Living with cat allergies

Don’t panic – cat allergies doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your feline friend. By making some lifestyle changes, you can go on living together in good health.

Cat allergies end far too many potential relationships. A cat lover meets the man of her dreams. But he’s allergic to her cat. A choice must be made between the two, and often the cat ends up losing his home.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Just ask Holly Tse of California. For her and her husband, Zunaid Vania, love – and persistence – conquered all, including his allergy to her cat Furball.

Zunaid’s reaction to Furball when they started dating several years ago was immediate, with the characteristic itchy eyes, wheezing and cough. Their early dates took place outside Holly’s apartment, but when the relationship turned serious, giving up Furball was not an option. The couple moved into a bright, spacious townhouse, where Zunaid attempted without a lot of success to control his allergies using various conventional methods, including air purifiers and allergy medication.

What finally worked for him was a combination of alternative modalities: specially prescribed Chinese herbs, acupuncture to strengthen his “lung qi”, and meditation (which he had used for a previous medical condition). Holly, who practices Chinese reflexology, also showed Zunaid energy meridians in his feet that were related to allergies; massaging them gave him effective relief.

Nix the allergies and keep the cat!

It takes commitment to overcome allergies to a cat, as Zunaid and Holly can attest, but with patience and persistence, it can be done.

Start with your environment. Use air purifiers. Special machines are available with HEPA filters, just for pet allergies. Designate cat-free zones, particularly your bedroom. Get a made-for-pets vacuum with a HEPA filter and steam cleaner. If possible, replace carpeting with hard surfaces. Use throws on the furniture that can be easily laundered.

Feeding your cat a quality diet that keeps his coat and skin healthy and minimizes dander and shedding can help reduce an allergic response in people.

Brush the kitty regularly to get rid of old protein-laden fur. Better yet, acclimatize her to the occasional bath.

Physicians are quick to prescribe medications that may have side effects. Either that, or they’ll just tell you to give up your cat. Some may suggest a course of immunotherapy injections. A more natural approach would be to consult with a holistic physician or naturopath, who can recommend homeopathic remedies such as allium cepa, euphrasia, natrum muriaticum and nux vomica, or herbal remedies like quercetin, borage, elder or ginseng.

Use common sense when petting your cat. Do not touch your face and eyes and wash your hands thoroughly after petting.

Switching to a low-dust litter may help both the allergy sufferer and the cat.

Using a multi-pronged holistic approach worked wonders for Zunaid. One day, he realized he was symptom-free – and he has stayed that way for three years.