(Closed) I have a cat, and my mother is allergic. Suggestions?

posted 6 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 16
Member
1417 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Turf Valley

I don’t know your mother, but if you’ve never heard of this extreme allergy before, is there a chance she’s intentionally just blowing it out of proportion?  

If I had an allergy as extreme as walking to a home with a cat and having an allergy attack, I’m pretty sure my children would be aware of it… Just seems a little off to me.  Especially with how insistent she is on “me or the cat” and giving you ways to get rid of it.  That is just a sore spot for me that I’m not going to dive into.

Post # 17
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

I find it highly unlikely that she is that allergic to cats. I have friends who are so allergic to nuts that they carry around epi pens. They can have an attack and die just from someone breathing on them when they have just eaten nuts. However, it’s not as if they demand that all nuts be removed from the house when they visit… they just ask you not to eat nuts in front of them.

It strikes me that you have been more than reasonable. You know what I suggest? Just lie and tell her that you have given up the cat, and then board it and clean before she comes over. She will never know the difference. I’m normally one for telling the truth, but you can’t reason with the unreasonable. Father-In-Law used to be exactly the same with cats.. until he became so fond of the local cat that his “severe asthma” was conveniently forgotten. I don’t believe for a second that she is as allergic as she says she is, and if she is that allergic then she couldn’t come around to your house anyway, because it has already been contaminated!

If she was that allergic, she wouldn’t even be able to walk around the local neighborhood or visit a park without having an attack. I call BS.

Post # 18
Member
13612 posts
Honey Beekeeper

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CorvusCorax:  If you don’t believe your mother, speak to an allergist.  Allergy treatment and environmental control  hasn’t come far enough that it can remove all the  dander in your home and guarantee that your mother won’t have an attack.   If I had a mother with the  legitimate concerns that yours does, I would not own a cat, period.  The allergens in cat dander can be far more potent than with  dogs for many people.  

Post # 19
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

Just looked this up, and the advice is to ban the cat from bedrooms and furniture, and to replace carpets and rugs with hard floors. Carpets and rugs (and fabrics in general) incubate dander, as well as other allergens. It strikes me that your mother might actually be having issues because of the carpets in people’s houses more than anything else. I found out a few weeks ago that many common bacteria and viruses can live for up to 7 weeks in carpets (but only 24-48 hours outside). With that in mind, replacing your carpets might be a good solution for all sorts of reasons.

Otherwise, the only solution is that you will simply have to visit her, rather than the other way around.

Post # 21
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

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CorvusCorax:  “And the people who lived here before had two cats…”

Well, then she’s screwed anyway, LOL!

“she must have been around some cat at some point, residing in the next apartment or somesuch, since the 1970′s so I’m beginnning to wonder if it was the cat at all.”

Spot on.

As it happens, I am getting over the loss of a much beloved cat, who died aged just 3 of a mutated form of a very common virus… which he almost certainly caught either from our litterbox, or our carpets (long story). After he died, I researched the problems with carpets and was shocked by just how insanitary they are. Ours are being ripped out bit by bit, and hardwood flooring installed. In previous generations, people needed carpets because it was so cold, but in these days of triple glazing then I just don’t think they are necessary any more. Hard flooring is much cleaner because you can steam it or use bleach… and rugs can be hung outside for a few days to kill infection. Much better if you have kids or pets, IMO.

Post # 22
Member
18628 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Honestly, I think she is blowing it all up.  I am allergic to cats and so is my dad and we have pets.  I take Zyrtec every day and get allergy shot therapy.  I have never heard of an inhalation allergy that would cause someone to have an asthma attack and I am severly allergic to grass.

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Rachel631:  Wow that is really interesting.  I hadn’t heard that before but we have almost no carpet in our house except bedrooms because of allergies (and I’m horrible at vacuuming carpets).

Post # 23
Member
176 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

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CorvusCorax:  

That sucks your mom didn’t tell you about the allergies before.  She may have an fear of cats because of the previous incident whereas the other allergies you mentioned haven’t been a problem.  I am allergic to “everything”  like you said your mom was. That doesn’t mean my body reacts the same way for each.  Again I still think it is ridiculous that you think your mom should have to take medication because of your wanting a cat.  Medications has come a long way does not justify what you are asking. Asthma is not something to play with.  She is doing the right thing limiting her expose to a causative agent by not coming to your house. 

How about thinking about it this way.  If you had an allergy that caused and asthma attack and you could die would you purposely go to a place with that allergen? Would you be upset if your own mother cared more about the allergen than she did your health?  

Just meet your mom at a restaurant like other posters suggested.  

Post # 24
Member
176 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

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weddingmaven:  

Thank  you for this comment. I couldn’t agree more.  

Post # 25
Member
2240 posts
Buzzing bee

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rbabyrolle:  My sentiments exactly.

Speaking from personal experience, even a few hours around a cat can cause me allergic reactions and lots of pain that can last for days after the visit — even if I take allergy medicines and limit contact with the cat. 

It seems to me that you don’t really understand how bad cat allergies can be, both in severity and plain old discomfort. I don’t mean that in a mean way, mind you. I just think you’re underestimating how much trouble these kinds of allergies can cause a person, even when steps to deal with the problem have been taken.

I’m not nearly as allergic to dogs, by the way. It’s perfectly logical that keeping a clean house allows her to have a dog, but that same level of cleaning, or better, doesn’t allow her to stay in a home with a cat. That’s just how allergies work.

Post # 26
Member
176 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

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CorvusCorax:  

Wow. So lying to your mother and putting her life endanger for the cat is that important.   

 

How about next time someone says they have a food allergy call their bluff and put it in their food without telling them just to see how it goes.  I am sure they have had that allergen in their food before in all the years they have been alive. 

Post # 27
Member
2571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

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CorvusCorax:  I will be honest – at this rate, I think your mother is the one being overdramatic. I used to live with a roommate a few years ago, and I had my cat living with us (long-hair). The roommate’s mother was “deathly allergic” to the point of asthma as well. All we did when she came to visit was do a general cleaning (no professional housekeepers – we did it ourselves) and kept the cat locked up in my room with his box and food for the couple days she stayed. She was totally fine.

Post # 28
Member
234 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: Aug 30th, 2014

Definitely throw in a HEPA filter. We got a freestanding HEPA-type fan thing and noticed an immediate change in the air quality, and that was just with a filter that isn’t true HEPA. Our friend with asthma who couldn’t stay for more than an hour without coughing too much could now spend the whole evening and didn’t get anything worse than sniffles. This was when we had rabbits in our living room, with hay dust and animal dander.

Post # 29
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

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MrsSaltWaterTaffy:  I’m still fighting with DH over the carpet thing! He wants those very compact wool mat type carpets in the bedrooms, but I object to those as well… we definitely have to get rid of the carpet on the front stairs though. It’s thick pile and I’ve slipped and fallen down those stairs about four times. The thick pile is disgusting. You can vacuum it, and then go back and rub your feet over it, an all of this crud which was buried in the pile comes to the surface, so it looks like you never vacuumed at all! Add to this the stuff I found about infectious agents… ugh.

I did wonder why previous generations were so keen on carpet, but I suppose I was the first generation to grow up with double glazing. That probably explains a lot.

Post # 30
Member
2609 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI

It does seem a little over the top, she is not living with the cat. I have severe allergies to cats and break out in hives/asthma etc..even when I am taking allergy medication.

HOWEVER, I can visit the home of my SIL who has two cats. Because when I come over (and/or our other Future Sister-In-Law who is equally allergic) she cleans up a lot and often locks the cats either upstairs or downstairs for our visit. I have NO problems! I couldn’t live with a cat full time nor would probably spend the night there but just a visit to a well kept clean home of a pet owner has not been an issue for me. Now I have been to homes where they do not vacuum or clean up after the cats and it’s horrible. But I think what you proposed doing before she comes over should be more than enough for her to get by with the cat in the house or boarded somewhere.

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