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Severe Cat Allergies

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi,

So I have no idea what forum this belongs in but here goes...

My boyfriend has very severe cat allergies. Not to the point that he gets near dying when he's around them but he starts having breathing problems within minutes of entering my house (I have 2 cats). We're getting to the point where we might really have a future together but he could never live with my cats which is a very depressing thought. So, what in the world am I supposed to do? Is there ANY way we'd ever be able to live together?

Anyone had experiences like this - either personally or with a loved one? There is NO way that I'd EVER give up my cats but I don't want to give up my boy either. Please help!

(p.s. he's pretty uncomfortable w/ needles so acupuncture is out)
post #2 of 35
Thread Starter 
I wonder if it's irony that I, a HUGE HUGE cat lover and total vigilante about people surrendering their animals (ok vigilante isn't really the right word because i don't actually do anything about it besides gripe...) had to fall in love with someone so severely allergic.
post #3 of 35
There are things you can do to control the dander, which is what people are allergic too.

Dander is what forms on a cat's fur, from her saliva, when she washes. Wiping your cats down with a damp cloth a few times a day will help control the dander.

Brushing them every day to control shedding will also help. Daily vacuuming (with a special filter in the vacuum), keeping washable covers on the furniture, so cat fur can be washed away, will also help.

Air purifiers in every room.

If they sleep with you, that is something you will probably have to train them not to do, unless you want separate bedrooms. It's great that he is willing to compromise, but even I (and I am a hard a** when it comes to anyone objecting to my cats) can see that he should not have to sleep with the cats.

He can get shots, and/or take pills also.

One more thing....make very very sure he knows NOW, that you are immovable on this, you will not give up your cats at some future date when he decides he can't adjust to it after all.
post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by miao_kitty View Post
I wonder if it's irony that I, a HUGE HUGE cat lover and total vigilante about people surrendering their animals (ok vigilante isn't really the right word because i don't actually do anything about it besides gripe...) had to fall in love with someone so severely allergic.

It is ironic! How did it happen that you started dating him in the first place, if he is so allergic? I'm not judging, just curious.

I dated a guy for awhile who was terribly allergic. We had to spend most of our time at his house, and I hated that. I want to be where my cats are. it was a "deal breaker" as the saying goes.

Now, I'd ask first. If he's allergic, there's no point in even getting started.
post #5 of 35
I was terribly allergic to cats my whole life, then Fred adopted me. I was so in love with this kitty that I put up with the allergies, and eventually I became desensitized. I still sneeze occasionally, but my allergies are mostly gone.
The previous posters have given you great advice, so i won't repeat it. Good Luck in resolving this problem.
post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 
Well, I didn't know he was allergic when we met. Then when he first came over to my house, he was sneezing but didn't seem too bad. He stayed the night and didn't complain at all and said he took an allergy pill b/c he's allergic to cats. But he was really easy-going at it and I figured maybe his allergies were manageable.

But, he's also very allergic to dust, slightly allergic to his dog, and dairy and avocados. =P When he was a baby he couldn't have milk so he only breastfed for like 2 days. And his doctor told his mom that he couldn't have stuffed animals b/c of all the dust they collect, so she started washing his stuffed animals once a week!

It is kind of a pain that I have to go over there so often (he also has a daughter and a dog so he's really tied to his home anyway)...But i guess it's kind of funny where life leads and i'm hoping that if he's really committed he'll want to compromise....
post #7 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by krazy kat2 View Post
I was terribly allergic to cats my whole life, then Fred adopted me. I was so in love with this kitty that I put up with the allergies, and eventually I became desensitized. I still sneeze occasionally, but my allergies are mostly gone.
The previous posters have given you great advice, so i won't repeat it. Good Luck in resolving this problem.
So did the above steps work for you? Did you ever get shots? Do you have to clean very often? And what is the likelyhood that he'll be able to get used to it...?
post #8 of 35
I am very allergic to cats and have owned one for over 13 years now.

this article may help:

http://www.thecatsite.com/Health/223...t-Allergy.html
post #9 of 35
I cleaned normally, used nose spray, and when it go really bad, like during regular allergy seasons, I took OTC meds. I think it took me about 6 months to get where I was not miserable around my cats without anything. Fred brought his brother to live with us, too.
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Has anyone heard of and used Allerpet?
post #11 of 35
Never heard of it.

I'm terribly allergic to cats (and lots of things). This is what we do.

I take Zyrtec every day. It works.

When I get hives, I use a prescription steroid cream - Ultravete. The generic doesn't work for me, but the brand does.

When we lived in a house, we had a HEPA filter in every room - two in the bedroom. Now that we're back in the RV, we have four of them. ( !!!!! ).

BUY A FURMINATOR. It is a special kind of comb that is truly unbelievable. Use it on your kitties as often as possible - it REALLY reduces the amount of hair (and thus dander) that they shed. But if you can't use it every day, at least brush them every day, and then wipe them down with distilled water on a paper towel or something. Or use organic cat wipes to wipe them down. All of this really helps reduce the dander.

We covered all the "fluffy" furniture with throw blankets. When we wanted to use it, we just fold them up and set them to the side. We washed and rotated them out every week. It's also REALLy convenient, because then you don't have to worry about vacuuming your furniture. Super convenient when you have guests. Just fold 'em up and put them in a closet or something - and voila, no cat hair.

Vacuum as often as possible. When you buy a house or rent an apartment or whatever, go for something without carpet. This makes a big difference, especially with the other allergies (which I also have).

You may want to make the bedroom a cat free zone. Personally, I can't imagine sleeping without my kitties - the zyrtec enables me to have Shelly and Billy basically sleep in my face without any problems.

In the Spring and Fall I use the Zyretec-D (with decongestant), because I have seasonal allergies as well.

We live in an RV (8' wide by 38' long) with seven cats.

He can do this if he wants to!
post #12 of 35
I had an allergy test and my results included dogs, cats and dust mites . I've been on Allegra-D and Flonase. Suppose to take Allegra twice per day but manage with once (the Rx is $$$ per month for me) and the nasal spray when I need it. I have two cats of my own and no problems so far.
My allergist suggested to wash the linens once a week in hot water, dust & vacuum a few times per week and wash your hands after you pet them. He is not convinced that air purifiers work if you live in a house with windows or those products that say they help reduce allergens.

Good luck with the guy!
post #13 of 35
Oh - if he has other allergies, he may also need an inhaler. I have to take both Advair and I have an inhaler for breathing emergencies. The cats have never caused one, but high pollen days do (I tested positive to allergies for every single thing they tested for - over 40 things! ).

He really may want to go see an immunologst/allergist if he hasn't.

Also, there is an allergan-reducing laundry soap. It's more expensive than others (of course), but you can google it. We also use pillow covers and put the pillow cases over those, and wash the pillow covers with the regular sheets and blankets and stuff, so have enough to rotate.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by miao_kitty View Post
Has anyone heard of and used Allerpet?
I used it on my cats way back when I first got them. My roommate's boyfriend was allergic. She said it helped. I also bathed the cats weekly.
post #15 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your advice so far! I'm totally going to send this on to him. I realize it's his job as much as my job to help reduce allergens (meaning that he has to take the initiative to take allergy meds, shots whatever...).

Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Oh - if he has other allergies, he may also need an inhaler. I have to take both Advair and I have an inhaler for breathing emergencies. The cats have never caused one, but high pollen days do (I tested positive to allergies for every single thing they tested for - over 40 things! ).

He really may want to go see an immunologst/allergist if he hasn't.

Also, there is an allergan-reducing laundry soap. It's more expensive than others (of course), but you can google it. We also use pillow covers and put the pillow cases over those, and wash the pillow covers with the regular sheets and blankets and stuff, so have enough to rotate.
Do you think that taking an allergy pill everyday helps build it up in your system? And should he try different brands like zyrtec, claritin, allegra, etc? or are they pretty much all the
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by miao_kitty View Post
I wonder if it's irony that I, a HUGE HUGE cat lover and total vigilante about people surrendering their animals (ok vigilante isn't really the right word because i don't actually do anything about it besides gripe...) had to fall in love with someone so severely allergic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by miao_kitty View Post
Do you think that taking an allergy pill everyday helps build it up in your system? And should he try different brands like zyrtec, claritin, allegra, etc? or are they
Quote:
Originally Posted by miao_kitty View Post
Has anyone heard of and used Allerpet?
I quoted your questions because they're good ones and needn't get lost in the shuffle. As for the irony, could be, but personally the first word that jumps to my own mind is "providence" which is related to fate/divine intervention and all that jazz. I dont know if you've ever seen the film Sliding Doors. That premise (one thing leads to something else and we have no way of predicting). ... Another word that comes to mind is "test" but it's helpful to remember not all tests are Mount Everest, especially when people are sending good vibes to you just like I am right now Y'know, officially, I'm allergic to cats but I sense I've built up a significant resistance because to put it simply, you really cant tell with me-- thank God. I'm not sneezing or hacking every 18 hours etc. In fact I don't hack - Just the way it should be and what I wish on your boyfriend ........ I do keep a bottle of clear Benadryl skin liquid because sometimes I'll get minor red areas on the backs of my hands, but even that isn't a daily thing (okay, okay, 3 times a week and limited to a small area so I file that under "s" for satisfied happy camper. it's a good over-the-counter product to have handy as you can imagine, so get some (smile)). .....I don't take Claritin anymore and I've never needed Zyrtec or Allerpet (never heard of Allerpet). I also have the Pledge Fabric Sweeper for pet hair but I prefer sticky back labels (pic here http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l1.../misce/ple.jpg ) to reeeally do a thorough job and make visitors wonder how in the world I don't have cat hair on my upholstery (answer: because I have weird cleaning methods that work) (However, as stated, it's a good idea to brush cats with a Furminator but I personally don't) Just an FYI about acupuncture, there's also ears-only acupuncture which I mentioned 8/21/09 http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...9&postcount=19 Kate Moss supposedly used ear acupuncture but, I know, I know , your boyfriend simply might not be open to it. Just thought I'd mention it.

Y'know when I first found out about my official allergy to cats, I was down about it for about 30 seconds but then I declared "Y'know what? This ain't nothin'! I can beat this and it's not gonna drain me." And guess what - all three points are true today! So I wish for you guys what I'VE gotten in terms of good outcomes or better.
post #17 of 35
Some people find that their allergies basically go away living with cats for some time. This has not been the case for me.

I tried Allegra, Claritin & etc. but found that only zyrtec really works for me. Others work for other people - I think it's a "personal chemistry" thing, and he should see what works for him. From a cost standpoing, zyrtec and zyrtec-D now have a generic, citirizine and citirizine-D and they are WAY less expensive - and I'm finding work just as well. The zyrtec (and generic) are available in a once-a-day pill - it works for the pet allergies (mostly). I have seasonal allergies as well, so in Spring and Fall - when pollen or molds or whatever - are bad, I REALLY need the decongestant. That one is 2x a day.

When we initially adopted cats, the doc prescribed a nasal steroid spray (Flonase), but I didn't really need it and never used it.

Some people that are not as allergic don't need the meds at all using the other "dander prevention" methods and keeping the cats out of the bedroom. Personally, I can't imagine not being snuggled up with a kitty (or two or three) at night (we often have five of them on the bed with us - and we have just a queen size bed!) - so I don't want to go without the meds. When I run out and don't get the chance to replace them, I've gone as long as 2 or 3 days without too many problems... but I definitely need the meds long term to not be miserable most of the time. To me, it's worth it, because I love them so much!
post #18 of 35
I'm thinking you should be careful with this guy. I've known people who love their cats dearly and they don't care how allergic they are they go out of their way to be around them. A friend had the breathing issue like you mentioned and she just didn't sleep with the cats (until she found some allergy pills that would allow her to do so..

If he's willing to compromise and never asks you to give up your cats then that is good. If he even suggests giving away the cats then he does not care for you. if he goes out of his way to avoid your cats and to always have you at his place then he doesn't care about your needs. Some people are really difficult and I think that is because they are just selfish.. I guess what I'm asking is whether you think he loves your cats? Does he want to help make things better? Does he want to take medicine?

One suggestion I have if you're absolutely sure he's worth it is to give your cats weekly baths and to keep them out of the bedroom. Of course they will not be pleased about this so I am only suggesting it if you're certain he's good.
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by furbum View Post
if he goes out of his way to avoid your cats and to always have you at his place then he doesn't care about your needs. Some people are really difficult and I think that is because they are just selfish.. I guess what I'm asking is whether you think he loves your cats? Does he want to help make things better? Does he want to take medicine?
These are good questions by furbum. From what you wrote earlier about his other allergies to dust, dairy, avocados, dog (slightly), perhaps a steady dose of medicines would be helpful on more fronts than just cats? I don't know, just speculating.
post #20 of 35
Just my input. I have 2 cats, and my boyfriend AND brother moved in with me, both with pretty bad allergies (like you were describing, not DYING, but uncomfortable....tearing eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, breathing trouble)

We stocked up on antihistamines and kept the place as cat hair free as possible. Within 6-9 months neither of them had to take allergy meds anymore and the cats sleep in bed with both of them!

I know lots of people who, for lack of a better term, can get used to certain cats and 'lose' the allergy to specific cats they live with. I guess the body gets used to it...... this is just my experience. But both boys never even sneeze and I am no longer vigilant about no cat hair!
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by miao_kitty View Post
Do you think that taking an allergy pill everyday helps build it up in your system? And should he try different brands like zyrtec, claritin, allegra, etc? or are they pretty much all the
I know Allegra-D is a prescription, but I would recommend that your boyfriend see an allergist/immunologist to figure out which medicine would be the best for him as some meds have different strength levels.
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynsey View Post
I would recommend that your boyfriend see an allergist/immunologist to figure out which medicine would be the best for him as some meds have different strength levels.
Also, just a reminder there are 2 ways an allergist MD can test us.

1. testing via blood draw (better/more in-depth IMHO) (I don't remember the official medical name)
2. testing via skin reaction (not as good IMHO) (again, I don't remember the official medical name)

IIRC, I think the first one requires the patient to not eat before the blood draw or something. Check with a doctor or nurse. These are the 2 ways I'm aware of. I got the first one.
post #23 of 35
Made any decisions? Just checking in.
post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by furbum View Post
....One suggestion I have if you're absolutely sure he's worth it is to give your cats weekly baths and to keep them out of the bedroom. Of course they will not be pleased about this so I am only suggesting it if you're certain he's good.
I've seen several people recommend bathing the cats weekly. I just wanted to point out that actually bathing the cats completely defeats the purpose and is counter-productive for people with allergies. The cats should be brushed daily and wiped down with distilled water.

Cats bathe and groom themselves primarily to rearrange scents. Licking themselves helps create the dander - the bit of saliva that sheds with the skin and hair - which is the problem for people with allergies. Those who are allergic are not allergic to "cat hair," they are allergic to cat dander.

Bathing the cats is counter-productive because when bathed, cats completely lick themselves all over. At least ours do. Completely defeats the purpose!

...So we brush them daily to reduce the amount of hair that sheds (shedding hair spreads dander), and we wipe them down with distilled water to "pick up" whatever dander we can. With the quick wipe down - using distilled water - the cats are not left feeling the need to clean and lick themselves - like they are when bathed.
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
I've seen several people recommend bathing the cats weekly. I just wanted to point out that actually bathing the cats completely defeats the purpose and is counter-productive for people with allergies. The cats should be brushed daily and wiped down with distilled water.

Cats bathe and groom themselves primarily to rearrange scents. Licking themselves helps create the dander - the bit of saliva that sheds with the skin and hair - which is the problem for people with allergies. Those who are allergic are not allergic to "cat hair," they are allergic to cat dander.

Bathing the cats is counter-productive because when bathed, cats completely lick themselves all over. At least ours do. Completely defeats the purpose!

...So we brush them daily to reduce the amount of hair that sheds (shedding hair spreads dander), and we wipe them down with distilled water to "pick up" whatever dander we can. With the quick wipe down - using distilled water - the cats are not left feeling the need to clean and lick themselves - like they are when bathed.

^^ I agree!
post #26 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi guys

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back on here, but work has been a nightmare lately....

Anyway...I bought the Furminator brush and have started using that on my cats as often as I remember. I'm looking into buying more air filters for other rooms, but that'll have to wait until i have some extra cash/.

I need to get a system in place where I am on a routine vaccumming/laundry schedule which I think will be kinda hard b/c I'm really busy and when I'm home I'm usually almost comatose. Also, i don't have a washer/dryer right now so I am taking things over to my bf's house to wash. But i will probably try to get some of those sheets bags and store my linens in there when they're not in use.

My boyfriend has agreed to start taking daily allergy pills -whether he comes over that day or not and would probably be interested in trying allergy tests though i haven't talked to him about that in a bit. (I've been kinda nagging him to get to the dentist b/c he had a roller-blading accident last month and kind of chipped his front teeth...plus he's been kind of a slacker on that front anyway...but he finally made an appt so I figure the allergy test thing can wait a bit so's I don;t overwhelm him.)

Mostly right now i've been just trying to get into the routine to brush/wipe down my cats and vacuum more frequently. but I will definitely keep this page book-marked and hope to refer to it in the future!

Thanks for all your advice and please feel free to post or PM me if you think of anything else!
post #27 of 35
Iove animals and all my i think your boyfriend is more important i mean geez this guy cant breathe he could die from allergies i think he id more important and if u dont think. So he needs to find another womam that loves him more than an animal
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbowbrite View Post

Iove animals and all my i think your boyfriend is more important i mean geez this guy cant breathe he could die from allergies i think he id more important and if u dont think. So he needs to find another womam that loves him more than an animal

3 yr old thread wink.gif
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbowbrite View Post

Iove animals and all my i think your boyfriend is more important i mean geez this guy cant breathe he could die from allergies i think he id more important and if u dont think. So he needs to find another womam that loves him more than an animal

You won't find many, if any, who agree with you that the "boy friend is more important" here. Pets are for LIFE. You don't dump one, just because someone comes around who is allergic. Fortunately, it sounds like the OP has found a good guy, since he appeared willing to work around the problem. I hope they are all still together making it work.

If he couldn't deal with the allergies, hopefully he did move on and find someone else. What is more important is that the kitties kept their home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by odiakkoh View Post

3 yr old thread wink.gif

That doesn't matter. The subject is as important now as it was three years ago. smile.gif
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbowbrite View Post

Iove animals and all my i think your boyfriend is more important i mean geez this guy cant breathe he could die from allergies i think he id more important and if u dont think. So he needs to find another womam that loves him more than an animal
Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post

You won't find many, if any, who agree with you that the "boy friend is more important" here. Pets are for LIFE. You don't dump one, just because someone comes around who is allergic. Fortunately, it sounds like the OP has found a good guy, since he appeared willing to work around the problem. I hope they are all still together making it work.

If he couldn't deal with the allergies, hopefully he did move on and find someone else. What is more important is that the kitties kept their home.

yeah.gif The other side to your statement, rainbowbrite, is that the boyfriend loves animals (and his girlfriend) enough to find a solution that works. That's the kind of man I'd want to marry, not one that asked me to give up my animals for him. If he doesn't think they're family, then we don't see eye-to-eye on something pivotal in my life. (And thankfully I am married to such a guy. laughing02.gif ).
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