Updated on January 13, 2009
B.M. asks from Fayetteville, AR
18 answers

I have a boyfriend that I have been seeing for several months - 6 or so. We are thinking of moving in together - in my house. However since I have 4 cats and 2 dogs - imagine this - he is EXTREMELY allergic to them. I have suggested he take claritin or zyrtec and this has not gone over very well. Any suggestions? This is kind of urgent as the wanted move in date is January 31. I have been married twice and he has been married once, so we have a pretty good idea of what we want in a relationship. We are both 40. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

THANK YOU for all of your responses! I really have not taken them lightly. We had a "come to Jesus" meeting the other night and he is going to move in and compromise - we will have a couple of air purifiers and if he needs to take shots, then he will. My teenagers are 16 and 18 and are never left home alone with anyone, as they both have their own vehicles and TONS of things to do with their friends and activities, so that is not a concern for me - if they were younger, yes that would be a HUGE concern for me.

I have discussed this several times with both of my kids and have they given "their blessing" on him moving in. They both like him a lot. My daughter is extremely close to our Heavenly Father and she has said that while it is sin, she believes loves me and knows that I am MUCH happier with him than she has ever seen me. I really needed her input - even though ultimately the decision is mine.

I have 2 dogs and 4 cats - and he knows this - and has known it since day 1. I didn't realize he was SO allergic until just recently. I have to think that he would not have pursued me all this time. He knows it would break my heart to let my pets go. - as they ARE family. I believe ( because we have discussed it) marriage is in our near future. He has assured me that we will make this work and I have all the confidence that it will.

As I stated earlier, I greatly appreciate all of your feedback. I have taken them into consideration.


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answers from Lake Charles on

Seems to me you have to make a choice. My granddaughter is severally allergic to dogs and especially cats. They make her very ill. I had to make a decision between an animal or a human life. Need you ask which I chose? Why do you have to move in together? What is wrong with dating, getting to know each other, and then a possoble life time relationship with marriage.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I am also allergic to both dogs and cats, the cats are the worst!!! I had never had indoor animals and didn't realize that I was so allergic until I married my husband and moved in his cat and dog. The cat didn't last in the house 6 months. Even though I didn't allow it in the bedroom ever, and I took allergy medication, I was sick all the time from it. He ended up an outdoor cat full time (before he was in/out). The dog is a chihuahua and I hated kicking such a small dog outside. But she is now an outside/garage dog. I can't leave her out in too cold of weather, so she lives in the garage as well, but I can't handle the animals in the house, regardless of medication.
You're going to have tod decide who is more important, the animals or the man? That many animals in the house would have me seriously sick all the time! Good luck.

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answers from Mobile on

Hi, I know you are having to make a difficult decision.
First living together is never the answer to a relationship.
6 months is never long enough to really know someone. So
save yourself the heartbreak and take more time. As a christain I have to share what God says. He hates sin
because it (sin) always hurts us. And He loves us so much
He wants to protect us as much as we will let him. His word, the Bible, has all the answers to lifes questions.
I would encouage you to seek God's answer in the Bible or
a christain person that you know and trust. Love in Christ,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Mu husband is allergic to cats, but got his first one because his ex wanted one, so he decided to suck it up and deal with the allergy by whatever method it took.
Fortunately, his allergy is not severe, and as long as he doesn't touch his face after petting them until he has washed his hands, he's ok. If he touches his face after petting them, his eyes immediately start itching and running, but washing his face alleviates it.
We now have 7 cats and a dog (some of whom I already had when we met, some of whom we adopted together), and he loves them all. Most of them sleep in the bed with us.

If it were me, and I were allergic to my significant other's pets, I would not dream of asking him to give them up. I'd consult an allergist about ways to help my immune system deal with it - allergy shots maybe. If need be, I'd even wear a filter mask around the house. But maybe that's just me.
For us, the animals are part of the family, not things to be gotten rid of when they become inconvenient. In fact, I can't imagine myself with someone who didn't feel the way I do about the pets.
In fact, there's a sign on the wall - "Our pets are not animals. They are hairy children who walk on all fours and don't speak clearly."

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answers from Pine Bluff on

B., sounds to me like you are both at a
"line in the sand". It just comes down to what you choose. I also am allergic to my cats but i take allergy shots every other week because mine are 12 years old and i will not get rid of them. Once we lose them i won't get any more but until then i'll take the shots. If you can find good homes for your critters and that's what you want to do then do that. If not, then don't let him move in. You realize that if you let your pets go that you won't ever have another one if you stay with this guy. IF the claritan works for him, it doesn't seem unreasonable for him to try that, but is it fair to ask him to stay on medication? B., it's all about compromise on both of your parts. You each have to choose what those will be.....can your critters be outside critters? good luck with your decisions. R.



answers from Dothan on

Believe me find a place outside in a outside home or shed to put them in and care for them if you move in. When I remarried my dh daughter had a cat too. Me I am highly allergic...although I took meds it did not help much and for a YEAR I was miserable health-wise..and grew some resentment that the dang cat was put BEFORE ME and my health. The cat is now out in an outside shed that is kept cooled or warmed depending on the season and cared for out there.



answers from Little Rock on


My husband is allergic to dogs and has to take allergy shots. If we got to someones house that has a dog and they allow that dog inside...even putting the dog outside while we are there, my husband will still get tight chested. He has to take an inhaler with him. So taking allergy medicine is not the cure for someone that is extremely allergic. My son on the other hand has similar allergies and his eyes will swell up. My suggestion is if this is someone that you are that serioous about then I would say the animals need to go outside or get rid of them. I know that sounds horrible but they will adjust. I would just hate for you to loose a good man because of some animals. Best of Luck.



answers from Fayetteville on

If he is EXTREMELY allergic to them taking Claritin or Zyrtec will probably not do the trick.

Has he questioned a doctor about his ability to cohabitate with that many animals?

If his allergies are as bad as you suggest by the word extremely then it seems insensitive to tell him to take a pill.

Without knowing more detail it is hard to say. If he has minor allergies he can take medicine and you can frequently bathe your animals with a shampoo designed to reduce/inhibit their allergenic tendancies. I would also suggest that you vaccuum and dust daily when he is not at home so you don't stir up dander and cause a reaction. You should also invest in an air purifier and keep laundry and sheets done frequently.

If he has severe allergies and you keep your animals after he moves in I would prepare for frequent emergencies at best and waking up single at worst. I am sorry to be blunt, but I am a realist and that is just a possibility you might have to face.

First things first - get a medical opinion.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi B.,

There really are alternatives to drugs and most people don't need to get rid of their animals or put them outside. My grandson has allergies out the wazoo as well as asthma; however, when he is at my home - I believe for the following reasons he doesn't have those issues. I have six dogs and one cat.

I don't have carpeting, nor do I use drapes which will hold all kinds of dust and dander. I use non-toxic cleaners and I have an air purifier.

Feel free to email me directly at if you'd like more information.

God Bless,


answers from Tulsa on

Try to put yourself in his shoes. If the situation were reversed, would you want him to ask you to take medication to have to move in with you? Don't mean to sound rude, but I would be extremely offended in his position. Just because he might take the medication, doesn't mean that it would work. If he is extremely allergic, he might be able to tolerate living with the animals, but I doubt that it would be as if he didn't have the allergy. If you're to the point of wanting to move in together, I would hope that you would put his health above your pets.



answers from Fayetteville on

I don't know if I have a solution, but I am extremely allergic to cats and dogs too and taking a medicine like claritin wouldn't make a difference. The only way I can avoid having a reaction is to not be around those animals. If I even walk into a room that had a cat in it recently, the sneezing starts. I know it sounds trivial if you aren't allergic, but it is miserable. I wish I could change it, but I can't. I took shots for years which helped a lot with my seasonal allergies but didn't help at all in the animal allergy department...




answers from Mobile on

i assume that you will have to choose who you love more lol your boyfriend are your animals but i would suggest that you put the animals outside cause the animals cant help pay the bills.



answers from Huntsville on

Take this as you will, but I would hold off on having him move in. Urgency is not a good way to begin a live-in relationship. Even if you are not a Christian and don't see this as sin, there are signs here that should trigger something. It "not going over well" at even the suggestion of him taking a medicine should give you at least a yellow flag, if not red, that he may not be willing to consider anyone's situation than his own.

Also, think about your own plans. You say that you'd like to own the business that you currently manage. Wouldn't it be easier on you to keep things as they are and continue to date your boyfriend, rather than have him move in, and work around the bumps of two people who have just moved in together? What if things don't work out or there are things you discover about him you just can't live with? Then you have to pile that stress on top of work stress and your hopes and dreams of owning the business may go down the tubes.

And your dogs - obviously you love them or you wouldn't have 6 of them! To replace 6 of them with one man, and to try and find a home for 6 animals in today's economy - people are dropping their dogs and cats off at the shelter left and right because they have to choose between their dogs and feeding their children. This is not the case for you - you love them and what would they do if their mom just abandoned them - all 6 of them. I don't know how your animals are, but I only have two dogs and one of them won't even eat when we go out of town, even though they stay with family! As soon as we come home, they cannot WAIT to snuggle with us and play with us.

And lastly, your kids. What are you teaching them about a relationship of their own - please don't misunderstand me - I'm not chastising. But when I make decisions - huge ones, especially, I always consider what it says to them. And what this says to them, is you are willing to give up your animals and their animals, have a boyfriend move in with you, who by the way is not even willing to TRY and meet you halfway or compromise, and that urgency takes precedence over making sure your decision is the right one, not just the convenient answer.

Please reconsider. True love waits, period dot. If you're worth it to him, he'll not only wait until you are ready and not rushed, but true love ALSO meets halfway. Make sure he is really the one (and that maybe his being allergic is not divine intervention) before you make a HUGE step in your life and affect the lives of your children and your 6 pets.

P.S. B., I hate to add this as an afterthought but also consider what it will be like for your teenagers. If he does not have the same schedule that you do, your children, your teenager daughter will be home alone with your boyfriend. You might think you know him, but what if the unthinkable happens? Whom do you trust with the truth? Him, who you just met, or your daughter? I'm sure with an 18 yr old and a 16 yr old, they each have different schedules so even saying your son would be there when she is there may not always be the case. Please please reconsider and give it a lot more thought, regardless of when the urgent move-in date is.



answers from Tulsa on

When I did allergy testing they put 80 different little swabs of goo on my back and then my arms. I had reactions to 72 out of 80. Needless to say I have allergies.

I can understand how both of you feel, you pets are special to you and so is he. If he wants a life with you he will have to take any allergy med. Cat hair is on your clothes, it's in you curtains, in your carpet, your mattress, etc.... Running the vacuum won't get rid of all of it. I haven't had cats in 10 years but every time my brother comes to my house he starts sneezing, coughing,nose starts running, and his eyes swell. I have changed furniture, curtains, and cleaned my carpets several times, no difference.

So, even if you get rid of your lovely babies, he will still have problems in your home, especially if he is there all the time.

I understand he doesn't want to take drugs all the time but if he has animal allergies maybe he has others too and the drugs would help all around.



answers from Lafayette on

IMO if this relationship is as important as it seems to you since you want to move in together, get rid of the animals. Otherwise you risk losing your boyfriend all together. I am sure you are attached to them but I honestly believe that saving your relationship with your boyfriend is more important than keeping your pets.



answers from Tulsa on

If he's refusing to try to take Zyrtec or Claritin, then if it were me, I would say too bad for him! I hope he isn't suggesting or hinting that you get rid of the pets!! If it were me in this situation, I would say either take medicine/see an allergist, etc., suffer with your allergies, or hit the road if you can't handle it. It's just that my pets were there first and offer unconditional love, whereas a boyfriend might not always be there. I don't know what options you are considering, but if getting rid of the pets is one of them, I would personally say don't do it! Pets are not disposable when they aren't convenient anymore, they are part of the family. If I were in that situation and had a guy who wanted to move in or get married someday, he should know that the pets are part of the package. If he can't accept that, then he wouldn't be the right guy for me. Anyway, that's just what I would feel in that situation. When people meet and start dating, I would think love of animals (or allergies to them) would be one of the first things you consider along with if they like kids or not and all the other compatibility stuff.



answers from Baton Rouge on

honestly, me MYSELF am very highly allergic to most pet danders. I will tell you, I hate taking meds. It is not fair to me that I have to always be drugged or in a daze, and those meds do have those kinds of side effects regardless of how they claim not to. My husband and I have been together for 10 yrs this year, and his family has always had dogs in thier home, and I HATE visiting them because of that. I am always gripy, medicated, talking through my nose, and just miserable.

Also, I can't even visit my own father or bring my children there because me and my son are highly allergic and he will not get rid of his inside dog.

I say, if you really like this guy and want a future with him, give up your pets. It's only fair to him. Don't make him miserable like my inlaws make me (thankfully we only visit during the holidays) but it always ruins my holidays!

I know some people think of their pets as their babies, and this may sound harsh: but they're not. They're not people, they're just animals. And they should be kept outside, at the most.

Just being honest about how horrible my pet allergies make me feel, hope this helps.



answers from Dothan on

I would put my boyfriend's health above my pets. That's just how I am. Pets are important, but they are NOT people. My DD is allergic to cats and dogs, and we've had both, but they've always been outside.

A. :)

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