Having guests over can be exciting, from the in-laws to your co-workers, to that holiday party you so love to host, yet things can suddenly get complicated when one of your guests has an allergy. If you are a busy host, you may very well have a few guests and friends who are allergic to the cat, as about 10% of the American population alone are allergic to pets.
Alas, not to worry, there are ways to make your house a more comfortable place, even for those with allergies. To be honoured as host of the year and make your guests feel at home, we are here to offer some tips and tricks to help you host a fantastic stay for guests allergic to cats.
When hosting guests with allergies everything will go much smoother by being open and having communication throughout. As guests, it can be awkward to bring up their specific needs, especially if it concerns the cleanliness of their hosts home. As a host, it is your job to make them feel comfortable and adjust to these needs as best as you can.
Do not make them feel like a chore or inconvenience if you enjoy their presence, yet make them feel bad, they might just avoid coming over again and might even feel uncomfortable in the friendship. If you truly do not have the time to clean the house enough to meet their needs, or have any concerns, be honest, let them know what you can and can’t do and adjust accordingly.
Ask them questions. Know how long they will stay, whether it’s just for a dinner or overnight, this can make all of the difference.
Know how bad their allergies are, having an idea of how they react can help you plan activities to limit exposure of your cats and home. By discussing this topic, it can be established whether a hotel may be a better option.
While your allergic guests probably are well-versed when it comes to their allergies, you can always offer any tips if you have any. For example, you can let them know that taking allergy meds ahead of time can better prevent future reactions, it is suggested to take medication 4-5 days beforehand. Whether or not they knew this, they see you making an effort and will appreciate it.
Have a Spring Clean
If you are a cat owner, you know that cat hair and dander gets everywhere. While people are not allergic to the hair itself, they are allergic to the Fel d1 they produce, which finds its way to the fur when they clean themselves, this then becomes flakes of dander that love to spread through the house and stick to soft surfaces. To keep your guests happy and allergy-free, you will want to do a deep clean of the home, in particular, their living quarters and common areas of the home.
Flooring and Walls
For any carpeted rooms, you will want to have them thoroughly steam-cleaned. If instead, you have rugs, you will want to wash these and put them away when guests are here, this will greatly reduce the allergens floating around the home.
For any hard floors, you will want to wipe them down with a wet mop or Swiffer, these tools can pick up invisible dander left behind.
Walls and solid surface will also need to be scrubbed down as dander will stick everywhere.
All of the bedding needs to be washed, especially in the guest's room. If you have new bedding or a set that has been stowed away from the cats, use that to best keep allergies down.
As for pet bedding, give these a good wash and if possible keep it in a room where guests will not frequent.
Give some loving to the furniture in the home. For this you will need a vacuum with a certified asthma and allergy friends filter, this is the only vacuum filter that will properly collect the allergens, other vacuums simply put them back into the environment. You will need to vacuum each piece of furniture and give special attention to the upholstery.
To keep allergies down in this department, cover up furniture with washable materials. That way there will be fewer allergens that collect into the furniture.
The wood furniture needs some care too, get a magnetic duster and easily collect excess dander.
If you have jackets or clothing hanging in the hallway, move these items as they have collected dander.
The same goes for the curtains, you will want to wash them or if not possible dust them. You may even consider putting up a new pair.
Wash the Cats
As much as your puss disdains bathtime, it will greatly reduce their allergens and can make a huge difference. Have someone in your home help out as cats are known to fight when it comes to baths. If this isn’t possible, or if your cat jumps away with claws out even with multiple people helping, try taking them to a professional groomer. Often, cats are on better behaviour when taken to a new place as fear inhibits them.
Another viable option is to use cleansing wipes for cats, these can wipe away some of the dander. This can be done in addition to bathing or as a replacement if your cat puts up too much of a fight.
If you have guests allergic to cats coming over regularly, bathe your cat often, it is suggested that bathing them 2-3 times a week will reduce the number of allergens by 84%, if this is too much, even a monthly bath will do wonders to your home.
Filter the Air
HEPA air filters can drastically reduce the dander and hair found throughout the home, if you don’t already own one, this filter will be a great investment as it cleans the air and traps other harmful particles such as mold spores, dust, smoke, and pollen.
Put the filter in the guest's room, and additional filters in each of the common rooms to clean the environment as well as possible. Let them run for several days prior to their arrival and keep them running through the visit.
Regularly keeping this filter on in general will keep the overall amount of dander down and can keep things cleaner for when the guests come back.
Clean the Air Ducts
Both centralized air and heating will collect dust and dander in the air ducts. Using these resources can spread the dander through the home, however, getting them professionally cleaned annually can greatly reduce dander, dust, dirt, and mold in your home.
Clean the litter
Fel d1, the allergen found in cats, is in your cat’s saliva, sebaceous glands, and urine. One way to keep these allergens down is by regularly cleaning the litter box and using a low-dust litter to better keep it in the box.
Make an Animal-Free Zone
To best address the needs of future guests, always keep an animal-free room. While allergens will likely sneak their way in, there will certainly be less and the idea of no cats can put your guests at ease.
When hosting a party keep the cats away from the common rooms, no matter how much you clean, if the critter is walking around, the allergens will be following. Go ahead and lock them in your room for a party, they are likely scared of the company anyway and would feel safer in an enclosed, familiar area.
Be sure to put their litter box, food, water, and a scratching post with the cat, all of these items are full of allergens, plus, your furry friend may get hungry.
If a guest is visiting for a longer time, try your best to separate your cat from the guest. If possible designate areas your cat can be in away from the guest. They will feel more relaxed and will be in less contact with the source of their allergy.
Before your guests arrive, purchase some allergy medication, while they may have some on hand, it is a thoughtful gesture and is extremely helpful if they did indeed forget to bring their meds. No matter how thoroughly you clean the home, dander just sticks around, so if you do have guests that are allergic to cats, they very well may need your allergy medication.
To prevent a bad allergy attack, it can be helpful to be on the lookout for signs of the allergy. Keep your eyes peeled for rashes, sneezing, wheezing, a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and congestion. Offer allergy medication if you notice any of these signs.
Furthermore, speak with them ahead of time about the severity of their allergy, while some itching can be annoying, some people could respond to cats with anaphylaxis. In these cases, it may be best to have your guest stay at a hotel to prevent this potentially life-threatening reaction.
Remember, have clear communication throughout and be honest about both your expectations. It is always better safe than sorry.