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New member, with question(s).

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
G'day all,

My name is Anna and I found this forum while doing some research on cats (obviously, otherwise I'm in quite the wrong place ). You see, my husband and I are in quite a state...we need a pet! But there are several problems. The first is that my husband is allergic to cats (classic hay fever symptoms, although not severe), and the second is that our apartment complex doesn't allow dogs. So we are cautiously embarking on a plan to manage his allergies so that we can adopt a cat.

I've done all the research on antihistamines, HEPA air filters and the like, and I think the situation is do-able. What I need to know is: do any of you have allergies to your cats and how do you handle them in practice? And subsoquently: What medications do you find effective? Can you touch/cuddle/sleep with your cat without ill effect? How often do you clean? We live in an about 700 sq. ft. apartment and are relatively neat. Is there a particular breed of cat that you have less of a reaction to? How often do you bathe your cat? Do the 'all-natural-not-dangerous-for-your-cat-in-any-way dander wipes' that I've seen advertized on certain sites really work?

I think I'll stem the tide there, but I'd really love to hear all the input ya'll have. We definately need help!

--A
post #2 of 24

Hi and welcome to the site! I hope you find it enjoyable while getting some kitty info.

I'm not allergic to cats but my boyfriend and his entire family and they LOVE cats. Me and my boyfriend also have a cat, His name is Russell. Anyway....

About those allergies...they get hayfever and their noses start to run. They do take antihistamines on their bad days. However they do play/cuddle/hold..etc cats. Russell and I were with my boyfriend's parents for about 6 months, (it was them who decided to let me pick a cat from a farm), and he's a shorthair cat. Less worry about the fur and they sneezed a bit but couldn't help but pick him up or play with him.

It's best to pick a kitty which you're less likely to have an allergic reaction to if you really don't want allergies. My boyfriend's sister has a Devon Rex which has extremely short fur and the fur is hair-like. That's the only cat I've ever seen my boyfriend's family being able to interact with and not be bothered at all. With Russell, there was the only occasional sneeze if that.

There are other breeds like the Cornish Rex and Sphynx, ("the cat with no fur").

I bathe Russell when I start to notice a smell. You don't really need to bathe a cat as often as you would a dog. If you let you cat outdoors, you may have to bathe him more regularly if it gets covered in dirt and what not. Though after each bath, make sure your cat is warm, the last thing you want is your cat getting ill from being cold.

I do let Russell sleep with me. I've trained him to sleep at the foot of the bed and that he is not allowed to come up to the head of the bed unless he is invited or there is an emergency. I used one of his blankets and placed it at the foot of the bed and started when he was a kitten. Everytime he was on the bed, I put him on his blanket. If he wandered off I'd put him on the floor with a 'no!'If he stayed on his blanket he was allowed to stay on the bed and I'd praise him or play with him with his favourite toy. And with time he got the idea.
post #3 of 24

Oh, and about medications for allergies. I'm not a big fan of using medication to treat allergies unless they are severe. They only let the immune system stay at its current level and not adapt to new conditions. I just think that if you must use medication, use it on the really bad days, otherwise owning a healthy cat may turn out to be an extremely expensive excercise.
post #4 of 24
Welcome to the site Anna! A new kitty will bring a joy to your lives like no other.

About allergies, I have them. What I have found all my life is that whatever pet I live with constantly, I grow an immunity to that particular animal. This is holding true with my two kitties now. Also, I have heard (and found truth in it) that kittens aren't as allergy inducing as adult cats, so as they develop and get more dander your allergies develop that immunity. That doesn't mean that there will never be sneezing, but it won't be as severe as with other cats.

As for bathing, I actually don't bathe mine, but I know there are people here with severe allergies (or S/O's with severe allergies) that do it about every couple weeks. As long as you get kitty used to it at a young age, and make it as pleasant as possble, they should at least tolerate it.

With meds, Zytec is a wonderful thing if necessary. I rarely have problems with my kitties that are severe enough to want/need meds, and I pet, cuddle, sleep with them every day and night.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the helpful replies! He has lived in close proximity with a cat before with only occasional allergic reactions, but that situation involved no sleeping with or touching of the cat in question (my parents' 22-pound lovebug of a tomcat). That, I think is going to be the key. Thanks for the allergy drug recomendations, we couldn't decide between Allegra and Zyrtec. How do you find the drowsiness side effect is with Zyrtec? He has taken Benadryl in the past, which does completely knock out the symptoms, but also completely knocks him out, which is simply not a possible solution for daily use. The upshot is that we're going to need to try this out and see, I think. With luck we'll be able to bring our new kitty home in the next 2 weeks.

--A
post #6 of 24
When I used Zyrtec, there was no sleepiness at all. It was the best allergy med I have every used. I have used Allegra, and it is good also. Claratin is good, too. I would say just ask the Dr. about it, try one and if it doesn't work at least you have a few more options.

One thing, too, it will take about a month or so of being around kitty to build up any kind of immunity. If he's lucky, he'll be like me and build up a strong immunity to the kitty he is always around. Some do and some don't, but if his allergies aren't too bad to begin with I think he has a better shot at it.
post #7 of 24
Anna.....

My daughter, has many many allergies, she is 19. When she was 10 or 11 we did accupunture, yes it cost more, and at times she was fussy but in the long run she didnt have to take medication, and she could live life more naturaly. The stretches between treatments have grown farther and farther apart. In 3 panels she was allergic to 32 elements, or househild things. we have upwards of 20 cats, with no awful reactions to her.
Cats.....Bengals, Rexes and Spinx.

Patty:
post #8 of 24
Hi Anna! My fiancee and sister are both terribly allergic to cats, and we have two in the house now, and four outside.

Both can cope easily, however, because both take shots for their allergies. They began taking them at once a week, and now take them only about once a month. They are pretty inexpensive, and have worked wonders: both Matt and Emmie are around our kitties all of the time.

The allergist told us we had to get rid of our long-haired persian if we wanted Emily to feel better, but instead we just shut the door to her room so that no cats can come in. When you sleep, you are in one place for a long time, and just suck in that pet dander. Emily has a hepa filter in her room, and we have a hepa vacuum. She used to have shading under her eyes and couldn't breathe, and my fiancee has asthma. But, they're okay!

These might be some options to look into. Filters are good even if you don't have allergies! The cost may seem substantial at first, but the worth of having a kitty to love in your home is priceless.

P.S. Short-haired might also be the way to go- Emily has a lot less trouble since we lost our persian and gained two short hairs, even though there are more now!
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
We're planning to get two HEPA filters (basically 2 rooms in the apartment, living room and bedroom) and a vaccum. I am hesitant to keep the cat out of the bedroom since we are only planning on getting one, and a kitten at that, although that seems to be the most common piece of advice floating around. I am hoping that with medication and the filters we'll be okay since his allergies in the past have proven to be (mostly) related to actually touching the cat rather than being in close proximity. We're looking forward to getting our cat.

--A
post #10 of 24
Welcome

good luck w/ the allergies!
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Lhezzza
Welcome

good luck w/ the allergies!
Thanks! We're excited.

--A
post #12 of 24

Good luck with the new kitty and allergies!
I also live in a two room apartment. It's not much of a worry for Russell even though he's lived in larger places.
Don't worry too much about a kitten....they're extremely cute and win over hearts really really fast...and you can train it so it does whatever you want to do without too much hassle. ^_^
post #13 of 24
Anna:

My daughter has allergies too. We find that if she is careful to wash her hands after handling the cats, it helps. I also agree with Heidi. One tends to develop an immunity to one's own pets. Good luck with the new kitty and hope to see you posting often!
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Deb25
My daughter has allergies too. We find that if she is careful to wash her hands after handling the cats, it helps. I also agree with Heidi. One tends to develop an immunity to one's own pets. Good luck with the new kitty and hope to see you posting often!
Good idea, with the hand washing. Count down to kitty started today with breaking down and storing a bunch of boxes (we recently moved) and cleaning up of general clutter around the apartment. Coming soon: the mastering the computer cord dilemma.

Another thing I'm curious about is stuff like this: http://www.ferretstore.com/12oztomnovpe1.html Anyone tried it? There are also wipes on another site that I can't find at the moment.

--A
post #15 of 24
Just wondering how it's going with the new family member?
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by DragonLady
Just wondering how it's going with the new family member?
We have not gotten our kitten yet for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I am just beginning to get over a yucky middle ear infection and the fact that my husband just got a face-to-face interview for a job in the Boston area and we are looking at packing up and moving cross-country in the next month. That just isn't the environment to adopt a kitten into (although we would love to have a feline friend to help!), and we are looking to adopt as soon as things calm down again. Sometimes, that's the breaks.

--A
post #17 of 24
I hope the move is smooth and easy! After you have settled in you can check with the SPCA or Animal Control to get your new family member! Best of luck!
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by DragonLady
I hope the move is smooth and easy! After you have settled in you can check with the SPCA or Animal Control to get your new family member! Best of luck!
I will, and thanks! It's rather funny, I moved from New York to California in 1995, and here I am 7 years later (hopefully) moving *back* the other way. I'll definately keep the forums posted.

--A
post #19 of 24
Hi Anna: my allergies are probably worse than your husband's. I just got a cat, a traditional siamese from the local animal rescue.

In my research, the least allergic cat appeared to be a devon rex. They are rare, and probably pricey. Also, they apparently don't mind being bathed. Unfortunately Gracie does. My vet introduced me to Allerpet, which you rub on the cat once a week.

My allergist prepared sublingual cat drops. Also decongestants without antihistamine are better for ongoing problems, should your husband need some extra help. Some of the homeopathic products might be helpful and less toxic than prescriptions.

I air out my house every day: my front door and doorwall are directly across. I changed my flooring to laminate, as carpet tends to hold the cat allergens and frequent vacuuming just stirs it up.

The best air cleaner I found is the Austin Healthmate.

I brush Gracie every day. I also had a problem with the dust in cat litter, so I netted my porch and put the litter out on the deck. I'm on the second floor.

Good luck. Judy
post #20 of 24
I was allergic to cats when Fred and his brother decided they wanted to live with me. I sneezed and sniffled for awhile, but after a month or so, it subsided. I still sneeze occasionally when brushing them, but I am pretty much allergy free. All of my babies are short haired. Good luck on your move!
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by gold2k
Lots and Lots of good advice!
Thank you so much for all your good advice! Allerpet I've seen before and was curious about. Does Gracie seem to have any ill effects? Is it something you spray on him/her or is it more of a bathing solution?

Since we live in an apartment we really don't have a choice on changing the floorcovering to not-carpet (although I'd love to), so we're hoping that zyrtec and air purifiers will do the trick.

--A
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by krazy kat2
I was allergic to cats when Fred and his brother decided they wanted to live with me. I sneezed and sniffled for awhile, but after a month or so, it subsided. I still sneeze occasionally when brushing them, but I am pretty much allergy free. All of my babies are short haired. Good luck on your move!
My husband is the sneeze/sniffle/runny eyes constantly type. I'm hoping that exposure and time will cure most of his ills and if not we've always got zyrtec. Thanks! We are very excited, but since it's only an interview we're trying to keep things calm and relaxed (it's not working very well though .)

--A
post #23 of 24
Anne: allerpet is a solution that you apply to a washcloth and then kinda massage the cat all over. I got it from Gracie's vet. It's nice because the cat doesn't get wet.

Ilive in an apt. also, but I've been a long time tenant so talked my landlord into letting me put in a laminate floor.
Judy
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Nice! Will definately have to check that out, thanks for the recomendation.

--A
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