy?
#8 Has Your Allergy Appeared After Giving Birth or While Pregnant
#9 Can You See Dust and Cat Dander In The Location You Experience Allergy
If you answered “Yes” to 1 or more of these questions, then you might have a cat allergy. Moreover, if you answered “Yes” to several of these questions there is a good chance you are allergic.
Depending on how much your symptoms affect your daily life, you could make an appointment with an allergist to be tested. The allergy test is simple and painless – read my experience getting allergy tested.
Most allergists test for a panel of allergens (so many people are allergic to multiple things). For example, I was tested for almost 100 allergens and reacted positive to most.
If you’re only allergic to one thing it will be much easier to treat!
Cat Allergy Quiz Explained
You might be curious as to why these questions were asked – let me explain.
#1 Children raised with pets are less likely to have allergy to them.
#2 If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms and have a cat, it might be the culprit.
#3 Black cats are known to produce more allergy-causing dander (in short, black cats are more allergenic).
#4 Most people experience cat allergy indoors, if you feel better outside it might be a clue.
#5 If you are allergic to other things, pollen for example, the chances of developing additional allergies are increased.
#6 Do you experience allergy symptoms when you’re around cats? This is the most obvious reason you might have allergy.
#7 There tend to be genetic factors with allergy, eczema, and asthma.
#8 Allergies can pop up during pregnancy or after giving birth – this surprised a lot of women
#9 If you have cats and have a dusty house, it could be causing allergy symptoms. Don’t forget to clean (below I’ll share a few house cleaning tips).
Do This If You Suspect You Have A Cat Allergy
Mop Instead of Sweep
Actually, a Swiffer (view on Amazon) is easier to use and works just as good. It catches and holds onto dust and dander. Sweeping is a really bad idea because it pushes dust and dander airborne.
Cat dander is one of the most lightweight allergens and it can remain suspended in air for days, yes days.
HEPA refers to the filter in the vacuum. Many vacuums don’t use a HEPA filter and truth-be-told they are worthless when it comes to helping reduce allergy symptoms.
If you think you may be allergic to cats, double check the brand and model vacuum you are using. On your next vacuum purchase make sure to invest in a HEPA vac.
I have a few favorite vacs that I reviewed.
Strong HVAC Filter
One of the most underestimated things you can do to improve the air quality in your home is to use a strong filter in your HVAC.
The most inexpensive options will not filter most allergy-causing substances (pollen, pet, mold). If you run the heater or air conditioner a lot, I’d make sure to use a filter with a high MERV rating.
These filters can really help people suffering from allergies.
Have cats and carpets? I hate to say it, but this is a terrible combination. Carpets are really comfortable, yet they catch and hold onto allergens.
Even with regular vacuuming, cat allergens will find their way deep in a carpet and the strongest vacuums won’t be able to remove them.
If you’ve ever removed an old carpet you’ll understand. Old carpets are heavy and packed with dirt and dust.
Removing carpets and opting for hard flooring is a wise decision if you suffer from allergies.
Opt For Leather/Faux Leather Furniture
Similar to carpets, fabric furniture allows allergens to bury deep within the cushions. Once allergens get into your furniture they can remain for years and cause allergy symptoms.
Leather couches are easy to clean and they prevent allergens from burrowing inside the cushion.
You might be weary of having leather or faux leather couches with cats (stratching) but if your allergies are bad enough it’s a change you should make.
Cover Your Mattress and Pillows
This is a no-brainer. It may cost 100 bucks, but covering your mattress and pillows with quality allergen-proof covers will help you sleep better and keep allergens from entering your pillows and mattresses.
Covers are mainly for dust mites but they work well to keep out other allergens as well. These covers protect your expensive mattresses and pillows and keep the allergens (that you can’t see) out.
Limit The Rooms Your Cat Can Enter
Most people have tried this option at one time or another.
If you have a cat and believe you might be allergic, limit the rooms your cat can enter. There is a caviat to this strategy: If your cat has had access to the room before its allergens will be there – they are difficult to remove.
If might take removing carpets, getting new mattresses/pillows, and a thorough cleaning to help you sleep better at night.
If you don’t clean, then keeping your cat out of a room probably won’t produce any benefit.
You think you might be allergic to cats. So you’re looking for a cat allergy quiz. I get it and I’ve been there.
Trying to uncover your allergies is challenging and tough to discern. Your best bet is to visit an allergist and request being tested.
Doing so will put your mind at ease because at least you’ll know what your allergies are (remember, the allergy test is painless and actually kinda fun).
The quiz I’ve shared is a helpful way to learn more about yourself and why you might be reacting (or not) to cats. Hopefully the quiz shares some interesting information too.
You might not have known about black cats producing more dander, or the fact the pregnant women occasionally develop new allergies.
If you’re allergic, the last thing you’ll want to do is to avoid cats. Maybe this means taking a daily anti-histamine or getting allergy immunotherapy.
Allergy immunotherapy works great but it takes a long time to work – it’s the closest thing to a cure.
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out other articles on indoor allergens, allergy shots, and helpful products!