My boyfriend and I decided to adopt a cat a year and a half ago; and despite the fact that I have allergies, living with a cat has not seemed to affect them too bad.
However, the key to living with a pet while keeping your allergies at bay takes a little bit of work. For instance, cats are notorious for shedding hair. Even if you own a short haired cat, short haired cats are no different than long haired cats; they both shed. Shedding can be made worse by the fact that many homes and apartments are made with wall to wall carpeting. Not only is carpeting a nightmare for those with allergies, but when you throw pets into the mix, it can really drive you crazy.
The first step to cutting down on allergies while owning a pet comes down to grooming. As humans, every day, most of us brush our hair. By doing so, we are keeping our hair healthy and free from tangles, etc. Well, the same goes for your pet. While you may not need to brush your pet's coat every day, certainly brushing your pet's coat every couple of days to once a week will help to cut down on the amount of pet dander (the thing that is making your allergies react) in your home. Contrary to popular belief, it isn't your dog or cat's hair that is the problem. Rather, it is the dander- the stuff that is on their skin underneath their hair that is often aggravating to those who suffer from allergies. In order to cut down on this, you may want to consider giving your pet a regular bath. If your pet is finicky about bathing, make sure that you invite a friend over to help you bathe your pet or recruit the help of a spouse. If you don't want to be bothered with it at all and don't mind spending a little money, you could always take your pet to be groomed at a local pet store or by your vet.
Vacuums will become your best friend if you suffer from allergies. This is why it is so incredibly important to make sure that you take the time to really research a good vacuum. The vacuum should have a great reputation for it's power and ability to suck things up from a carpet or hard surface. Because pets shed and are more than likely going to be rolling around on your carpet, you want to make sure that whatever vacuum you decide to purchase will be up to the challenge of removing as much of the dirt, dander and other allergens from your home environment. Also, you want to make sure that the vacuum you purchase has a hepa filter. Hepa filters are special kinds of filters that specifically filter out dander and other allergens, thus making your home a cleaner place to live.
When vacuuming, make sure you time it so that you do it when you are getting ready to leave somewhere. While your vacuum may be sucking up a lot of things, keep in mind that it is also stirring up quite a bit of dust as well as whatever else is in your carpet. Therefore, it is best to wear a mask while vacuuming and then be prepared to quickly vacate the premises once the vacuum is turned off and put away.