Need help with cat allergy :( - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-16-2009, 05:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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(Cross-posted in allergies.)

So I've always been allergic to cats, but nothing major. A little congestion with other people's cats, and I've quickly adjusted to my own pets.

We adopted a cat a few days ago. He is 6 months old, a really sweetie that my children are totally in love with. But I am having a horrible time with my allergies. My nasal passages are literally swollen shut. There isn't even a lot of mucous when I blow my nose; it's just like air is totally cut off. I'm waking up all night long feeling like I'm being choked. It's very scary. And I already don't get a lot of sleep with my kids, so I'm beyond exhausted.

I take quercetin/bromelein on a daily basis. Am using a homeopathic nasal spray. And I've resorted to benedryl, but it's not helping.

I really don't want to give back the cat. It would break my kids' heart, and I'm growing attached too. There's got to be some cat owners on here who've come across this problem. Is there something else I can do to help? Will my body adjust to the cat's dander (I'm assuming that's what's causing this.) I can't take the choking. Please help! Thanks.

Suz, mommy to 2 chess-playing, lightsaber-wielding boys

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Old 09-16-2009, 10:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bygones75 View Post
(Cross-posted in allergies.)

So I've always been allergic to cats, but nothing major. A little congestion with other people's cats, and I've quickly adjusted to my own pets.

We adopted a cat a few days ago. He is 6 months old, a really sweetie that my children are totally in love with. But I am having a horrible time with my allergies. My nasal passages are literally swollen shut. There isn't even a lot of mucous when I blow my nose; it's just like air is totally cut off. I'm waking up all night long feeling like I'm being choked. It's very scary. And I already don't get a lot of sleep with my kids, so I'm beyond exhausted.

I take quercetin/bromelein on a daily basis. Am using a homeopathic nasal spray. And I've resorted to benedryl, but it's not helping.

I really don't want to give back the cat. It would break my kids' heart, and I'm growing attached too. There's got to be some cat owners on here who've come across this problem. Is there something else I can do to help? Will my body adjust to the cat's dander (I'm assuming that's what's causing this.) I can't take the choking. Please help! Thanks.
Are you sure you don't have asthma? That's what I'm thinking about when I read.

I have to tell you honestly that if it were me, the cat is only been there a few days, I would return it. For allergic reactions that severe it really can throw your whole physiology out of sorts.

Have you had cats before? It may also be the saliva. There are certain proteins that cats produce that can cause an allergic reaction in people. This particular cat *may* produce more of those proteins (if you've already had cats). Alternately, being allergic and living with cats is totally different than visiting someone with cats.

I have a good friend who is allergic to cats, she starts sniffling a few minutes after being in our home. However, she takes allergy meds now before coming in, and doesn't have issues. Her brother had similar allergies, however ultimately got a cat and used allergy meds and shots. After the shots he's now able to tolerate the cat without medication.

As for reducing allergans, here are some suggestions:

1. If it is a dander issue (for most people it is saliva actually) but weekly bathing can help.
2. Eliminate carpets for tile/wood floors.
3. If you cannot eliminate carpets, daily vacuuming with a high performance vacuum with hepa filtration.
4. Keep cats out of the bedrooms.
5. Use cat bed in an effort to reduce his use of furniture.
6. Whole house filtration
5. All children/adults wash hands thoroughly after handling cats.

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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Old 09-16-2009, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the helpful suggestions!

Yes, we have another cat. He doesn't bother me much at all. It doesn't make sense, but what you said about certain cats producing more protein in their saliva could be the ticket. I hope that's not the case though. I'll try bathing him today.

We live in a tiny cottage... keeping him out of the bedrooms will be hard (he cries!) but I'll try. You're right; I should probably give him back. It's just sad. My oldest boy has some emotional problems and he's been so happy cuddling this cat. Part of me just wants to suck it up so he won't be hurt.

What is whole house filtration? Like an air system?

We do have throw rugs. I know my husband won't go for getting rid of them, but we really do need a new vacuum, so I'll try that too.

Thanks again for your kind help.

Suz, mommy to 2 chess-playing, lightsaber-wielding boys

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Old 09-16-2009, 11:04 AM
 
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Well, some cats don't produce ANY of the allergic protein at all. It's a matter of their own personal genetics basically.

Did he come to you with any medication or anything on him for fleas/what not?
That's the other thing I'd consider then. If they used a topical flea treatment you could be sensitive to that too!

I definitely think if you're willing to give it a try, then try a few things first. I'd be keeping in mind as of right now that he's still a kitten and is nearing the end of that 'cute adoptable kitten phase'. So if you do determine it can't be helped then it's best that he's back in a matter or days or a week, rather than months. KWIM? I personally prefer to adopt adults here, but I'm unlike the rest of the population.

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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Old 09-16-2009, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No, I'm with you on adopting adult cats. That's what we did last time, but unfortunately he (Pip) does NOT like young children. I thought getting a younger cat this time would help because he wouldn't be so set in his ways. And Peeta really is a sweetie with the kids. That's what makes this so hard. But you're right: if he needs to go back, we should do it soon in all fairness to him.

We're going to try a bunch of your suggestions first. I have no idea if his foster mom gave him any flea medications. I'll see her Sunday so I'll ask then.

Thank you again.

Suz, mommy to 2 chess-playing, lightsaber-wielding boys

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Old 09-16-2009, 12:16 PM
 
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Dh has allergies to cats (asthma too, though) and what we do to help him manage is - cats stay out of our bedroom, we also have an air filter in there for him too. We try to brush the cats often (helps keep hair from getting all over the house, bothering him). I try to vacuum often 1-2x a week, especially stuff like our sofa and chairs that the cats seem to use alot. Our slightly longer haired cat, when she was younger, I would semi-bathe by petting her with wet hands (more tolerable than a full bath, and seemed to help).
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:25 PM
 
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All three of mine are great with the kids, and I got them as adults...so I think it's a matter of a their individual personalities. I personally think my more outgoing, social, 'friendly' cats seem to do best with kids. They just LOVE everybody, so when I went out to adopt after my older cats passed I looked for those personality triats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bygones75 View Post
No, I'm with you on adopting adult cats. That's what we did last time, but unfortunately he (Pip) does NOT like young children. I thought getting a younger cat this time would help because he wouldn't be so set in his ways.

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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Old 09-16-2009, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you. May I ask what type of air filter you use?

Suz, mommy to 2 chess-playing, lightsaber-wielding boys

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Old 09-16-2009, 12:28 PM
 
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Just a tip for next time, in case you ever look into adopting another...

Apparently dark cats, in general, produce much more of the allergen people react to. Also male cats produce more allergen than female cats.

I have a pretty strong allergic reaction to some cats. White or near-white female cats are very easy for me, though. When we adopted we stuck with light colored and female and it worked. Probably not fool-proof, but at least a place to start.

Good on you for trying. There are so many needy cats out there!
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:44 PM
 
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Here's a good general link:

http://www.cat-world.com.au/Hypoallergenic.htm

Hey, I guess it's good then if I'm getting another cat it'll be a white spay!

Though my black neuter is the most awesome cat in the world. Thankfully I'm not allergic!

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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Old 09-16-2009, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh man... I adopted a black male. I'm cursed with bad luck sometimes.

I should mention though, that our other cat is also a black male, and I don't react to him at all. *shrugs*

Will check out that link now, thank you.

Suz, mommy to 2 chess-playing, lightsaber-wielding boys

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Old 09-16-2009, 01:42 PM
 
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We have a therapure air purifier right now in the bedroom (the big one, as we found a great deal on it and had wanted something bigger), though before it we had a smaller hamilton beach one which seemed to be pretty adequate.
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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I totally feel for ya... I'm a vet and I'm allergic to both cats and dogs. Keeping the cat out of the bedroom is HUGE.

I've also found that a neti pot helps me a bunch, as does having some time to acclimate to the cat. As a previous poster said, a weekly bath for the cat can also help a bunch (plus you'll get your cardio trying to bathe the cat!)

You shouldn't feel guilty about having to bring the cat back, this is obviously involuntary.

Wishing you the best!
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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Have you tried the bathing? I talked to my friend who is a show breeder and apparently one of her breeder friends is allergic and asthmatic (wow) and she bathes them all 2x a month and that has worked for her (all dark colored cats too incidentally). Your cat is so young it can get used to baths still.

I use a kitchen sprayer attatchment to bathe my cats in our kitchen sink. And, I do multiple shampoos (part of that it because it's a show bath). A really good shampoo does take the extra out!

And, there are certain products out there that denature the proteins that cause allergies--I want to say allerpet-C. I think I remember it called that. Just google allerpet, it'll show up I'm sure!

KV Vet supply and revival animal health are two places I often buy from which sell allergy reducing agents too.

Hope that helps!

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Old 09-18-2009, 01:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, guys! Yes, I bathed the cat today (poor little guy.) I also bought the wipes and spray to minimize the dander/proteins. This morning was a little better, but that was before I did all that. I'm assuming that the improvement was from the claritin. I also washed all my bed linens and am keeping the cat out of the bedroom. But... I'm still pretty miserable.

I've decided that if I can make it, I'm going to give it a month. See if my body adjusts. It doesn't, he'll have to go back. But I'm praying that's not the case.

Thanks for all the support and suggestions.

Suz, mommy to 2 chess-playing, lightsaber-wielding boys

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Old 09-18-2009, 01:36 AM
 
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I read years ago that bathing cats regularly helps a lot and that eventually they stop or almost stop producing whatever protein it is that people are allergic to. I know that my sister-in-law has had great luck bathing her cat every week. I'm sure it's no fun to do, but she's been able to keep the cat, and it doesn't bother her any longer.
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