Allergic to Cats

Updated on August 20, 2012
M.M. asks from Kalamazoo, MI
14 answers

We just got confirmation that my step daughter is allergic to cats and my step daughter's mom wants us to get rid of our two cats now. Our cats are three years old and we have had them since they were kittens. My step daughter has had some issues in the past.. we noticed that if she sat there and cuddled with them she would come up with a rash. When we noticed that happening we told her that she can't cuddle with them anymore. Other then that she is fine, she sneezes sometimes but we all sneeze sometimes. So it seems like just them being there doesn't cause any issues, it is the contact for a long period of time. I just don't know what to do. Our cats are a part of the family but I also don't want there to be any reason why she can't come over to our house. Is there any thing that we can spray in our house? We just want every member of our family to stay under one roof.

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So What Happened?

I don't know how to respond to the answers since this is the first time ever asking a question so I will just put it here. :-) Thank you for all of the responses. It has given me other solutions that we can try other then just getting rid of them. I would NEVER just want my step daughter to be miserable when she is here but she loves the cats too. So thank you again.

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answers from Grand Rapids on

Is she going to do shots? My Step Son's doctor told his Mom that it can take up to 5 yrs to really get the dander etc out of the house so if he did shots he would have his immunity built up by then anyway. He has lived with cats in both houses since then. We did buy the mattress/pillow covers and kept his room cat free for awhile but it didn't last.

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answers from Seattle on

How often does your step daughter stay with you?

Does she take any allergy medicines that help with the sneezing and her symptoms?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Her allergies could get worse.
I am allergic to cats, and its miserable! I can be in someone's house, and not even know or see that they have cats and I can tell! My eyes get itchy, I get splotchy, sneeze like crazy.
She may be able to control the allergy with OTC medication. But if she can't you may need to get rid of them. What people are allergic to is the dander in a cats saliva. SO when they lick themselves it gets on the hair. It is also sticky, so it gets on the walls furniture and in your heating and cooling vents. You can try to clean a lot, not with chemicals but hot water, mild soap etc. Vacuum daily etc. But it may not be enough.
I understand not wanting to get rid of a pet, but obviously your step-daughters comfort and health is more important! There used to be a febreeze allergy spray but I havent been able to find it. It worked well in our house. Otherwise, Im not sure of what else can help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

My ex-husband was asthmatic and allergic to cats, but loves them, and we had (I still have) a house full of them.
I found that mixing brewer's yeast in the cats' food stopped his allergy and asthma attacks. Apparently it changes something in the chemical makeup of the dander.



answers from Honolulu on

I am allergic to cats.
Have been since I was a child.
My face/eyes, swell up. And I itch like crazy.
It is not, fun.
At, all.
Oh, and then I have had Asthma too... since I was a child.
So that in combination with cats, is not fun, either.

IF I have CONTACT with a cat, my body/allergy reacts.
Common sense. If the dander/fur/anywhere a cat goes, is on furniture or other places too, I react.
And, with cats in a home, it is IMPOSSIBLE, to clean a home daily, of any fur/shedded fur or dander, that is in a home.
And no, there is nothing to spray EVERYWHERE in the house, to get rid of cat, dander or fur.

Your Step Daughter's Mom, wants you to get rid of the cats.
This is her, daughter. And she is concerned about her daughter's health.
This is natural.

Sure, your Step-Daughter can take meds.
But that is up to her parents.
But she will still be, allergic to cats.

Sure she can go to your house. But you have cats. And she is allergic to cats.
How old, is your Step Daughter?

Or, keep your cats, outdoors. Have them as outdoor pets.
But your Step Daughter, cannot touch them.

Bendaryl... causes drowsiness.
Do you want your step daughter, to be drowsy, while at your house????
Does her Mom know, that she is being given, Benadryl????
You need to ask the Mom, first.

The cat allergy can potentially become worse.

I would ALSO, get an air purifier for your home, for all the rooms.
But this still will not get rid of, her allergies. But it may help with the air quality in your home.
And, any carpet you have, the cat fur and dander... will saturate it. Thus, it WILL affect her allergies.

Now, when I was OLDER and in college... I had pet cats. BUT they were outdoor cats. AND, by that age, I KNEW to wash my hands/clothes immediately after playing with them. But you cannot compare cat allergies to others, because each person will react... differently and per severity.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I am allergic to cats too. We have cats. I live on Benadryl sometimes. I do not take more than 1/4 of a dose though. I do not want to build up a tolerance for this medication> Also, the 1/4 dose takes care of the issue enough for me to maintain a normal nose and eyes but does not dry me out so that I can't breathe.

I think if you vacuum very well before she comes over for the weekend she'll be fine.



answers from Philadelphia on

My cat allergy started in 5th grade and got progressively worse. It got to the point that when I was in HS my best friend had cats so if I was in the car with her she would have to leave her winter coat in the trunk of the car otherwise I would be miserable. At work I could also not sit in chairs where the primary user of the chair had cat at home. I would actually get asthmatic. I also was unable to visit my brother for the last 20 some years because he has cats. For years I just avoided cat. Long story short I have recently discovered I am not allergic to cats anymore:) however my dog allergy is awful. Years ago I could tolerate dogs having just mild symptoms but now I have a tough time breathing when near dogs.
My allergist told me you can grow in and out of allergies at any time. Your body chemistry changes completely every 7 years.
Sorry to say, but I think if she is reacting you may have to consider finding another home for the cats. Allergies can make people really sick:(



answers from Shreveport on

We are a cat family as well. A little over a year ago we found out our youngest is allergic to cats. He was heartbroken because he loves all our cats (the the time we had 4 one has since passed). His dr suggested we get rid of the cats. He started crying right there and I told her there was no way I was going to get rid of our cats and upset my son. So my son's room became a cat free room with a air purifier in his room. But he still cuddles with the cats when he is in the rest of the house. He is on daily allergy meds but that is for all his allergies.
I would tell the mother that the child's bedroom will be cat free but you can't be expected to give up family pets. I would bet the child is allergic to far more than just cats. If possible have her father talk to her doctor and see whatelse she popped positive for and also what levels she tested at. Allergy tests normally range 1 to 4 in severity with 4 being the worse. For my son's cat allergy he was actually 4+++ and his doctor said she was surprised with that level that we didn't have issues before now. My son is 11 just so you know. Anyway there are ways to work with the allergy and not get rid of the cats.


answers from San Francisco on

One of my best friends growing up was allergic to all kinds of things, including cats. Her little sister was an animal lover, and they had a cat. Her parents took my friend to an allergist and she got some kind of shot every month, and she and the cat coexisted just fine. The cat wasn't allowed in her room, and I know they changed out their carpet for hard wood floors, which also helped. I don't know much about what type of shots she got, but it may be worth taking your SD to an allergist to find out.

For what it's worth, this friend seemed to have outgrown her allergy by the time she went into high school, so just because your SD has a mild allergy now doesn't mean she will always be allergic...



answers from Dallas on

I work at a vet hospital. I am around animals 24/7 as I have 3 cats at home. I am allergic to cats.

At home:
I dust and clean frequently. I bathe the cats to control the dander and they aren't allowed to sleep in my bedroom. I wash carefully whenever I touch them and keep the antihistamines handy. I take allergy injections as well. I run several air purifiers in the house.

At work:
I stay away from those I know I'm allergic too - mainly Burmese. I wash carefully and I manage with antihistamines. I run several air purifiers in the house.

Being allergic to cats is not hugely detrimental to my lifestyle or career. Is it easy? Heck no, I have to be super careful around them and be observant when handling the. Would I get rid of them? Not in a million years - they are part of my family as well.


answers from Spokane on

I am allergic to cats and I know I cannot hold them or pet them. If I go into a home where they have inside cats my eyes itch, my nose runs and my asthma kicks in. I will also break out with a rash if I get any saliva on me. You may not notice her symptoms, but her allergies may be more of an issue than you are aware of. Or she may have a mild reaction to them where they just need to be kept away from her. You could possibly keep them but be sure to watch her and make sure she isn't miserable while she is there. I would never be able to sleep in a home where there are inside cats.
Oh, and allergy medicine does not help me but it's worth a try for your sd.


answers from Dallas on

I absolutely LOVE cats. They are my favorite animals in the WORLD.

I am terribly allergic to cats. I *hate* that I can't live with them. I hate, hate HATE it.

So, I've tried. It does not work. It doesn't matter how often you bathe kitty, it doesn't matter what chemicals you use, it doesn't matter if you vacuum or cover the furniture in plastic or spray or anything. It won't matter if you keep the cat confined to one room. She is allergic to the dander and to the oils on the skin and the saliva. When the cat walks around the house and sheds skin flakes, the skin flakes go through the air vents in the house, and carry them around the house. Your SD will breathe them in. Allergies.

I had a roommate once with a cat. Her cat was strictly confined to my roomate's bedroom. I ended up in the ER because my throat closed up and I couldn't breathe.

Medications have all kinds of side effects. Anti-histamines make people drowsy. Steroids suppress the immune system. And, when your body is allergic to something, and it is exposed to it, your immune system is suppressed anyway, because it's busy trying to fight the invader. So she will be more susceptible to colds, viruses, etc.

So, I agree with her Mom. She is right to want you to get rid of the cats. Her daughter shouldn't have to be miserable so you can keep your cats. In the long run, it's better for her to get rid of them.


answers from Saginaw on

I understand that your cats are family too. The cleaning suggestions are great. I'm a vet, and we have several clients who swear by the acepromazine in water trick. Here's a link with more info:
Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I have ALL your answers :)

First, keep the cats out of the room your stepdaughter sleeps in. Keep the door closed, and give it a good cleaning. Be sure to wipe down the walls as well. If you can afford an air cleaner, get one for the bedroom.

They make this stuff called Allerpet. It's a liquid and you put it on the cats and it neutralizes the dander. Your stepdaughter is allergic to dander, which comes from the cat's saliva. When they lick their bodies, their skin flakes off and that is what we call dander. Get one of those sponge paint brushes on a stick. Squirt some Allerpet on the end of the sponge brush and apply it as close to your cat's skin as possible. The sponge brush makes it easy to get under the hair to the skin. I would put Allerpet on the cat the day your stepdaughter comes to stay.

They also make a spray that does the same thing to your furniture. You can buy all these things at an online allergy store. Before your stepdaughter comes, vacuum the house and all upholstery (like couches and chairs). Then use the spray on the furniture. If you have a vacuum with a HEPA filter and a HEPA bag, that's even better. You can also use a steam cleaner. Any of those will work, we use both the spray and a steam cleaner for maximum cleaning power!

If your stepdaughter stays for a few days, then on the second day take a damp paper towel and wipe the cats down. They also make wipes for this too, I get them at the pet store. That will cut down on the dander flying all over the place.

Make sure the litter box is covered and it stays clean while she is there. There is dander in cat urine and just the smell can cause an allergic reaction.

It sounds like your stepdaughter is just mildly allergic. She should not cuddle with the cats, and she should wash her hands immediately after petting them. She should not let them lick her or nuzzle her with their noses.

An extra dose of vitamin C while your stepdaughter is there will also help her. I'm sure there's no harm in that.

We are all allergic to cats, and my husband has asthma. We have two fur babies that we love and are part of our family. I use the above tricks plus a few more (we have air cleaners in all the rooms and I bathe the cats once a week) and we are all able to live in harmony!

Good luck!

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