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Possible breeds for cat lover who has allergies?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Years ago my wife as a kid/young adult grew up with 2 cats at her parents house and never had a problem (both fixed male tabbys). She has been wanting a cat for a few years now and we went to the local shelter and were about to adopt a young guy (DSH mixbreed about 1 yr old) but after holding him for about 15 mins she noticed her eyes were getting very itchy and she felt as tho she was gonna sneeze alot.

We thought maybe it was an overwhelming issue of 20 cats in one room, so we said can we take him out of this place and see how it goes in another room for a bit, I even tried a good brushing (outside) and a wash (boy was that fun) and some stuff we bought to help reduce allergies (supposedly) sadly it didn't help and she ended up with the same red eyes and sneeze issues within about 15 mins of holding him again UGHH.

I have been hoping to find out more about other breeds that might cause less of a reaction to her allergies, can anyone here fill me in with personal experiences or info as to what breed we should look for or try?

I am willing to pay good money for this cat even, just want to find something that works for her and this eye/sneeze thing. I can see she is so sad without having a cat again, and its crazy how she grew up with 2 cats yet now has this weird reaction to even ONE cat?

Maybe it was all a fluke? I dunno but what breeds should I look into as possible choices or what options besides shots and washing cat etc can we do or go thru to make this work?

I just want her to be happy and have a cat again, so I am trying to learn and find out whatever I can that might help me present her with another option or breed choice?

Thanks for any suggestions,

post #2 of 21
All I know is Sphynx's, which are hairless, are supposed to be easy on the allergies. But not all people like Sphynx's (there are some on this board).

I've also heard Rex's, which have curly hair, may be easier on allergies.

In either case I'm not really sure, you'd need to do more research before you trust me.
post #3 of 21
Is she on allergy medications? She should talk to her doctor about one for that type of allergy. My husband grew up with a cat and he took medication. Now I bathe my cats and brush them and he takes meds. We'll see how he does. That combonation worked for a friend of ours and he's fine at thier house so were hoping! (And praying...I grew up with cats and it's heartbreaking to me to not have them.)
post #4 of 21
I have horrible allergies (itchy runny eyes, itchy skin, bumps on my skin, asthma-like reactions, etc.) with most cats, but I have absolutely no problems with my two Birman boys other than the normal "I got fur up my nose" type sneezing. They've been a real blessing to me! I've also heard that some people have less reaction to snowshoes. Good luck finding a kitty your wife can tolerate!
post #5 of 21
I second the snowshoes... I have allergies my bengal cross doesnt bug me to bad but my dlh does... Every cats dander is a little different .... i can not under any circumtance have a persian
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies so far here, one thing we recently did (waiting for results) was had her tested for cat allergies to confirm and to tell exactly WHAT allergies she has to cats. I guess there were two different things they were looking for (unless we misunderstood it).

We should have those results back within a week they said, I agree and understand how every cat and every person on this planet are different, we have considered Bengals but can't even find a breeder within an hour to go meet with to see one in person... (don't even mind paying the prices).

I wish I even just knew someone with one locally to go sit with for 15 mins to see how she reacted.

Guess we will see what the docs tests show and such (dunno alot about those tests if they say exactly what your allergic to or how severe) she would say it was pretty solid reaction wise very quickly within 15 mins or less of holding him. She can't seem to bring herself to do the shots thing (needle issues) but she might consider some sort of meds, just hate to see her have to be on them 365 days a year...

I read females, lighter haired, were a good start, that could all be bunk heck who knows, it probably is one of those find the right cat and it may work things, just weird how she had cats for years no problems yet now all this with that one kitten...and I just wanna help her find a cat that won't make her wanna scratch her eyes out...

post #7 of 21
I had several (outdoor) cats for several years when I was younger, then went through a period of time with no cats. My allergies developed over that period, and have just been getting worse since. Maybe you can try contacting Bengal breeders to see if there are any pet Bengals in your area? I know that the National Birman Fanciers have a listserv with many breeders on it, maybe something exists for Bengals? Hope you work out a solution soon!
post #8 of 21
1) There is always the medication route

2) Seeing the cat a few minutes later, brushed or not, isn't a good indicator. Once you triggered the allergies it's easier for symptoms to develop again (you aren't instantly normal as soon as you are away from the cat).

3) Many people with allergies to cats (like myself) can get used to one kitty. For instance, when I adopted Miss Kitty I was itchy and sneezy for about 2-3 weeks (and had to use a ton of Sudafed) but after that it went away because I got used to her being around. Now she can sleep on my head and it doesn't matter - but expose me to other kitties and I can't do it.

4) You will hear varied opinions as to breeds, but scientifically I don't believe it matters. However, people that are allergic to cats aren't alleric to the hair itself or to the kitty, but to the dander the kitty secretes from their tounges when they lick themselves. Therefore, a kitty with shorter hair is going to be a lot better than a long haired that has so much more groomable hair. I do well with short hair tigers cats.

5) You will need to keep up with cleaning with a kitty and allergies. Indoor kitties shed a lot - you will need to vaccum several times a week. Dander can last for many months and still have it's allergic affect. It will also help (at least at first) if you banish the kitty from the bedroom. I had to do that for the first few weeks, but after I got used to her thankfully we were able to remove that rule.

Hope this helps!

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
One GOOD thing is we are clean air freaks, I have 3 hepa air cleaners running all the time and our vacuum is also a hepa unit (dyson), and we use it often, so hopefully in those areas we will be doing ok..

I am gonna ask her about trying to find a pet Bengal to go sit with or perhaps trying a short haired female or something and trying to give it 2-3 weeks before giving up.

Sure am trying to find a way to make this work for her, thanks for all the input and ideas...

post #10 of 21
Am glad you are looking at ways to get round this. I know people who can tolerate one cat but not another, so it really does vary from cat to cat. I always thought I had allergies, and just took antihistamines on a daily basis, but last Oct I found I could go days without them - until the weather improved. That to me said it wasn't my cats that were the prob, especially as I foster and between Sept and Nov I had 3 different foster cats. Maybe I finally de-sensitised myself to them - I recently had 6 cats in the house and was fine (Although I should hoover more)
post #11 of 21
I am fostering 2 sphynx for a friend (whe is very ill, part of he living will) - and these kitties, while friendly and adorable, are not necly allery free. There is o such feline really. It is the saliva more so than the hair that causes the problem - in most intsnaces. I don't want to make a blanket statement since I do not know the entire situation you face. But there are things one can do - don;t sleep with your kitty (I;d find that impossible), meds of course, bathe the cat d more often and sphynx have to be bathed - are as much work as Persians since they pick up things on their skin and have oily skins that leaves resdue around the house. But they like to be bathed (these girls do anyway).

But shorter hair breeds - Siamese or the almost no hair like Sphynx or Peterbaldsor Devon Rex - prob do have less hair for the saliva to collect on but it will be picked up in the home so you need to wash down everything OFTEN! Grooming and keeping the cat's clean and your home extra clean and no carpets is one part. Others have provided good ideas too.
post #12 of 21
Pet allergies are entirely about tolerance. I used to be severely allergic to pet dander -- so allergic that my parents bought a Bichon Frise (one of the few dogs with fur instead of hair) at great expense. Then my best friend bought 2 black labs, and I was around them every day. After a month or so, my allergies stopped bugging me. For 12 years, I was with those dogs with no issues.
When I first started visiting my girlfriend's family, their 4 cats bugged my allergies a little bit, but by the time I got my two little PITAs I had built up a tolerance.
My brother was the same way -- first time he saw Napoleon his eyes swelled and he sneezed for a week, but his reactions are less and less severe every time he visits.
In the end, if your wife can take some sort of medication for a month or so while she adjusts to the new environmental element, she'll probably be fine in the end. Good luck!
post #13 of 21
I agree with MissKittysDaddy, the two people I know with allergies and cats (one of whom is a rescuer even!) also keep the cats out of their bedroom. That way they can get away from it sometimes.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well we found a cat today, he is a siamese mix breed 16 week old male, very short coat, spent a good 20 mins with him up near face area for wife to confirm if she would react, spent ALL DAY petting holding brushing playing with him especially on her lap and near her face....

Not a SINGLE problem or red eye or itchy nose...

Just like our previous cats this one has short hair, I think it was that one cat and or his long hair that caused the problem but this little guy has been terrific for her all day long!


here is a picture of him btw and she named him SMOKEY
post #15 of 21
Smokey is cuteness personified!!! What a cutie!! Good luck with your allergies but I do think that you will be OK if you follow most of the advice here - and kittens who get used to being bathed at a yong age never mind it too much. (Of course, the bath should be done properly, the kitten kept warm and get treats after so it is regarded as a good thing to look forward to!)
post #16 of 21
I am allergic also, but I have 5 adults and 3 baby girls in the house, I do take meds and I live with the rest of it. You can't give up everything ya Love I think I have gotten somewhat used to it, I get the stuffy nose, coughing once in awhile, but heck what's worse smoking or Cat dander That smoking is far worse, and I will try again to stop that soon
post #17 of 21
Originally Posted by FTLOSM
Well we found a cat today, he is a siamese mix breed 16 week old male, very short coat, spent a good 20 mins with him up near face area for wife to confirm if she would react, spent ALL DAY petting holding brushing playing with him especially on her lap and near her face....

Not a SINGLE problem or red eye or itchy nose...

Just like our previous cats this one has short hair, I think it was that one cat and or his long hair that caused the problem but this little guy has been terrific for her all day long!


here is a picture of him btw and she named him SMOKEY
That could be true, I have 2 long haied 2 med haired and 4 short haired, I imagne the less hair the better
post #18 of 21
My brother has had a lot of success with allergy shots- used to build up your immunity. I vacuum often and take Singulair and Clarinex and do pretty well. The filters are an excellent idea. If your wife hasn't already, you might suggest that she visit an allergy/asthma specialist to get tested for various allergans. A lot of people are suprised by what they are and aren't allergic to and just how effective different treatments can be. I don't know that any cat would really be less allergic than any other cat, since most of us who suffer allergies are allergic to cat saliva as well as dander.
post #19 of 21
You can try to go to a health food store and get recommendation to nutritional supplements that she can take, that can really help her allergy symptoms. I am currently checking out my dd's symptoms, and as soon as we know what she's allergic to, we'll start different treatments to help her without using medicine.
Alot of people will keep animals even if they are allergic; they just take medicines to help reduce their symptoms. I think going the natural way is better, but there are different options out there.
Some that I read about are:
Large doses of antioxidants, that you can easily take in the form of concentrated special juices
Fish oils rich in fatty acids (like cod-liver oil)
Stinging Nettle
Anyway, I don't know much yet, as we're in the middle of this process ourselves. Do a search on the internet, and you'll find good info...

Hope you'll find a way that works out for you guys!
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
SO far now not a single problem with Smokey the cat here

post #21 of 21
Congratulations on the new kitten! I am glad you found a cat that worked out! My husband can not be around a lot of cat hair without getting stuffy, Sphynx worked great for us! I see you live in East Lansing, I am in Grand Rapids. There are a few other Michiganders here too, welcome to the site!
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