7 Tactics for Controlling Your Cat Allergies

There's a good chance that you or someone you know starts sniffling or sneezing when there's a cat nearby. In fact, an estimated 10 million people in the United States are allergic to cat dander. But just because you're allergic doesn't mean you can't live comfortably with a cat — and it certainly doesn't mean you need to get rid of the cat you already have. As long as your cat allergy isn't too severe, there are plenty of ways to reduce the amount of allergens in your home.

Check out our photo gallery to learn how to keep cat-related sniffles to a minimum.

Tips for Controlling Your Allergy to Cats

Man getting an allergy test

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Find a Good Allergist

Working with your allergist is key to successfully living with a cat. Fill him in on the strategies you've already tried so he knows that you're committed to controlling your cat allergy. He may recommend environmental and dietary changes, medication or immunotherapy (aka allergy shots).

Kitten in a litterbox

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Move His Litterbox to Another Room

All sorts of allergy triggers can be found in your cat's litterbox, including dander, urine and dust from the litter. If your cat will let you, put his litterbox in your basement or garage — and while you're at it, ask someone who is not allergic to clean the litterbox, so you don't have to breathe in those allergens. If that's not possible, wear a mask and wash your hands after you clean it.

A contemporary bedroom

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Make Your Bedroom a Pet-Free Zone

There's no need to banish your cat from your entire home, but it's a good idea to keep her out of your bedroom — you'll breathe easier and get better sleep. If your kitty insists on hanging out in your room, try to keep her off your bed. Of course, if all else fails (or you just want to snuggle), place a washable throw on the bed for her to sleep on and put dust mite covers on your pillows and mattress.

Vacuuming a room

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Invest in HEPA Filters

Clean your carpets, rugs, floors and furniture with a vacuum that has a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. HEPA filters can trap small particles, like pet dander. If possible, ask someone in your family who's allergy-free to do the vacuuming and cleaning, so you don't have to breathe in the dander. And if you can afford it, you should also consider getting a HEPA air purifier for your home. Your nose will thank you.

Cat sitting on a cat bed

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Use Washable Pet Bedding and Throws

Try to wash your cat's bedding and blankets weekly.  If your kitty likes to snooze on your furniture, get some washable slipcovers and launder them frequently, too. No one really likes to sit on cat fur and dander anyway.

Cat getting a bath

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Bathe Your Cat Weekly

Bathe your cat once a week. No, we're not joking. We know the idea sounds crazy — impossible, even — but giving your cat a nice bath every week will help reduce his dander levels. Use a shampoo for pets that doesn't dry out his skin and hair. And yes, you can do it without getting scratched. If possible, start bathing him when he's young. Better yet, ask a nonallergic member of your family to be responsible for baths and grooming. Between baths, you can wipe your cat's coat off with a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic baby wipe — or have an allergy-free family member do it for you.

Washing hands in sink

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Wash Your Hands

It might seem like a no-brainer, but after you pet a cat, your hands are covered in allergens. Wash your hands after each petting-session. Here’s to less sneezing and more snuggling!

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