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help for an allergic girlfriend

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hey all...

I'm looking at getting a cat (shorthair domestic mixbreed) from a local rescue. My girlfriend, however, is insanely allergic to cats (not sniffling or sneezing, just itchy. Kinda like poison ivy). She also wants to get a cat. She said she was going to go to an allergist to see if there was anything she could take to offset this, but I wanted to help out and thought I'd ask here to see if there was anything that I could do to help alleviate her allergies. i.e. frequent baths, etc. TIA!
post #2 of 19
Before adopting a cat, I would take her to the shelter for a few hours and see how she does there and what kind of reaction she has around them. It would be worse to adopt one and bring it home, only to have to return it. So before adopting, see what her reaction is around the cats she is interested in. As far as reducing her symptoms, there are things you can do in correlation with her allergist to help reduce her symptoms. - If you do adopt a cat, be sure do brush it daily...this helps reduce shedding and dander....and as a result, the cats will not have to groom themselves as much (people are actually allergic to something in a cat's saliva, not their fur.) So the less they are licking their fur, the less problems it will likely cause. You do not want to bathe a kitty too often, as it can dry out their skin and make it irritated, resulting in medical problems. Also, you want to vaccume and dust frequently to reduce allergens. There are high quality air filters you can buy which absorb many pollutents, allergens,etc,...those will help improve the air quality in the house and reduce her reactions. Also, air purifiers can help as well./ Talk to her doctor about Singulair and Zertic..those are great as far as allergies go- there may also be something she can do as far as allergy shots go. Many members here on TCS have a cat allergy too- many of them will wash their hands after they pet their cats, before touching their face or eyes. That might help. Also- you want to keep an allergy room in your home that your girlfriend can go into when her allergies act up. Do not allow the cat in there- it should be your girlfriends "room" when her allergies act up and she needs to get away for a breather- be sure to keep that room very tidy and clean it frequently- it is a good idea to have an air purifier in there. Good luck Her allergy doctor may be able to give her some more suggestions as well. I hope ya'll are able to adopt- you sound like you would give a needy kitty a wonderful home
post #3 of 19
When it gets dry, you might try upping the humidity. It's pretty amazing how much dust/allergen reduction you get by just humidifying the air a little. The moisture will get wicked into anything floating in the air and drag it to the ground where you can easily vaccuum it up.
post #4 of 19
I think alot of members are allergic to their furbabies...they say you can get used to them I think..Hopefully they will be along to give you some advice

Welcome to TCS by the way
post #5 of 19
I am a member that is allergic to their furbabies.I have 5 of them in my home at the moment, and wouldn't have it any other way!!!
I wash my hands after petting them, change clothes,take Claritan and also Flonase for when they get worse.If I bath the kits, I have to have the bathroom vent on and as soon as I am done,I have to jump in the shower and also wash my clothes.
I keep Benedryl and eye drops on hand at all times also.
Good luck and I would suggest trying what Nikki suggested about being around a cat at the shelter to see how bad her reaction to them is.Make sure to have some Benedryl on hand though in case she has a bad attack!!!

Also, for me.....it isn't their saliva that gets mine acting up.......it's the hair.The worst one for my allergies is Sapphire who is a long haired Dilute Calico girl.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate the help.

I had a cat when I was a small child, but was very allergic to it, but seem to have grown out of it. I can spend a lot of time in both of my grandmothers' houses with no problems - one had two cats, who were filthy and weren't taken care of (i.e. stinky house) before my grandmother went to the nursing home, and the other one has a clean, but fat white, longhaired manx (i.e. the king of dander), and I don't have problems in either house (although in grandma #1's house, my eyes will get a bit itchy).
post #7 of 19
I'm allergic to cats, although they don't cause itchiness or hives in me- they cause sniffles, stuffy head, asthma, etc instead. I take clarinex and proventil, and have found that singulair works great too. I would recommend allergy shots. My brother got those and they worked for dogs, melon, strawberries, and various other allergies he had. He would have nasal symptoms and hives.
post #8 of 19
I'm very allergic to cats, and we have 6. I get hives, runny/red/itchy eyes, nose, sneezing... any accidental scratch turns into a HUGE red welt... but with meds and dust/dander management, I don't suffer any of that (except the red welts when accidentally scratched, which, quite frankly, happens a lot because we pet, pick up, and play with the kitties all the time).

When you (or your girlfriend) get a kitty, even though it's REALLY hard, do not let kitty in the bedroom. That should be off limits. That in and of itself will really help.

I take Zyrtec-D 2x a day, and I have an albuterol inhaler for when I have a problem. I have Ultravete steroid cream for when I get hives. They're all prescription and thankfully insurance pays (mostly) for them.

We vacuum a LOT. I've hung blankets over the backs of the lounge chairs and couches - that's where the kitties seem to like to hang out the best. I fold them up when I'm using the couch or chairs (or when we have company over), and I wash them weekly. It helps cut down on the vacuuming time.

Wood floors vs. carpeted help a lot (something to think about when you move if you're already in a carpeted place).

We have an air filter of some type in every room. We vacuum the filters weekly and replace them every few months (or as needed).

Because we let the kitties in the bedroom (we lived in an RV when we first rescued cats, so there was really no way to NOT let them in the bedroom, lol!), we have a Frederick's air filter. They're really expensive but it is INCREDIBLE and really quiet (just large!)

I know there are some people that get allergy shots - those should work too, and would be easier than taking a pill once or twice a day.

We brush the kitties a lot - at least daily - with one of those grooming brushes that really gets the hair out (they were scared of brushes at first, of course, but they have ALL come to love them, and practically fight over being brushed, lol!). This really cuts down on the amount of hair (and thus dander, which is my problem) floating around here.

Ummm.... Blinds are easier than drapes. They don't catch the dust/dander. We have drapes in most of the windows though, so it's lots of vacuuming...

...and... that's all I can think of right now!
post #9 of 19
I don't get the hives either.But, I do get itchy eyes,stuffy nose, sneezing,my throat gets itchy and then if I get scratched, I also get welts.I just clean them out really well with alchol and then keep an eye on them.
When my allergies get bad, I have an Albuterol inhaler that I use.But, thankfully that only happens maybe once to twice a year.I also have a nebulizer here for when it gets REALLY bad!
post #10 of 19
I think we're both a bit allergic - Nate's asthma probably isn't helped by having a cat in the house and if he gets scratched he gets hives, and I know for sure that my previously mild asthma requires more medication to keep it under control than it did before we got a cat. I now need to use a steroid inhaler where I didn't previously.

We keep our bedroom as a cat-free zone. I feel a bit envious when I read about how other people have their cats cuddle up in bed with them, but we would both wake up wheezing more if we allowed it, so Radar sleeps in the sitting room and is perfectly happy with that.
post #11 of 19
We also have to keep ours out of the bedroom!! I wish I could snuggle with mine when Hubby is working at night.
post #12 of 19
My husband is very allergic to animals. He can't be in a petstore for more than a few minutes before he starts getting itchy, his nose starts running and his throat closes up. He needs to take allergy pills before going over to any family or friends' houses with pets. But he's adapted well to our own pets. Now the only time it bothers him is if he pets the cats and rubs his eyes before washing his hands.

I've seemed to notice that shorter haired cats bring on more allergic symptoms than longer haired, but that's a totally unscientific observation based on a few people I know.

I personally get sniffly around Pomeranians, but I'm fine around my Pekingese, which has very similar fur.
post #13 of 19
Originally Posted by crittermom View Post
We also have to keep ours out of the bedroom!! I wish I could snuggle with mine when Hubby is working at night.
I almost feel that I'm being cruel in not letting Radar sleep with us It is necessary though, for our wellbeing, and he is really not at all put out by it, however bad it makes us feel!
post #14 of 19
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
I almost feel that I'm being cruel in not letting Radar sleep with us It is necessary though, for our wellbeing, and he is really not at all put out by it, however bad it makes us feel!
I understand 100%!!! Mine don't seem to notice it or care about not being allowed in there.If I let them in there, I'd be in the ER ALOT!!
post #15 of 19
It's not really the fur that people are allergic to. It's dander which is microscopic flakes of dried saliva on cats' skin which causes allergy. I have 3 Persians. 2 of them I don't react to. The third one gives me horrible allergic reaction.
post #16 of 19
I to was told by my doctor that I was extremely allergic to cats! When he told me he looked at me as what I had to say, I said yeah and, I am more allergic to not having a cat!
A skin reaction is probably more diificult to deal with, most people build a tolerance after time. I would suggest an air purifier. There are some that specify pet dander, smoke, dust, this would be the best bet.... Humidifiers are also great during the cold season. Many people don't realize that in the winter humidity levels drop 40%, this in creases all allergin reactions and increases infection risk. A comfortable humidity level is 40-60%, they also sell humidistats.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, I don't have a de-humidity problem...I actually had to get a dehumidifier for my apartment once I closed it up, becuase the walls started sweating and cracking!

I appreciate the help guys - do you have any cheaper air purifiers that you'd reccomend?
post #18 of 19
Originally Posted by mickey85 View Post
Well, I don't have a de-humidity problem...I actually had to get a dehumidifier for my apartment once I closed it up, becuase the walls started sweating and cracking!

I appreciate the help guys - do you have any cheaper air purifiers that you'd reccomend?
I know that you can get some really nice air purifiers on E-Bay for half the cost that you would pay in store. I'd check there first.
post #19 of 19
I just saw a sign over the weekend that says "we got rid of the kids, the cat was allergic" I loved it so much, I put it above my siggy!
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