For many of us, our cats are our best friends. True members of the family and the topic of many conversations, cats have a way of making their way into our hearts. Since today is International Cat Day, it’s the perfect occasion to spread more love with your fluffy friend. That sounds great, but what if you have a cat allergy? Also, can you be allergic to cats but not dogs? Take a look below at the must-know information, including how allergy testing can be vital to enjoying your fluffy friend as safely as possible.

Can you celebrate International Cat Day if you have a cat allergy?

First of all, nothing out there can keep you from celebrating International Cat Day other than a possible hatred of cats. In this case, this is most likely a holiday that doesn’t even interest you.

For the rest of us, you can celebrate this holiday even if you are one of the people who is allergic to cats. The key is to do it safely, which we’ll discuss below.

Symptoms of a cat allergy

Not sure if you have a cat allergy? Sometimes it can be difficult to tell. Cat allergies are different from dog allergies, which are different from dust allergies, etc. This is part of why allergy testing is so important. What if you assume you are allergic to cats and avoid them, only to discover that you are actually allergic to dust?

If you notice yourself reacting to cats, the most common symptoms include sneezing, coughing, watering eyes, and sneezing. The strength of it will determine how strong your allergy is! It also depends on how close you are to an actual cat, of course. But you knew that already.

How does a cat allergy work?

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding cat allergies. Many people assume that the allergen is in a cat’s fur, but this isn’t entirely correct. An allergy to cats is an allergy to the protein in their saliva, called Fel d 1. This protein can be anywhere your cat licks (such as their fur), which is why many assume that cat fur is the cause of their allergy.

Many people think sphinx cats (aka hairless cats) are hypoallergenic because they have no fur, but this isn’t accurate. If anything, hairless cats are more prone to lick their skin than furry cats because they need to keep their skin hydrated.

Cats don’t all produce a set amount of this protein, so one type of cat could produce an allergic reaction, whereas another might not.

Are cat allergies common?

You could be predisposed to a cat allergy if you have a family history of asthma, eczema, hay fever, or any other allergy (2). If you have anything like that in your family history, it’s a good idea to consider allergy testing to see if there’s anything latent sitting around that hasn’t been triggered yet! Why suffer an allergic reaction if you don’t have to, right?

How to live with a cat when you are allergic to catsCelebrating International Cat Day

So, instead of asking, “Can you be allergic to cats?” let’s change the conversation to learning how to live with a cat even if you have a cat allergy! Here are some top tips to help you out.

Groom your cat outdoors

If you have a long-haired cat, groom them outdoors. This means their saliva-containing fur will sail out into the atmosphere instead of your living room. You can also consider wearing gloves if you are worried about having another reaction.

Don’t let your cat lick your clothes or sleep in your bed

As hard as it is, you should consider not letting your cat lick you or your clothes. You also should consider not letting your cat sleep in your bed. Since this is your space to get a good night’s sleep, you’ll want to avoid contaminating it!

Vacuum regularly and clean cat bedding

Try to keep your home clean by vacuuming regularly and cleaning all cat bedding. Since cats can have sensitive skin, make sure to use a non-bio detergent so that they will continue to sleep in their bed (instead of yours!).

Medicate as needed

To ensure you can still get the most out of International Cat Day, make sure that you consider taking antihistamines as directed. However, you will want to talk to your GP first to know what is best for you to take, when, and how. All of this can happen alongside allergy testing so that you have the most accurate test results.

There is so much fun waiting for you regarding your fluffy friend. Just take the time to explore safely so that you don’t put yourself at risk of an allergic reaction! Other than that, grab your cat and start enjoying this special holiday while it lasts.