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Allergic to my cat

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi sorry this is not related to cat health but human health.

My sister and I have a short hair cat in New York and recently I moved out of that place and adopted my own cat which is a medium hair cat. Since November (one month after the adoption), I have been getting some pretty bad allergy. My eyes started to itch really bad and so I saw a doctor and he asked me to take loratadin every day and said many cat lovers who are allergic to cats take loratadin daily and it has no side-effects. But still, I do not take it every day -- only when my eyes start to itch. And then starting in January, my throat (the uvula part) starts to itch too. I must say that the itching (throat and eyes) doesn't happen daily, maybe twice a week and usually it goes away after I take loratadin. Maybe I really should take loratadin every day.

I am wondering if anyone has the same symptoms? What else can I do? I do NOT want to disown my cat. And will the allergy develop into something serious? On one hand I try to keep my cat but then I am worried it can turn into serious health problems...
post #2 of 7
Do you have allergies to anything else? If you do, you may consider talking to your doctor about allergy shots, troublesome at first but they'll help in the long run.

The rest of the stuff is simple. Clean.

Vacuum and dust regularly.
If you have a fabric couch and let your cat up on it, consider tossing a sheet or blanket over the couch, that way you can easily toss the cover in the washer when cat hair builds up on it.
Don't let your cat camp out on your pillow no one likes a pillow full of fur, even less the people with allergies. Another option, don't let the cat in your bedroom.

Bath your cat regularly. (Maybe an allergy sufferer on here can share as to how many times a week/month they bathe their cats?)
Brush your cat.

Get a good air filter. This will help with cat dander and other air pollutants.

I hope you can figure out a good routine to help ease your allergies and keep your cat.
post #3 of 7
I think it's really going to depend on the person and the cat. Some cats I'm better with than others, and it's not always a short-hair vs long-hair thing.

Unfortunately, my allergies were bad when we first got our cats, and they got worse over time until they developed into full-blown asthma. Since then I've gotten better, but not without the help of some treatments. Hopefully that won't be the case with you. I was really surprised by it though, since at my last house we had 4 cats, but I think the difference there was that it was a bigger place (not a 1-bedroom apartment), and there was far less carpet. Carpet is a HUGE detriment to allergies. Same goes for fabric-y furniture and blankets. I can't wait to move into our new house next month. Most of the upstairs is hardwood.

Some other suggestions that you will probably find searching around... you can try getting one of those air purifiers with a HEPA filter. When I was at my worst, having regular asthma attacks, I found it at least helped me sleep at night. Regular vacuuming with a good vacuum should help a bit, although the actual vacuuming will probably make your allergies worse for that day. If you're brave, I've heard some people have found great success with bathing their kitties every couple weeks. Have fun with that one. I think we tried it twice then gave up . Another big one that people recommend is not letting your cats in the bedroom. Personally I hated doing this as our apartment was small enough as it was, but again, when I was at my worst, it at least gave me a room I could retreat to. Also, I think by not sleeping in cat dander, it gives your body a chance to recharge its immune system a bit every night. Along with that, regularly changing the sheets should help as well. You mentioned you were taking Loratadine? Are you taking the generic store-brand stuff or a brand name like Reactine or Claritin? I'm not sure how common it is, but I know someone who does terrible on some of the cheap stuff.

I guess my advice to you would be to maybe try a couple of these little things. Just keep an eye on your health. If you find it is starting to lead to breathing problems, don't chalk it up to a temporary symptom. You may be on your way to developing asthma, and believe me, you'll pick simple allergies over that any day. I really hope that I'm the exception, and that you will be one of those people whose allergies get to a certain point and then stop progressing.

If it does progress, or you want to try to stop it before it progresses, there are treatments you can get as well. Allergy shots are an option for some people. Maybe you can look into those? I don't have much experience with them, but a lot of people swear by them. The treatment I ended up getting wasn't nearly as mainstream. It was called NAET, and it has some roots in acupuncture. When I first started getting them I felt pretty dumb, as the treatments and the theory behind it is so far out there, but I can't argue with the results. I went from having almost daily asthma attacks, to having them under control with a daily preventer inhaler and antihistamines, to having to only use those meds every 3 days or so. At the moment I'm more back to daily, but that's only because pollen doesn't agree with me either. Ugh.

Anyways, best of luck. I hope you find something that works!
post #4 of 7
strange_wings and wmarcello gave you great advice already.

I'll second the vacuuming. I didn't have much of a problem until I added 4 more cats (total 8!) to my household. If I go more than 4-5 days without vacuuming, my throat gets itchy. After vacuuming, the next day I feel better.

I too have a little doubt about some of the generic claritin. It works for me but not as well as allegra (Fexofenadine). I don't get side effects from either.

I got a Furminator (comb) and it pulls tons of loose undercoat off the cats. But take a pill first...after a good brushing session my throat hurts!
post #5 of 7
The recommendations already posted in this thread are great. I have been around cats for much of my life with no allergic symptoms until I adopted a short-hair last year as a companion to my long hair. Then I guess my system decided it was overload, and I developed the hives as well as nasal symptoms. I do have asthma as well. I agree that it might be worthwhile to be tested by an allergist. I found from testing that I am allergic to other things as well as my cats. I am presently taking allergy shots, which I give to myself, as well as daily antihistamines and singulair. I replaced my carpet with hardwood and I clean and wash a lot.

Bathing them does not work for me, but I do brush them on a regular basis and wear a surgical mask when I do so. I also wear the mask when dusting and cleaning the floors. I use a hepa air filter in my bedroom at night which does seem to help. My cats have always slept with me and they still do. Good luck.
post #6 of 7
Originally Posted by Crt View Post
I agree that it might be worthwhile to be tested by an allergist. I found from testing that I am allergic to other things as well as my cats.
I agree, this is also big. The NAET treatments I took focused on food allergies at the very beginning. They weren't obvious allergies either. It wasn't like I would eat a piece of toast and break out. How they explained it is that your immune system has a certain capacity. You may be allergic to some things and not know about it, but without the cats your system wasn't at capacity, so it was able to handle it. With the cats your system becomes overloaded. Limiting certain foods may help your system focus more on dealing with the cats. Some of the biggest food offenders are dairy and wheat apparently. If you do see an allergist, maybe you can ask about some kind of blood test that would identify some of these things? I'm not sure how mainstream or accepted some of this stuff is, but I'm speaking from experience here.
post #7 of 7
sheesh... i started a reply earlier and forgot to send it....

Here my thoughts as I thought I was allergic to cats last summer, but it turned out to be the work stressing me out and making my hypersensible to anything.

What you can try - I don't know if they offer it in your country, but they do in Germany, is a desesibilization. BAsically, you get shots once a week with the allergens of your personal cat. If all goes well you will get less and less allergic to your cat (but usually your cat only). Since you didn't have a big problem with the first cat - and also now it is not in a bad state yet, I can imagine that it may work out for you. It is a bit costly tho as I heard and it takes quite a bit of time and patience, but for the sake of keeping your little baby I think it's worth giving it a shot

Ask your GP or allergy specialist for advice! Good luck!
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