How Cat Owners Can Prepare for a House Guest with Mild Cat Allergies
Cat allergies are more common than dog allergies.
There's plenty to do to prepare your home for guests. As you're worrying about choosing the perfect menu and getting your kids to clean up the toy explosion in their playroom, you may also be fretting about hosting a guest with a mild cat allergy. Your cats are a part of the family, but you certainly don't want your visitor spending the whole trip sneezing and feeling miserable.
Unfortunately, cat allergies are more common than dog allergies, says Sarah Wooten, DVM. Dr. Wooten also notes that there's no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat (even hairless cats can trigger allergies) despite any marketing you see that tries to tell you otherwise. That's because humans aren't actually allergic to cat hair, but rather to a protein found in cat saliva called Fel d 1, Dr. Wooten says. Cats easily spread their saliva on fur and skin, which is why allergies can quickly flare up.
Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your home (and your favorite feline!) for a visit from a guest with allergies:
Keep Your Guest Bedroom a Cat-Free Zone
If possible, keep your cat out of the room where your guest will be sleeping for a few weeks leading up to their arrival. This cuts down on potential allergens that may lurk in the room and disrupt their ability to sleep.
Invest in a HEPA Air Filter or Air Purifier
Dr. Wooten recommends investing in a HEPA (which stands for high efficiency particulate air) filter or air purifier. HEPA air purifiers and filters can remove allergens from the air in your home, which may ease symptoms for allergy sufferers who are spending time there.
Wipe Your Pet Down with Unscented Baby Wipes
Though they may not especially enjoy it, Dr. Wooten says wiping your cat down with unscented baby wipes can reduce loose hair and dander, making it easier for your guest to be near your pet without major allergy issues.
Give Your Home a Thorough Cleaning
Cleaning is inevitably a part of your pre-company routine, but you can make your scrubdown more effective by using a vacuum that also contains a HEPA filter. This will trap allergy-inducing particles and help to keep your guest comfortable. You should sweep, mop, and vacuum rugs and furniture frequently, particularly in the days leading up to your guest's arrival, in order to remove dander from the spaces where they'll spend time.
Choose Your Cat's Food Wisely
If you're really looking to cut down on your cat's allergy-inducing effects, Dr. Wooten suggests trying Purina's LiveClear cat food. It's marketed to bind the Fel d 1 protein that's made in cat saliva in order to reduce the impact of cat allergies in humans.
While you can't completely eliminate your favorite feline's sneeze-inducing tendencies, these steps can certainly help to curb allergies in order to make your visitor's stay more comfortable and enjoyable.