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Pet allergies are a real problem for some people. In fact, 30% of Americans deal with pet allergies, and cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies. You might not be allergic to your feline friend, but with pet allergies being so common, it’s likely someone in your life has to deal with them.
So, what happens when that “Someone” is your partner?
Having someone you love sneeze and itch their watery eyes every time they’re around you isn’t exactly romantic. It can create some bumps in your relationship, especially if their allergies are severe and they’re miserable in your home.
Before you start panicking, take a breath. You should never have to choose between your partner and your cat. Thankfully, there are things you can do to ease the symptoms of pet allergies for your partner, and ways to help them along the way.
Don’t Let the Cat Get Your Tongue
One of the best things you can do before you start making any changes is to talk to your partner. It can be a difficult conversation when you love your pet but want your partner to be comfortable. But, by facing the situation head-on, you’ll be more likely to come up with effective solutions you both can live with.
If you’re nervous about bringing it up, try some of the following tips to help you prepare:
- Plan what you want to say ahead of time
- Pick a time to talk when you’re both calm
- Start the conversation with something positive
- Keep a neutral tone
- Be an active listener
It’s important that your partner feels heard and understood. Showing that you care about their well-being and empathizing with them will go a long way. When you’re willing to show that sense of concern and care, they’ll likely be more willing to compromise with you on a possible solution. Try to keep the conversation focused on one subject, even if things start to feel uncomfortable. By staying on track, you’ll work things out more efficiently.
Keep Things Clean
Whether your partner lives with you or not, you can ease their symptoms in your home by keeping things as clean as possible.
Many people think that cat allergies come from cat hair. More often than not, however, it’s cat dander that’s the real culprit. Dander is nothing more than dead skin cells that attach themselves to your cat’s hair. The skin cells fall off as your cat sheds, so anyone suffering from a dander allergy can start to experience symptoms the minute they walk into a home with a cat.
When you keep your house clean, there will be less dander in the carpet, rugs, and on furniture. You may not be able to get rid of it completely. But, things like vacuuming every day, dusting, and washing blankets, rugs, and clothes frequently can keep dander at bay and ease your partner’s allergy symptoms.
If your partner doesn’t live with you, make a point to clean your space before they come over to help them feel more comfortable. If you live together, have a regular cleaning schedule in place to minimize dander as much as possible. In addition to regular vacuuming, dusting, and washing, it’s a good idea to commit to deep-cleaning your home once a month. Pet dander can stay embedded in fibers for a long time, and sometimes basic cleaning doesn’t do the trick. Regular cleaning will show your partner you care about their health and comfort, while still allowing your cat to roam around the house.
Decide on Long-Term Solutions
Whether you live with your partner now or plan to in the future, cleaning might not always be enough to keep their cat allergies at bay.
But, more long-term solutions can help to ease their symptoms and even allow them to get close to your cat without feeling miserable.
One of the easiest ways for someone to manage allergies is with over-the-counter medications. The most common OTC medications for pet allergies are:
- Nasal corticosteroids
It’s important that your partner talks to their doctor before taking any kind of medication. All of the above options work in slightly different ways and can help when it comes to managing specific symptoms.
Reducing indoor air pollution can also help to reduce pet dander from lingering around the home. To make your air as clean and pure as possible, try some of the following:
- Change your furnace filters regularly
- Have your air ducts professionally cleaned
- Improve home ventilation
- Have your carpet professionally cleaned each year
You can also invest in an indoor air purifier. There are models specifically made for people with pets that are designed to reduce the amount of dander in the air. As a bonus, many of them also help to get rid of pet odors, too.
You don’t have to give up your feline friend just because your partner is allergic. By talking things through and making a few adjustments around the home, all three of you can live together in purr-fect harmony.
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