(Closed) Help: cat vs. stepdaughter

posted 4 years ago in Relationships
Post # 61
1149 posts
Bumble bee

I know the general consensus is to get rid of the cat since your step-daughter’s health and wellfare is way more important. You don’t want a child to live in a home and feel miserable for the rest of her growing up life. I agree with what the bees’ are saying.

On the other hand, I know how much some pets can mean to people. Especially pets that have been with you for a long long time. It’s not that easy to part with.

Have you talked to your doctor about Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)? My brother has an extremely weak immune system to pollen, dander, dust in the air and just about everything you can think of that prevents him from breathing right. It is something you should consider if it’s worth keeping your pet.  Atleast I will say it is not pleasant for a child to have to get weekly shots for an extended period of time, but still its an option for you to weigh the risks.

Post # 62
893 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Your stepdaughter is absolutely going to feel beneath the cat, because you’re treating her as if she’s . . . beneath the cat.  

Honestly, you must have married a freaking SAINT, because if you were my wife and thought for one SECOND about keeping a cat that made MY CHILD miserable in her own home, I would wonder why I married you.  Your kid will get over losing his cat.  Your stepdaughter may never get over her new stepmom agonizing whether she’s more important than a cat.

Post # 63
253 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

Allergy shots for cat dander have an extremely high success rate. I would suggest speaking with an Allergist before you make any decisions regarding the fate of the cat. While shots are a large time and money commitment; the effects are generally long lasting. And the pain of the shots (which is minimal) is much easier to deal with than constant allergy symptoms. An Allergist might also prescribe some stronger anti-histamine meds than over the counter variety.

As several other posters have noted; skin testing and building up immunity through shots takes a while (a couple months). It would probably be worthwhile to see if a friend or family member would be willing to watch your cat until your step-daughter is healthy enough to be around him. 

Whatever you choose, I wish you good luck… I can’t imagine being in such a tough position!

Post # 64
994 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

I’m gonna eye roll at all the “take the shots!” posts. My brother is extremely allergic to animals, I promise you the shots don’t help, hypo pets don’t help, he can’t breathe around cats, dogs, horses and it is SCARY when he has an attack.

Your poor step daughter, she’s probably not sleeping well, doing well in school, or healthy at all. I know you love your cat but you know what you have to do. I know it sucks but you made the decision to blend your families for better or worse… this is a sacrifice you’re going to have to make.

The problem is your son! I saw your update that he’s devestated. Have you considered getting him a non-shedding pet to ease the transition? Maybe take him to pick out a turtle and make place in your home for it (they live FOREVER and actualy make really good pets!) 


ETA: Imagine the hypothetical conversation – “honey! i’m your new step mommy but I really want to keep my kitty cat, so you’re going to need to get needles for the next several months every week so I can do that!” — seriously? not a good way to start a healthy and loving relationship with your step daughter! 

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by  lmo013.
Post # 65
66 posts
Worker bee

OP – Imagine how sad and unwanted your stepdaughter must feel knowing that her new mom cares more about an animal than her… That is basically what you’re saying when you watch her suffer from an allergic reaction, know exactly what is causing it and how to stop it, and yet you still consider keeping the source of her pain in the house. She is your daughter now. As her mother it is your job to keep her safe and healthy, and feeling loved.

The only option here is to find a new home for your cat… Since a new home for your stepdaughter is NOT an option.

Post # 66
854 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

As a person with severe allergies, I have to say the daughter comes first. But also, please do explore getting her allergy shots so that she will eventually not suffer the allergies. They can take time for the immunity to build but they can do a rapid build and that takes only a couple of months. I understand that the shots are pretty effective for allergies that are sinus/upper respiratory or hives but less so for allergy induced asthma. I have a life threatening allergy to dogs and have been getting shots for more than a year. The shots have really helped all of my other allergies- i had NO hayfever at all this spring when the air was thick with pollen. The shots have not helped the asthma from dogs though.

Good luck!

Post # 67
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

What if the tables were reversed and it was your son, what would you do or say to your step daughter.  You have to be an adult and that means teaching your son that everyone in the family is equal and you won’t put anyone’s health under someone’s desire.  Teach your son about allergies and how it affects people, teach him empathy towards what your step daughter is going through instead of his desire to kee the cat.  I’d also make the rehiring something he’s involved with (making him part of the decision on where the cat goes) to give him closure; although hopefully it stays with close family and friends so he can visit the cat.  And then bring in a new family pet that everyone wants that doesn’t affect your step daughter.

Post # 68
1024 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

I feel like if I was in this situation, i would keep the cat in the office and turn the office into the cat room. (Assuming that doesn’t bother your step-daighter’s allergies!) I’m guessing your kitty would rather stay in his house than be turned over to a shelter even if the room is “small” (how small are we talking?)

Or if I had to I would give the kitty to a friend or a relative that I knew and trusted more than anything.

Post # 69
2919 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

julies1949:  <—- All this! My boyfriend is an emergency physician and he sees both kids and adults (especially this time of year) come in with asthma exacerbations and the first thing he will ask if there is a pet in the house, and he is amazed at how many families refuse to get rid of their pets.

For those of you that have never experienced severe allergies, trust me, you never want to.  It is absolutely horrible.  Because your body is putting up an immune response, you just feel like shit.  Your body also builds up a tolerance to the antihistamines, so you wind up changing meds a lot. Shots may or may not work (they did not work for me, but I know some people that did get some relief). I couldn’t imagine an innocent 6 year old having to put up with the physical problems on top of the psychosocial ones of coming into a new family.  That’s a lot to put on a child.

For as much as I love animals, it would be a no brainer for me.  I would rehome the cat no questions asked.

Post # 70
6839 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I understand the attachment to a pet–my dogs are my other children. And still, if my SO had a young child whose health was negatively impacted to the extent that he or she couldn’t interact normally with the family in our shared home there would be no question that I would find another home for the dogs. This child is going to be a part of your life long after the cat’s life has ended. I can’t imagine the hurt and resentment a stepchild might feel if a cat was valued more than she was. I know this isn’t easy but you’ve already tried medical solutions with no relief; at this point there really is only one answer. Best wishes.

Post # 71
725 posts
Busy bee

Can you do this way?

– rehome the cat temporarily

– check with Darling Husband and stepdaughter if she want to try allergy shot (it will benefit her too in the future, giving her chance to be in area with cats). But be very careful when discussing this to not make the cat is your first priority, but the stepdaughter is.

– if ok, stepdaughter try allergy shot.

– reintroduce cat to stepdaughter

– and so on.

Post # 72
893 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

lleello:  Don’t forget about asking the mother if she’s in the picture.  I’d be PISSED if someone started giving my child shots without my consent.

Post # 73
49 posts

Oh man

That said, of course your new stepdaughter is pretty important. 

I haven’t read all 5 pages of posts, but someone must have suggested allergy shots by now? I would try those first. 

I’ll also say this: When my fiance and I moved in together (long before we were engaged) I had a cat, but didn’t bring her with us. We left her with my parents, because he’s allergic (chronic asthma and eczema to start with — plus add the histamines from cats – he’d be a snotty itchy red mess anytime we were at my parents place with my kitty).

Fast forward to moving in, and there was an abandoned cat outside our apartment building. I was getting ready to bring him to the SPCA, but Dear Fiance couldn’t bear the thought. He took in the cat and suffered the allergies anyway. Since then we have taken in another adopted abandoned cat as well. His day to day allergies have REALLLYYY calmed down. He’ll still get a bit of hives if he holds the cats while he isn’t wearing a shirt, or if their nails get him at all. But he can pet them and hold them. He rubs his eyes too much without first washing his hands, so his eyes are often red at bedtime (I always nag him to wash his hands, to save himself that suffering!). 

My (longwinded) point being: cats are FAMILY. but family is family. Is there anyway to just keep trying to get her a bit more used to the cat? Maybe training the cat to stay off furniture (LOL a huge pain and nearly impossible, but it can work).

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by  futuremrssss.
Post # 74
11577 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

Julies and sunnierdays made a great point because what many people don’t realize is that exposing a person to the allergan for long periods of time can lead to allergy induced asthma, which they then have for life. 

When someone is allergic to a pet, it’s a truly horrible situation — but kids come first.

**Allergy shots do not work for asthma.**

Find a good home for your kitty and go visit often.

Post # 75
2018 posts
Buzzing bee

I’ve already commented, but checked back to see other’s updates. Still in disbelief that people are suggesting to see if the daughter grows out of it. If you don’t have allergies- you must not understand. There is literally something that is poison to your child in your home, and the response is like “well, maybe shell grow out of it. maybe she’ll get used to it”. A big part of allergic reactions can be anxiety, as well.  Your throat may swell, eyes swell shut, it burns and is really difficult to breathe. If it’s a severe reaction, its not like “oh, she’ll sneeze a few times and be good to go”. 

There is nothing more terrifying that I’ve ever experienced than a severe allergic reaction. If my new step-mom made me live in the same house as an animal that created such a traumatic experience for me, it would make it incredibly difficult to bond and build a relationship, feel loved, or have trust. 

Not to beat the subject to death (i have a dog and understand how attached you become), but I just don’t think people are understanding how genuinly terrifying and horrific the experience can be. The cat needs to go. Look into taking your daughter to an allergist- NOT so that she can live with the cat anytime soon, but so that both of you can have better understanding and awareness of her allergies. If she grows out of them, or is able to use treatment to overcome her allergies, that is great. But I think the goal of treatment needs to be to make her healthier, not “get these shots so the cat can move back in”. 

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