My husband is that way too. If he is around very hairy cats for more than a half hour, he sounds like an asthmatic - which he isn't. Has your sweetie tried Zyrtec? That works for some. Otherwise, you may have to choose.
Sometimes the allergy isn't to the cats themselves, but what the cat brings in from outside. Sometimes the allergy is to the cat dander, and sometimes to the hair itself. Whether the cat is an indoor/outdoor or just indoor cat, it might proove helpful if you give the cat a bath. Use a shampoo that is just for cats, or you can use a "no water" shampoo made for people in the hospital. This will remove any allergins from out of doors, dander, and clean the hair itself. Brush the cat regularly, and make sure the shed hair is off the furniture. You can achieve this by putting on a yellow rubber glove and "pet" the furniture. The hair will roll up and you can remove it easily. Not all cats hate baths, some will cry out during the bath and some just love it, expecially in the Summer when it is hot. If you have a long hair cat, give it some hairball meds before the bath and that will take care of any problems with the added hair after it dries itself. Never use a blow dryer on a cat, it hurts their ears. Many pet shops will bathe cats, too, if you don't want to do it yourself. Good luck