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Cat Unhappy With Changes

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We have a five year old female cat who is an indoor & outdoor cat. In winter she spends about 70% of her time indoors and in summer about 25% of her time indoors. She basically comes and goes as she pleases through the door with family members. She has all her meals & snacks indoors regardless of the season. She has no litter box and is happy to go outside when the need arises. She loves being outdoors but also loves sleeping inside for many hours. It is currently summer where we live.

However, we now believe that a family member has developed quite a bad allergic reaction to her prevalent indoor fur. Over the past couple of days we have tried to gently reduce the number times she is allowed indoors and started feeding her on the porch. She is not happy about this and today she managed to slip past us and ran into the bathtub and urinated. She has never done this before.

She is obviously stressed about this situation and we are as well. We have to consider the health of our family, but also do not want to upset her if it can be helped.

How do we best accustom her to start spending her time outdoors without causing such stress?

Thanks for any suggestions.
post #2 of 8
If someone is allergic, just making the cat stay outside a bit more won't do the trick at all as her fur and other physical reminders are indoors (the actual trigger is from saliva but stays on the fur). I suggest that the allergic person either take antihistamines, or whatever the MD orders, that the cat be confined to certain parts of the house (but not forced outside more... where she might just disappear altogether one day out of unhappiness), or else rehome the cat. But first diagnosing the allergy --- that it IS the cat that's the problem - would be a good idea.
post #3 of 8
I think this is very good advice. The first thing to do is to make sure the allergy is, in fact, to the cat.

I am VERY allergic to cats - have breathing problems, develop hives, eyes get red, itchy and watery, & etc. I don't know where you live, but I'm in the US and have access through my doctor to Zyrtec. IT WORKS. Several family members are also allergic to cats, and when they visit, they start taking the Zyrtec two days before they visit, and during the length of their trip - and none of us have any problems. We live with 6 indoor only cats, one of which sleeps in my face.

That said, there are a number of things you can do to help make things better around the house. Get attractive throw blankets, and cover the couch and comfy chairs with them. Wash them once a week. They're easy to remove if you have company over or if the family member with the problem wants to sit on something - then Voila! No more cat hair! (when the blanket is removed).

If she doesn't have a cat bed or beds in the house, get several of them for her. Put them where she tends to sleep. Vacuum these as well.

Vacuum your home every two days at a minimum. Vacuum curtains and blinds as well. If you're up for it, replace curtains with blinds where possible.

Brush your kitty every day - wipe her down with cat wipes first, and wipe her down with cat wipes when you're done. She won't love this at first, but she'll probably come to love being brushed (if she doesn't already) and put up with the cat wipes to get brushed.

If your family member is not willing to take medicine, and these other steps do not solve the problem, then I would consider rehoming the cat rather than locking her outside forever. Guardianship of a companion animal is for life - and if you cannot be her guardian properly - without her being miserable - it's time to consider changing guardians.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the suggestions & ideas. We will have a family discussion about all these suggestions and decide the best course of action to take so that everyone benefits.
post #5 of 8
May I also suggest bathing the cat to see if it could be that she is bringing the outdooors inside? I am allergic to everything outdoors and simply bathing our cats and keeping them inside removed that problem.
I also have to bathe my dogs more often than I would like, but they are very good about it.
post #6 of 8
I had much of the same problem when my family decided to "adopt" a local tom who had been abandoned by the people who used to live across the street (rural location). Anyways, my allergies got worse upon bringing him inside, and after investigation with allergist, it turned out to be all the uncontrolled outdoor allergens (grass, mold, fungal spores) that he was tracking in with his feet. So I was still suffering outdoor allergies- only indoor. I have subsequently developed allergies to most animals, especially cats and mice (due to lab work re: mice), and these are COMPLETELY controlled with allergy medication and a bit of extra vaccuuming.
I am sure you can find a way to keep everyone, including kitty, happy and healthy.
post #7 of 8
I've known people with allergies who found changing the cat's diet would make a great difference for them.

Feeding a lot of protein and fat, and far less carbohydrates than in the typical dry supermarket food, could make a difference. Also, some people feed only raw, but that's a bit trickier for most.

Try upping her canned intake; that's only 3-5% carbohydrate. When I switched my cats to a Catkins diet, their fur became so much softer and one cat's dry skin cleared up. Not enough fat in the diet will make them shed hair and dander much more.
post #8 of 8
I have two long-haired indoor-only cats AND am allergic to them.

For the most part, I keep them out of my bedroom so there is an allergy-free zone in the house for me (or it's less of a problem). I take my allergy stuff everyday. I vacuum constantly (even though it kicks up dust, I'd rather vacuum than not), dust, etc. Keeping them brushed really helps too, I bought the Furminator which is just wonderful. As long as I do all that, my skin doesn't get itchy and my eyes and nose are ok.

It could be that the outdoor cat is bringing pollen inside that is triggering allergic reactions. I know there's not much pollen this time of the year but it's an idea. If not pollen, then some other allergen that maybe the cat is bringing in.

If anything, I would move her to being an indoor-only cat rather than keeping her outdoors. Have the family member tested to see if it truly is a cat allergy, and then go from there. If it is a cat allergy, there are so many things that can be done. It shouldn't be necessary to find a new home for your cat.
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