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

posted 6 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 46
Member
10635 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

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Christy42213:  If you haven’t stopped breathing due to your cat allergy, I wouldn’t classify it as extreme when you can actually live with them.

Post # 47
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3339 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island

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AB Bride:  I have stopped breathing when my immunity is gone.  There’s been times where I couldn’t sleep because I had to actively pull air into my lungs, not the passive breathing that you do without thinking.  It’s been times like that where I think I can’t possibly keep my cat because I can’t live like this, but that’s usually the last stage in my immunity being built up and I’m often fine the next day.

Why are you criticizing me anyway?  You don’t know me, and my post wasn’t to you.  It was to the OP.  I have a lot of first hand experience, and I shared some with her.  I don’t need to talk about every single allergic reaction, hive outbreak, and breathing problem I’ve ever encountered to justify myself or validate my advice.

Post # 48
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13610 posts
Honey Beekeeper

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Christy42213:  Some people build up an immunity and some people get worse with every exposure. It’s  not possible to generalize from any one person’s  experience.  Cat allergies affect more people than dog allergies and they can be more severe in terms of what kind of exposure can set them off.   People have been known to be sensitive to even the smallest quantities of cat allergen.  Even someone visiting from a home with a cat could set off  a reaction in a sensitive  person. 

As far as allergy medications, they should really be started weeks ahead, not one or two days. Shots can help some people, but not everyone. Some people have contraindications or side effects from the allergy meds and some react even while on them.

The whole thing is moot, anyway. OP’s mother would be planning to stay in a hotel regardless of the cat, but won’t chance being in a home with a cat, even for an evening, and possibly for good reason.  One way or another, that’s what OP has to come to terms with. 

 

Post # 49
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

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AB Bride: Whilst some people do have this type of reaction to a cat, it is seriously rare. OP’s mother sounds like she is blowing it way out of proportion, and I find it hard to believe that she has never visited a friend’s house who has previously had cats etc since the 1970s. My Father-In-Law is also a huge drama queen. Whilst he is allergic to various things, he blows it way out of proportion, and this has no doubt influenced my response….

If OP’s mother is to be believed, it won’t matter if she gets rid of the cat now anyway, seeing as it has previously lived inside the house… so I see no benefit to it.

The key with pet allergies is to eliminate dander, which is strongly attracted to fabrics. This is why my in-laws cover their sofas with throws which they can wash in the machine, and have wooden furniture with detachable cushions which they can wash. Honestly, if you pay attention to your flooring and your furniture, and clean and bleach regularly, you can often eliminate most of the problem over time… and as a bonus, you are much less likely to have problems with fleas and things as well.

My own mother has always made a huge song and dance about being allergic to cats. She also has severe asthma. The one time she came to my house (we live on opposite sides of the country), she was in a hurry and was thinking about other things, so when she came in and the cats jumped on her lap, she didn’t make a fuss, and she was absolutely fine… despite previously insisting that she would drop dead if she so much set foot inside the door. She didn’t even wheeze.

Now, I realise that there are some people with genuine, life threatening allergies, and I don’t intend to do them down… but for every person with an allergy, there are several drama queens who wrongly attribute their problems to cats, IMO. That’s just been my experience. It’s not to do down the people with real problems… problems which I am very symapthetic towards… but something about OP’s Mum’s story just does not add up to me… it makes me think of my own mother and my Father-In-Law…

Post # 50
Member
10635 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

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Christy42213:  I criticize because when people claim to have severe allergies but can be around the allergen people don’t believe me when I say I can’t come over.  It isn’t just a matter of taking a claritin and being ok.  The risk of my throat swelling shut isn’t worth it and people don’t seem to understand that.

Post # 51
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

More info:

“First, if it’s a tomcat, have him fixed—neutered males produce fewer allergens, according to Mark Larche, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Allergy and Immune Tolerance at McMaster University.

Other ways for people to live with cat allergies include:

  • ban the cat from the bedroom
  • remove the cat’s favorite hangouts, including wall-to-wall carpets and upholstered furniture (wood or tiled flooring and clean walls help reduce allergens)
  • select throw rugs that can be washed in hot water and wash them frequently
  • cover heating and air-conditioning vents with a dense filtering material such as cheesecloth
  • install an air cleaner
  • even though the cat will hate it, bathe him regularly (every six weeks or so)
  • recruit a non-allergic person to regularly remove dander and clean the litter box
  • …..
  • the following medications may help:
    • antihistamines (Benadryl or Claritin)
    • corticosteroids (Flonase or Nasonex)
    • over-the-counter decongestant sprays
    • cromolyn sodium (prevents the release of immune system chemicals; may reduce symptoms)
    • leukotriene modifiers (Singulair)
    • allergy shots (immunotherapy: a series of shots that “desensitize” a person to an allergen)
    • A home remedy for cat allergies is a nasal lavage. Salt water (saline) is used to rinse an allergic individual’s nasal passages, thus reducing congestion, postnasal drip, and sneezing. Several over-the-counter brands are available, or salt water can be made at home by combining 1/8 teaspoon of table salt with 8 ounces of distilled water.

      <h3>Best Air Purifiers for Cat Allergies</h3>

      High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are one of the best attacks against cat allergies. They work at reducing airborne pet allergens by forcing air through a special filter that traps pet dander (as well as pollen, dust mites, and other allergens).”

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allergy_to_cats

“Allergens are airborne and survive for months or even years by themselves, hence removing anything that can trap and hold the allergens (carpet, rugs, pillows) and cleaning regularly and thoroughly with HEPA filters and air purifier systems reduces risk. Frequent hand washing, especially after handling the cat, and washing hands prior to touching eyes, nose, or mouth, and limiting the cat’s access to certain rooms, such as the bedroom or other rooms where much time is spent, may also reduce allergic reactions.

<h3>Medications</h3>

Cat allergies can often be controlled with over the counter or prescription medications. Antihistamines and decongestants may provide allergy relief.<sup id=”cite_ref-6″ class=”reference”>[6]</sup>

<h3>Allergy shots</h3>

Some allergy sufferers find relief in immunotherapy, a periodic injection therapy designed to stimulate the body’s natural immune responses to the cat allergens.<sup id=”cite_ref-7″ class=”reference”>[7]</sup><sup id=”cite_ref-8″ class=”reference”>[8]</sup>

<h3>Synthetic epitope vaccine</h3>

The Synthetic epitope vaccine is an in-development vaccine to provide a long term vaccine for allergies.<sup id=”cite_ref-9″ class=”reference”>[9]</sup>

<h3>Cat bathing</h3>

Regularly bathing the cat may remove significant amounts of allergens from the fur.<sup id=”cite_ref-10″ class=”reference”>[10]</sup> Furthermore, regularly brushing the cat will reduce the amount of loose fur (and its attached saliva) in the air. Feeding the cat a high quality diet with plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids will help keep the coat healthy and minimize dander.<sup id=”cite_ref-11″ class=”reference”>[11]….. </sup>Female cats produce a lower level of allergens than males, and neutered males produce a lower level of allergens than unaltered males.<sup id=”cite_ref-17″ class=”reference”>[17]</sup> In 2000, researchers at the Long Island College Hospital found that cat owners with dark-colored cats were more likely to report allergy symptoms than those with light-colored cats.<sup id=”cite_ref-18″ class=”reference”>[18]</sup><sup id=”cite_ref-19″ class=”reference”>[19]</sup><sup id=”cite_ref-20″ class=”reference”>[20]</sup> A later study by the Wellington Asthma Research Group found that fur color had no effect on how much allergen a cat produced.<sup id=”cite_ref-21″ class=”reference”>[21]</sup><sup id=”cite_ref-22″ class=”reference”>[22]</sup>”

Post # 52
Member
3339 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island

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Rachel631:  Actually, bathing a cat may make things worse.  It can irritate their skin and make them produce more dander as a result.  Maybe it helps in some cases, but it’s worth mentioning that it could just make the situation worse.  I completely agree with your first post By The Way.  Sounds like the mom could be blowing this out of proportion.

Post # 54
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

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Christy42213:  I wouldn’t know. I’ve never bathed a cat in my life… and I’m the resident “crazy cat lady” LOL. Just copying and pasting. Personally, I’d much rather chuck my soft furnishings and carpets than bathe my cat.. sounds like much less hassle in the long run!

Post # 55
Member
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Stevens Estate

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CorvusCorax:  Try allerpet shampoo. My moms allergic to dogs and has 3! She uses allerpet to wash them and has no problems.

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