Are Air Purifiers Worth it For Asthmatics…Even if They’re Cats?

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Asthma is a major bummer, especially if you’re a cat. If you’re owned by an asthma cat you may have asked yourself ‘are air purifiers worth it?’. Asthma affects about 1% of the general cat population and about 1 in 12 humans. Chances are, you know someone – or some cat – who is asthmatic.

There’s not a whole lot of information available specifically about the benefits of air purifiers for cats with asthma. However, it is widely acknowledged that purified air is good for the wheezy and I do know a thing or two about wheezy cats, so I’m going to mash the two together in my brain and give you the lowdown.

 

What Causes Asthma in Cats?

Asthma in cats is the same disease as asthma in humans. That is, a respiratory condition that causes spasms of the bronchi in the lungs, often connected with an allergic reaction or hypersensitivity. Basically, the air you breathe could be trying to kill you. Sounds like not much fun, huh?

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Feline asthma (and human asthma) is a chronic, long-lasting condition. While it is not something kitties are born with, asthma cats probably have a genetic tendency that causes their lungs to be shonky. Asthma attacks are provoked by triggers that differ from cat to cat and can include dust, pollen, smoke, mold spores and pet dander.

Yes, pet dander. Your asthma cat could be allergic to himself.

 

What do Air Purifiers do?

The idea of air purifying, although it seems like a new innovation, has been around for over 200 years. Think of firemen in the olden days – they used a protective mask over their face to filter out the smoke and other airborne nasties when they were fighting fires. These days, there are many different types of air purifiers that clean the air in different ways, depending on their technology.

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  • Air filters use fine sieve-like filters to remove particles from the air. The more times the air passes through the filter, the cleaner it will be. The efficacy of this method of air purifying depends largely on the quality of the filter used. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters have set the accepted benchmark for air filters, guaranteeing to remove 99.97% of airborne particles bigger than 0.3 microns. Impure Air - Are Air Purifiers Worth It?
  • UV technology doesn’t filter airborne particles but is more useful for cleaning the air of viruses, bacteria and general germs. This type of air purifying is best used with a HEPA filter to first trap particles before converting molecules of oxygen and water in the air into ozone and hydroxyl.
  • Negative ion air purifiers clean the air emitting negative ions. Ions are naturally occurring particles with either a negative or positive charge. Negative ions magnetically attract particles in the air and attach themselves, until the particle is too heavy to remain in the air and falls to a surface. This means the particles are no longer in the air, but on your stuff and they could well become airborne again.
  • Ozone air purifiers produce the gas ozone in varying amounts depending on the device. Ozone is not only harmful, the reaction it has with chemicals in indoor environments can take months or years to take effect, making them pretty useless as far as air purifiers go.

 

Do I Need an Air Purifier?

Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, chances are there’s some kind of pollution in your inside air. Even if you live in the middle of nowhere, there’s still going to be stuff in your air. Air purifiers, especially those with a HEPA filter, can remove irritating particles from the air and may help to ease the symptoms of asthma.

If you have a forced-air heating and/or cooling system in your home, consider a whole house purifying system – this is basically a super filter that is used instead of the standard filter in your furnace. While some of these can be installed DIY style, the thicker (and better) filters will need to be installed by a professional.

 

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Portable Room Air Purifiers

These are designed to clean the air in a single room in your home. The first thing to take into account when deciding to buy a portable air purifier is the size of the space you want to IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier Reviewpurify. If the room or space is too large for your chosen purifier to clean the air completely every 4-6 minutes, you might as well not bother. In this case, there may be some benefit to moving the device into a smaller space – close to where your asthma cat likes to sleep, for example –  and running it only when necessary.

You also need to consider the cost of running your air purifier and replacing the filters. Shop for an energy efficient device with affordable replacement filters that you can switch out yourself to keep costs down. As discussed earlier, there are several different methods that air purifiers use to clean your air – make sure you’re using the right technology for your situation, as the wrong method could be ineffective or even harmful.

Read more about the mother of all air purifiers here.

 

The Best Air Purifiers For Asthma Cats

Each case of asthma is different, just as every asthma cat is different. Common triggers such as dust, pollen and smoke can irritate the airways and bring about an asthma attack; an air filtration device with a HEPA filter will help to remove these microscopic particles from the air.

Air purifiers that use UV or negative ion technology often produce ozone, which is not good news for asthmatics. Ozone is handy in the environment for protecting us from UV rays, but at ground level, it can Purified Cats - Best Air Purifier Dustbe an extremely powerful and harmful lung irritant. Obviously, this is something we all want to avoid, but it is especially dangerous for those with asthma. Any air purifying device that produces ozone should be avoided like the plague.

Cat safety and general pet friendliness should also be taken into consideration when shopping for an air purifying device. It needs to be stable enough to stay standing should it come under attack from a fast moving cat (or am I the only one whose cat crashes into stationary objects?) and quiet enough that it won’t bother you or spook the kitty.

 

What’s your take on air purifying…is it worth it, or not? Has it made a difference for the asthma patients in your home? Head to the comments below and tell us your stories…

 

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32 Comments

  1. To me it sounds like a good idea to have something like that even if you don’t have asthma (or asthma cat) yourself.
    The air is absolutely filthy these days, especially in industrial areas and, providing that the device is energy efficient, I wouldn’t mind having one myself.
    Certainly sounds even more useful for asthmatic pets (and humans)
    A purifier for a PURRifier:)

    1. I’ve been thinking that it’s probably a good idea for most people, especially living in the city. I am definitely going to do some more research into this – thanks for dropping in again, Anna.

  2. I’ve been talking about getting an air purifier for years now… Although not for my cat, but the humans that are actually allergic and have asthma, ouch. I didn’t know that some produce ozone and is a problem, nor that you could get an actual filter installed in your furnace. I had been looking at the single room ones but didn’t feel it was going to help overall. Thanks to you I now have a few more options to expore. Poor kitty allergic to itself, now that’s just wrong, lol. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Maria,

      thanks for stopping in and having a read! Glad I could give you some useful information, there actually are some air purifiers that I’ve researched that seem to be worthy of your time. This depends on the size of your space, of course, but even just running it in the bedroom where your asthmatics sleep will be helpful.

  3. You are absolutely right about ozone. Its percentage in air is getting lower and lower.
    My friend has 2 cats, after reading your writing I am also worried about having her cats to get asthma and I will definitely suggest her to get an air purifier.

    1. Hi Furkan, nice to see you back here again! It’s scary, that ozone thing, isn’t it? I’ve found a few air purifiers that I will be reviewing soonish, so send your friend over here if she wants some more info. Thanks for saying hello.

  4. This has got me thinking. I live in a very industrial town and people always talk about how poor our air quality is but I’ve never worried a great deal about it and I’ve certainly never even considered the impact it might have on the animals until now. It seems like the best method long term would be to have a set up combined with the heating/cooling system, I wonder if this would be expensive for the initial outlay? I imagine it would still be the most cost effective option long term. I have some options now to consider anyway, thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Tennille,

      from the research I’ve done so far, filtering through your heating/cooling looks to be the best option and for a whole house it’d have to be cheaper than buying multiple portable units. I’m still looking into prices etc so stay tuned for more information.

  5. Hi Shirley!

    I’ve considered a home purifier before. Sure seems like a great idea. I had a cat for a couple of years and it caused me so many allergies. I eventually let the cat go because of it. Maybe I could have let the cat stay if I had found your article and found a solution to my allergies!

    Tim

    1. Hi Tim!

      That’s a bit sad, but I’m sure you found a nice, safe home for your kitty. I hope your allergies are under control now, thanks for your comment.

  6. I’ve had the mother of all air purifiers for about 10 years, now. the IQ air healthpro plus. As someone with childhood asthma AND a cat allergy (with pet cats)…AND the misfortune of living in pretty polluted cities for the last 20 years…it’s indispensable. everyone should have an air purifier. thanks for pointing out that the furkids can benefit from clean air, too!

    1. Penny, you’re back! Nice to see you again.

      I’m definitely interested in the mother of all air purifiers, funnily enough I was looking at that particular one earlier today. I’ll definitely take a closer look now that it comes so highly recommended. I also must commend you for still having kitties even though you’re allergic, that’s a super catlady effort as far as I’m concerned. I like you even more now!

  7. Wow that’s really interesting Shirley! I love air purifiers and would not have a home without one. I’m not an asthmatic but I have a strong smelling nose and it’s really important for me to have clean air.
    Interesting read about cats. Have you tried catnip? I would leave some catnip with my cat at night so she could have a more restful sleep. It seemed to work.

    1. Hi Joanne,

      another air purifier fan, great to see. I’d be interested to know which one you use, or have used…for research purposes, y’know?

      My little Sparrow is only occasionally interested in catnip, but he does seem to like curling up on my head for a restful sleep. I guess it’s a sign of affection…

  8. My wife and my youngest two kids suffer from Asthma, seasonal though. It’s interesting, we never really hear about animals having asthma. Who’d have thought.

    Thanks for the info, quite an interesting read.

    Cheers,
    Chris

    1. Chris, I know! I would never have thought had I not been owned by an asthmatic cat, but now that I think about it, it makes complete sense. I guess living with three asthmatic humans is way harder than living with one asthmatic kitty though, so I applaud you. Thanks for your comment.

  9. I have been thinking of getting an air-purifier for ages. Although we do not have asthma, it is always good to take care of our health, our lungs are important! We do get bouts of terrible air quality here when the weather is hot and there are forest fires around. Do you have any good ones to recommend? Are there different types that filter out different stuff? Thanks for sharing.

    1. Lungs are the most important, without them we’d be screwed! I guess if you’re living in a highly polluted place it’s even more important. I’m still researching a couple of different air purifiers and what they do, so stay tuned for my verdict and review. If you want some more detailed information, the Wikipedia page on air purifiers is pretty good. Nice to see you back here again, Moon.

  10. Hi Shirley,

    Wow I have been a cat owner all my life and I did not know that cat’s got asthma, and worse still that they could be allergic to themselves. Luckily we live in a fairly rural, pollution free environment, so hopefully my cat doesn’t get asthma.
    Thanks for posting.
    Adam.

  11. Great post Shirley! Air purifier really can help up on asthma cat. This is the information that many cat owners don’t know about it. Your post is very informative. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Hi Shirley, air purifier is great for anyone really, both humans and pets. They don’t of course fully compensate for the fact that you should keep your house dust free and well ventilated.

    I tend to air out the house every day, even in the middle of the winter, just few minutes will make a big difference. That’s of course if you don’t live in the middle of a busy city centre!

    My family has also gotten the habit to sleep with the window ajar, again despite the weather, as fresh air really aids for good night sleep.

    1. Hi Hanna, thanks for stopping by again…you’ve always got some great advice. I’m a big fan of fresh air, too, it’s amazing what a few minutes of letting the outside in can do. Of course Sparrow enjoys the smells, but not so much the dust and pollen…but I figure if his asthma is behaving there’s probably not much harm.

  13. I would have never imagined that my pet would be allergic to pet dander. I think this opens up a lot of possibilities for my pets to fall sick if any of them are allergic to eat other’s fur.
    Having an air purifier is really a smart option and I think we should all consider having them at home regardless of the fact that anyone’s having asthma since they might help preventing a lot of other airborne diseases.

    1. Hi Shrey,

      I think you’re right about the air purifier thing, it’s a good idea no matter what. I get a good giggle every time I think about Sparrow being allergic to himself. Thanks for reading!

  14. This was a very interesting read for me, but I did not know that cats could even have asthma. This is all new to me. I will be sure to share on my Facebook page. I have tons of friends who are cat lovers and would love to soak in this information. Good job.

  15. I grew up with cats in my childhood. I didn’t know cats do have asthma but I do notice one or two coughing for a pretty long period. I guess that must be what cat asthma looks like. Is there any alternative than investing in a air purifier? It could be bulky for some people with limited space. Any natural remedies that could help?

    1. So many natural remedies, I could go on for days. In fact, I already have. This post is kind of an overview, and as you’re reading you’ll see links to my other posts on other remedies. Thanks for saying hi, Kenny.

  16. Cats are people too, being a lifetime dog owner my dog is like one of my own children not a pet. I do believe the majority of people would purchase an air purifier for their dog or cat to help them to feel better just as much as it it was themselves or one of their children.

    1. You’re absolutely right, Jeffrey, pets are members of the family just like the humans. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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