Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
I have severe cat allergies and a cat. If you aren't willing to deal with your allergies, you should not adopt a cat. I don't mean to be harsh, but there is no such thing as an allergy-free cat. It does not exist.
Individual cats can be less allergy-triggering for individual people, but if you are allergic to cats, you're allergic to cats.
She's right, if you're allergic, you're allergic. I have two cats, and I definitely have to deal with it through meds, etc. I found Claritin to be especially drying to my mouth and sinuses, but you can get the generic version now, so that could be an inexpensive route to go. For prescriptions, Zyrtec is really good if you get hives!
I should point out that it could have been just the sheer quantity of cats. The reaction I have with my cats is purely nasal, but I moved into an apartment once where I kept waking up with hives. I couldn't figure it out until one day I mentioned it to a neighbor. She asked if I am allergic to cats, and I said I was, but that they don't usually bother me THAT much. She replied, "well, maybe it's because the person who lived there before you had sixteen cats!" I thought she was exaggerating...but no, she wasn't.
I won't get started on how inappropriate it is to have that many cats in a small apartment, or how the landlord should have torn up the carpets, blah-blah-blah. I will say that after steam cleaning all the carpets, the problem went away...go figure!
Of course, the shelter may be a lot cleaner, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Last thing...you mentioned dander, so I should warn you that all cats have dander...some have less than others, but it has been reported that cat dander can be found in all corners of the world. I keep ours under control with frequent vacuuming and having the cats bathed a few times a year. I can't handle doing it myself anymore...I hate seeing them upset, so I take them to a groomer. It runs about $35 per cat each time, but it's worth it!