Our Daughter Is Allergic to Our Cats - Now What?

Updated on March 13, 2013
P.M. asks from Bolingbrook, IL
29 answers

Our 6 year old daughter was recently tested for allergies. She is allergic to our 2 cats as well as dogs, ragweed, mold and grass. We have had these cats since before she was born. She basically has a stuffy nose with slight "allergy shiners" as her allergist called them. No asthma or any other breathing problems were detected and she's had only a couple sinus infections in her life.

Naturally, our daughter's health is our #1 priority. We're looking into Hepa filters, air purifiers, allergen sprays, etc. We're keeping the cats out of our bedrooms, keeping them in the basement at night and other changes. Her doctor is prescribing allergy medicines to see what works. So we are trying everything basically.

We love our cats dearly and our daughter loves them too. We're exhausting all options before considering finding them a new home (praying that's even a possibility).

My questions to you are: Have you had any success with this type of situation? Have you been able to keep your pets around with your allergies and/or an allergic child? Did the symptoms worsen over time? Did they lessen? What medicines and/or cleaning remedies worked best?

Obviously, the best way to lessen her cat allergy is to remove the cats, but we're afraid she may feel responsible if the cats had to go away (we'd remove the cats if it were absolutely necessary, please don't think we'd choose our cats over our child) . We just don't know if her symptoms will worsen and become chronic, even asthmatic. Is this inevitable? Is this a no-win situation? I realize every person with allergies is different from the next person with allergies. This is new territory for us, so any helpful advice is appreciated.

Thank you.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the responses. This truly helps us. We have a follow-up visit with our daughter's allergist coming up, so we will be sure to ask him some more questions, such as her current severity to the cat allergy. As far as medication is concerned, we know we will not be going the allergy shot route. Our daughter is petrified of needles (flu shots are not fun to give her to say the least!) so a weekly shot would be traumatic for her.

I realize everyone has their own opinion of allergy medicines (and medication in general), but for us, we feel if it helps her to feel better then we're ok with it (as long as she's not feeling worse or falling asleep in school of course). I have seasonal allergies so an occasional medicine works for me. Naturally, yes, we prefer to try other routes first such as home modifications to ease her allergies (even if we didn't have the cats we'd have to get an air purifier for her other allergies). She has twice daily sinus rinses that do help her as well. She'll be living with seasonal allergies. If she's miserable without medication, why would we let her suffer is the way we see it. She'll encounter other peoples cats and dogs, so we see that the same way with medicine.

Again, if we and her doctor feel strongly about the cats going away, we will do it. But for now, we'll try any route within reason to keep the cats. Once we figure out her severity and make the necessary changes to our home, frequent cleaning, etc. we will go from there. There are so many factors to consider here so we'll just take it one day at a time.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

My ex-husband was allergic to dog and cat dander and we had three dogs and twelve cats inside the house. He was having attacks of wheezing and hacking daily. I started adding brewer's yeast to the animals' food and his symptoms stopped. Apparently it changes the chemical makeup of the dander and makes it less reactive for people with allergies.

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answers from Albuquerque on

I developed a cat allergy while I had a cat. I wasn't allergic and then one day I was. It was a constant stuffy nose. He was a longhair so I would get him a summer cut and I think I tried some kind of shampoo that was supposed to cut down on the dander but it didn't really help much. He ended up passing and as much as I loved him and like cats in general I will never have another cat just because of how irritating it is to be stuffed up all the time. He was an indoor cat too. I guess it depends on how much it's irritating her. I wouldn't want her on medicine constantly because of a pet. Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

We have 2 cats and my husband and I are allergic and we all live in harmony! It's a lot of extra work, but it's worth it if you love your cats.

1. You're doing good by keeping the cats out of the bedroom. Get her a good air cleaner with a HEPA filter and run it constantly. We use the Honeywell ones. It would be a good idea to do a deep cleaning of her bedroom, get the carpets shampooed, etc. Don't forget to wipe down her walls! I would get rid of as much carpet as possible since cat dander sticks to the carpet.

2. Invest in a laundry detergent that removes allergens. It can be expensive so I just use that detergent to clean sheets.

3. Wipe down the whole house. Get all your carpets shampooed if you can. Wipe down the walls and furniture. Dander sticks to walls and the ceiling too.

4. Take down any drapes and wash them in allergen detergent.

5. Get a solution called "Allerpet." You put it directly on the cat and it neutralizes the dander. You can buy it online. I apply it by putting it on one of those sponges with the sticks that are used for painting. Then you can go against the way their hair grows and get the Allerpet on the cat's skin without using a lot of it. I alternate every day between applying Allerpet and wiping the cat down with wipes that also neutralize dander.

6. They make a spray that also neutralizes dander that you can spray on your furniture. All of this can be purchased online at a store that specializes in allergy solutions.

7. Vacuum every day or every other day with a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

8. I invested in a steam cleaner. The steam neutralizes dander as well, so I steam our floors and furniture twice a week. It doesn't take long, and it's better and cheaper than using the sprays. I spray the furniture down with the allergen spray every 2 weeks.

9. We have an air filter in the living room where the cats are likely to be.

10. We covered the cat box with 2 covers. Cat urine and feces can have dander so cleaning the box 1-2 times a day helped. We also switched litter to a dust-free wheat litter.

11. Make sure your daughter drinks lots of water. Drinking water helps tame the histamine reaction.

12. We don't use over-the-counter meds, we use natural Bromelain and Quercetin supplement and vitamin C.

13. Your daughter should wash her hands whenever she touches the cat.

14. If you can bathe your cat, it helps. Some cats won't tolerate it. Mine will so I bathe them once every 2 weeks in a natural shampoo that gets rid of allergens.

We do all of these things to the best of our ability. I used to be very allergic to cats and now I'm only affected if I pet them and then touch my eyes. My husband's asthma has lessened considerably--enough so we can keep the cats and it is managed with an inhaler (which he is supposed to use anyway). The strategy is 2-fold, get rid of the allergens in the house and lessen the allergens produced on the cats.

My brother is very allergic to cats and he can come over and has no issues. Most people who come over don't have issues with our cats.

Good luck! I would try all of these things before you get rid of the cats. I know my one cat is very attached to me and if I gave her up she would cry so much and be so sad that she'd have to be put to sleep. She cried nonstop for 2 weeks when I left her with my ex-husband, so he told me to come get her. It would be a death-sentence for her to go to a shelter.

If you have questions, message me and I'll be happy to help! Good luck!

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answers from Atlanta on

Don't remove the cats yet. It is not inevitable. From what you describe, your daughter's allergies are mild enough that they might be relatively easy to control. You don't yet know what will work, and you made a commitment by owning cats that isn't easily dismissed. I am in animal rescue, and I see the trauma of rehoming regularly, and frankly, I'm pretty shocked that others would recommend giving up the cats before you even attempt to control the allergies, especially since MEDICATION MAY BE NECESSARY ANYWAY TO CONTROL THE OUTDOOR ALLERGIES. I would give it some time, and work with an allergist, not a standard pediatrician.

I am allergic to dogs (as well as pollen, most molds, grass, ragweed, many kinds of trees, dust...you name it). I have between 2-3 dogs in my house at any given time, and all of them shed (although they aren't Huskies or anything that sheds so heavily). I am able to control my allergies with Zyrtec, and I used to use a neti pot and saline regularly, but now only require that for the high-pollen seasons. Over the years, my dog allergy has improved considerably, even though my pollen and outdoor allergies continue to worsen. Unfortunately, Zyrtec is not sufficient for the high-pollen reason anymore, so I am looking into allergy shots. It is difficult to predict whether constant exposure will help to dull the allergies (as it did for me in the case of dogs but not pollen, and as is the theory behind allergy shots), or continue to irritate them. Once again, a good allergist should be able to walk you through this process.

Best of luck to you. I hope that, in the end, your daughter's allergies will be easy to control, and rehoming the cats will not be necessary.

ETA: I feel the need to stress again that the poster wrote that her daughter is allergic not only to cats, but also to ragweed, mold, and grass, and it is very likely she will need to go on allergy medication in any case. Given this circumstance, it's really shocking to me that other people are criticizing her for wanting to see if this medication addresses the cat allergy before giving away the cats. For goodness sake, it would be awful to get rid of the cats and then learn that the medication she is taking addresses all of her allergies and the cats could have stayed. If the steps she is taking do not sufficiently address the cat allergies, then the issue will need to be reconsidered.

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answers from Dallas on

I agree with LivTokyo. The goal should be for your daughter to be able to live comfortably WITH your beloved cats. She has other allergies. Who's to say that getting rid of the cats would alleviate her symptoms? I'm allergic to cats and I have a cat, and I could never get rid of him. I just don't ever handle him and then touch my face. If I touch him I have to wash my hands immediately. The length of fur does not matter, as it's the saliva and skin oils that she is allergic to, not the fur itself. Keeping the cat bathed in high-quality shampoo DOES help, because it removes excess oil from the fur/skin. My cat hates baths but it's a necessity. Premium food helps as well, because good food promotes healthy skin. Healthy skin means less saliva/oil on their fur. My cat eats Science Diet. I think Science Diet even has a formula to help with allergies. It's expensive food but I think my kitty is worth it.

Call me crazy but I've lived in a cat-free home before, and it's miserable for me. Something about cats keeps me calm. Trust me, this can be done. You, your kitties, and your daughter can stay happy & healthy.

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answers from Dallas on

ADD: I had a friend who was allergic but didn't know it till after he got his cat (friend was an adult). And he was a VOICE teacher and singer so he had to be careful of his throat. He LOVED that cat and wanted to keep it. He petted it with his feet! LOL. It would sit next to him, and he would just not use his hands to caress the kitty - arms, feet, etc. And I think he washed his hands frequently to keep the allergens away from his eyes/nose. He lived happily with the kitty for 16 years and managed his symptoms. So it's possible. I wouldn't mess with a dangerous allergy, but control what you can control and see what happens.

Original: Well, she's allergic to ragweed, mold and grass - that's pretty common stuff that's all over and she'll be reacting to as well. I would say make her bedroom a cat free zone. That should help with the symptoms at night. Her allergies may lessen. Mine did go away after a time. Google may be your friend in terms of finding cleaning tips, tricks to keep the allergens down, etc.

See what the medication does. Allergy shots worked well for me, but I was in my 20's when I got them. If the allergies don't really get in the way, and if the outside allergens are a factor, I would ride it out and see. If it becomes a problem, readdress it.

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answers from Peoria on

For me the answer is clear - the cats go and the children remain healthy. It's a no brainer for me. I've had cats and liked them, but if my kids ever showed signs of being alergic, they go, immediately. But that's just me. I'm a little surprised one of the options you are considering is medicating your child to keep the cats.

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answers from Dallas on

This should be a no brainer. As hard as it is, get rid of the cats! Cat allergies are no joke...I know first hand because my SO, DD and brother are all allergic to them. Why would you consider medicating your child to keep the cat? I'm not trying to sound harsh, but it's really a no brainer.

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answers from Chicago on

We had our cats for about 8 years before my son was born. He was horribly allergic to our cats. As hard as it was, we had to get rid of our cats. As soon as we got rid of them my son was breathing better and sleeping better.

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answers from New York on

In my late 20s, my seasonal allergies got worse, and I went to an allergist. I tested reactive to all tree and grass pollens, cherries, chocolate, soy and cats.

In terms of cleaning and maintenance- wood floors, eliminate draperies, overstuffed pillows, ottomans, and other fabric dander traps. declutter. keep books etc in glass enclosed shelves. Wash bedding, stuffed animals, towels regularly. Have DS get into fresh clothes after school, and fresh jammies daily. Hand washing, and washing of the face can help.

Obviously take direction from your allergist/ pediatrician. My advice however, when it comes to meds is to be a little patient when it comes to the side effects.

Benadryl for instance is notorious for knocking people out. A small % (myself included), have a speedy high on benadryl, followed by a knock out, dead to the world sleep. This is true for about 2 weeks of regular use, then the body gets used to it, and things go back to "normal."

With infrequent use, the Benadryl will give me the speedy high, then the dead to the world low each and every time.

Many allergy medicines will leave you dry/ dehydrated. Make sure she gets plenty of water all the while.

Allergies are really unpredictable. They can get severely worse all of a sudden. Long hairs will do it to me each and every time. My eyes swell shut and I get full body hives.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I'm allergic to cats. It's awful.

Your poor daughter is probably constantly uncomfortable, but doesn't even realize it since she's probably felt that way since birth. She might even tell you she feels fine. There's a good chance she's never felt "fine" and has no idea what "fine" actually feels like. She's in a constant state of mild allergic reaction.

Unfortunately, it's a no-brainer. If it were my daughter, the cat would have to go. If she can stay off medication simply by removing the cats, that's what I'd do. I wouldn't choose to medicate my daughter just to keep a pet.

And if you do decide the medication route, read up on the various side-effects. ALL allergy meds *except* Benadryl turn my easy-going son into an aggressive, mean, grumpy jerk. And Benadryl knocks him out so he can't use it during the day. Just be aware that there could possibly be side-effects to the meds.

It's a tough situation and I'm sorry you have to deal with this.

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answers from Miami on

On your daughters test, when it came up she was allergic, was it a mild allergy or severe?
I am mildly allergic to cats. I have a cat and would never get rid of him. I was also allergic to other things on the allergy test ( I never thought I was going to be allergic to anything. My allergist said EVERYONE will be allergic to something. It just depends how severe the allergy is)....
I say, if she's not having any problems, just keep the cats out of her room.
Good for you for not just getting rid of your cats as a # 1 solution!!!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Are your cats long-haired or short-haired? My husband has always been allergic to cats, but we do have a short-haired cat and he manages very well. He doesn't pet her often and if he does, he immediately washes his hands. But if she were a long-haired cat, it would have never worked.

Honestly, though, there is no way that I would put my child on allergy meds just to keep the animals. As heartbreaking as it is, your child's health must come first. How you frame it and react to the possibility of re-homing your cats will ultimately make your child feel responsible, or ok with it. Maybe a new doggie could join the family? Good luck.

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answers from Boston on

Sorry but the cats have to go. There is no way to reduce her exposure with cats in the home and allergies often get worse over time, not better. Even if it doesn't progress into asthma or anything, it's not healthy for your daugther to always have her immune system in a stressed mode, even if that stress is fairly mild. Think of allergies like a bucket - with no exposure or reaction to allergens, the bucket is empty and the immune system has capacity to handle irritants and dispense with them. As a person with allergies is exposed to allergens, the bucket fills. For some people, their allergen(s) can fill the bucket to overflowing immediately (for example when my oldest son is exposed to spring tree pollens, it's a full-blown reaction from day one). For others, like me, having temporary exposure to one cat, or a little bit of secondhand smoke, or everyday dust around fills my bucket about halfway - I don't feel acutely ill but I don't feel great either. Throw in another cat, more smoke or dust from heavy cleaning or emptying the vacuum and I'm in full blown itchy eyes, coughing, runny nose attack mode. The contant runny nose and allergy shiners are signs that the cats are triggering an allergic reaction all the time. She probably doesn't even know what it's like to feel 100% well. It's not fair to her to have her live like that nor is it fair to expect her to take medication every day.

I know it's not what you want to hear, but I think you're going to have to find a new home for the cats.

ETA: LivTokyo ragweed and grass are SEASONAL allergies that can be treated with medication for a few weeks vs. medicating a child year-round for a pet allergy. Most people with a ragweed allergy have "hay fever" in the late summer. Most people with grass allergies don't even know it because most people trim their grass so short it never pollinates. Mold is a very common allergy and in most homes that can be controlled with adequate ventilation, using a dehumidifier etc. I am allergic to all three of those plus dust and cats. The only time I use medication is sometimes in late summer for "hay fever" and when I visit my sister's house and have to endure her two cats.

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answers from Philadelphia on

My 5 year old son is the same way. He has eczema also. We have 8 cats (was 9 at the time). It was around age 3 1/2 that his nose was stuffy all the time and his eyes looked red (they still do a bit and I read that this can occur in people with allergies) so, I took him to the allergist and the results cam back spring and fall seasonal allergies and molds, cats and dogs. Now, we knew he had some kind of dog allergy because his grandmom has a dog and anytime he would go there, if the dog licked him, he would get red and itchy. He is fine with being in a house with dogs, just as long as they don't lick him. He currently takes an oral medication and a nose spray and he is much better on it. Giving the nose spray was intimidating because I thought, 'how am I supposed to get a little kid to let me spray medicine up his nose', but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. He can sleep with his favorote kitty and rub his face into her fur and he has no problems anymore. I was also told by the doctor that the medicine also helps control his eczema too. I also (and have always) vacuumed and my floors every day. I have hardwood floors so since I don't like cat hair on my kids, I have to do it every day, plus it helps with the cat dander as well. Allergists will always tell you that hardwood floors are better than carpet for lessening allergy symptoms. Oh, and ironically, I too have 'slight' (as I like to refer to it as) cat allergies as well. Having hardwood floors definitely has helped (my old house had carpets) and I also avoid petting the cats and touching my eyes. Hope this helps!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I am allergic to cats and so is hubby, actually his test numbers were actually off the chart. We have cats and have many interactions with cats.

If I get itchy eyes and start feeling the back of my sinuses itching I will take 1/4 dose of Benadryl. I don't want to dry my sinuses out or make myself sleepy. It's usually the litter box smell that bothers me the most. If it's smelly I almost always start itching when I walk in the door. If their cat gets on me I usually have to make it a point to not touch my face or eyes. I have had a cat jump on me during piano lessons and I pushed it off. I touched my eye a bit later and they had to take me to the ER because the top lid swelled so much it turned inside out and I could not open it. I got steroid shots and a full dose of Benadryl that night...lol. Plus I had patches over both eyes til the next morning.

So if her allergies are tolerable then don't worry about the cats. They are a minimal bother to her. Keeping them bathed may help. My SIL washes all her cats every Friday evening. They get all excited when she hollers bath time for them. They run to the bath room. But she has bathed them since they were new to her and they are used to it.

Some animal shampoos are worse on the allergic person though. If I touch a cat that has been bathed in flea shampoo I almost always end up in distress. Those chemicals are poisonous like lice shampoo or other pesticides to us.

Lice shampoo is derived from Ragweed sometimes so flea shampoo can be dangerous too, you'll have to read the labels of those now.

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answers from Dallas on

That has got to be hard. I understand you would choose your child over your cat but it's hard to think of choosing. My suggestion on top of the air purifier is to vacum daily. That's what my friend did cause her husband was allergic to her cat. That includes furniture. If she pets it she needs to know to not put her hands close to her face but to go wash them. She will probably be sad is she never get's to pet her animals again. Talk to the dr and see what they recoment. I know a co worker has done allergy shots for hers. Good luck!!!!

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answers from Philadelphia on

It must be hard but as a person allergic to cats I think you must have a cat free home. Having her suffer with a stuffy nose and medicating her are just not good options. Also, you should get HEPA filters and air purifier anyway to deal with her mold, ragweed and grass allergies.

Do not ever tell her her allergies are the reason you are getting rid of the cats. Of course that would make her feel bad.

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answers from Dallas on

I have allergies, asthma, and pets, and I knew I was allergic to the pets before I got them. My allergies and asthma were severe as a child, but after 10 years of allergies shots and growing up, they have become more manageable. My pets do aggravate my allergies, but its a personal choice for me that my pets bring more joy to my life than hassle from the allergies. I had bunnies for 12 years, and bunnies need to eat hay, to which I became extremely allergic. That did become a tricky situation, with me doing everything in my power to minimize my hay exposure, and I won't have bunnies again. I'm also allergic to my dogs (whom I've had for 11 years now), and so far those allergies have stayed the same (no better, no worse).

Both of my kids have allergies, and one has asthma, but so far neither of them are allergic to the pets. My youngest son's asthma is severe enough that if he does develop an allergy to the pets, we'd have to stop having them. But, it sounds like you daughter's symptoms aren't that bad yet, and she's old enough to talk to you about her symptoms and to tell you how bad she is feeling. I would definitely research options for rescues if you do need to get remove the cats, but given what you've said it seems reasonable to me to try to keep them and just minimize her exposure and treat her allergies ... so long as she continues to mostly feel ok.

Good luck! I hope you daughter's allergies get under control soon!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Our son is allergic to cats, dogs, and a bunch of things in the environment, just like your daughter. However, his cat allergy is more severe than his dog allergy. We have always had a dog or two since before he was born, but have never had cats because my husband is very allergic to them also. Our son's allergist told us we could keep the dogs under certain conditions, but that he should never spend the night with cats. We managed his various allergies by seeing a pediatric allergist and taking meds that would have had to have been taken for the other allergies regardless of the dogs. We keep the dogs out of his room and keep his bedroom door closed. When he was younger I washed his sheets religiously once a week in warm or hot water, vacuumed often and made sure he had clean pajamas every night for bed. On those few occassions when he's spent the night at a friend's house who has cats (long story) he has not had a bad reaction, knock on wood. I don't know if our solutions would work for cats since I've heard their dander is "stickier" and more virulent. One thing about pet dander--it gets everywhere in your house, including the walls. It takes 6 months or more to dissipate even if you do get rid of the cats. You might not notice a difference right away. I knew someone who was VERY allergic to cats and moved into a house that cats had habitated and she reacted for months afterwards. I don't think there's any way of predicting what might happen with your daughter's allergies since they can change over time. They could get worse, better or just change so that someday she's allergic to different things than she's allergic to now. My son as a toddler was allergic to dairy and dust mites. He is no longer allergic to those things, but now he has a bad reaction to grasses in the spring. Good luck.

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answers from Champaign on

When I met my husband I had a 7 year old cat. My cat had been with me since I had graduated college, saw me through a divorce and was truly my baby. Sadly, my husband is allergic to cats. When we decided to move in together I would break down in tears every time we tried discussing what to do with the cat. He eventually broke down and let me bring the cat with me. We kept the cat out of bedrooms, off the furniture and in the basement at night and when we weren't home. We had hardwood floors which made cleaning up hair easier. Even with all of that my husband's allergies worsened over the course of the next 5 years. He felt sick all the time, he developed asthma and was generally miserable. He finally got another round of allergy tests and his allergist said that we absolutely needed to get the cat out of our house. I was lucky to find him a good home where I could occasionally visit him. I understand the heartbreak of having to even consider finding a new home for your beloved pets. But it's definitely a possibility that it will be necessary. I would suggest putting out feelers to friends and family asking if anyone would be willing to take them in if it comes to that. Planning ahead and knowing that you have a back-up plan for them may help ease your stress.

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answers from Honolulu on

I am allergic to cats.
Never had them when I was a child.
My eyes swell up, I get itchy and I sneeze etc.
It is the fur and dander... that gets all over a home, that does it. As well as when the person pets a cat.
And all the dander/fur, gets everywhere. Even in the person.
How can you keep a cat only in certain rooms?
The cats have ALREADY been everywhere in the home.
Thus, their fur/dander, even if you can't see it... is everywhere.

I also, have Asthma.
My Mom, got Asthma too... because when I was older.... we had cats.
You see, once I was older, *I* could control whether or not I touched our cats. I love, animals. These were stray kittens that was abandoned, the Mom had died, and I took them in. So, when/if I touched the cats, I did NOT touch my face or anything. And washed my hands immediately after.
But STILL... the dander and fur... gets everywhere. IF the cats are IN THE HOUSE.

You can keep your cats, as outdoor cats.
NOT in the home.

It can be very miserable, to have all these allergy flare ups, because of a pet.
I take Claritin. It works for me. But still, IF I touch a cat and then it somehow gets on my face... I itch/my eyes swell up and it is not fun.

Get rid of the cats.
You cannot... predict if your child will get worse. Each person, is, different.
And, there is NO way, to completely clean a home, DAILY, of the fur and dander that gets on everything and into the atmosphere.

Just explain to her that this is a health, issue.
She is 6. Don't make her "responsible" for why you have to get rid of the cats. It is a health, issue.
Or, simply, keep the cats outdoors.

Yes, a person can get Asthma from allergens. My mom did.

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answers from Las Vegas on

do your cats go outside? if so, then maybe she is less allergic to the cats but rather the pollen that might attach itself to the cat's fur. Often, people don't even realize that if they suffer from allergies, you have to be vigilant about cleaning the animal's fur. Same goes with one's pillowcase, use a clean one every night because we too get allergens in our hair and once we lay our heads down on something, we are depositing the pollen...
I know cats don't like a bath... BUT.. it might be worth at least brushing them before you allow them back inside.. on the other hand, if they are house cats... then not sure what to do, but definitely change the pillow cases every night.. My son is allergic to dust/pollen and I find that this helps to some degree..

good luck

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answers from Portland on

Her allergy symptoms are minor. I would try using anti-histamines first. I suggest that taking the anti-histamine along with the other measures you've already taken will work.

Allergies run in my family. They haven't gotten worse over time.

As to the "allergy shiners," my 12 yo granddaughter has what appeared to be those. She had them as a toddler. She still has them. The allergist said that they apparently are not related to her allergies and that some people just have that pigmentation. Not to worry.

My granddaughter has asthma. Her allergies seem more serious than your daughters. They don't have pets. However, I have their dog and cat and she stays overnight with me nearly every week. Her allergy medication seems to help her because she does not have attacks at my house any more than she does at her house.

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answers from Chicago on

I want to suggest you build a cat den/cage/room/run whatever you will call it that is not IN the house but in the yard that still give the cats comforts. A friend bought a shed and had it re-made into one and that's where the cats live, she also was able to top enclose her yard, 8 ft privacy fence with prickley things angled in so the cat's can not climb out of the yard and were turned indoor/outdoor. This may be the solution you seek. Your daughter can have a cat free home but still have access to them freely and your cat's get a new and kinda cool lifestyle.

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answers from Roanoke on

Tossing the cats out of your loving home should not be the first action. Try some other things first. Definitely keep the cats out of your daughters room, and don't let them walk or sleep on her blankets, clothes, etc. Keep the cats groomed and clean, and indoors. Keep working with the doc to find a possible solution, but I agree that medicating your daughter shouldn't be the solution to keeping the cats. It may be inevitable that you have to get rid of them, but I understand your dilemma, as a mom and cat lover myself. I guess the point is, try some things first, make a decision after. Good luck. :)

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answers from Chicago on

I have been allergic to cats (and other items) my entire life. I also grew up around cats, with the same symptems you described in your daughter. Keep the cats! Not only are they members of the family, but you will do a dis-service to your child by removing them. I learned the hard way that leaving the cat environment, you loose some immunity to the allergent. I was miserable when I came home on college breaks. As an adult, I will always have a cat, so I can be around others who do as well. I do follow some guidelines, as you described, in the basement at night, not allowed inthe bedrooms, etc. Good luck!

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answers from Eugene on

Yes, I am allergic to cats and will probably always have at least one. If I weren't allergic, I'd become a cat lady and have 100.

To make it work, my cat gets a bath every week or two. With shampoo. She hates it, oh well. And we built a self-closing cat door at the stair landing so she stays downstairs where we have slate and wood floors that are easy to clean. She hates that, too and cries to come upstairs. But that's where the bedrooms and carpeting are so noooooo, even tho my kids beg to let her come up to be with them. There is also a product from the pet store that neutralizes dander and we used to spray it on her daily and wipe her fur with a damp towel. But I find that the baths do the trick so we let that chore go. So far, this routine has been successful. My kids have some allergies too but none of us requires medication because of the cat.

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answers from San Francisco on

My cat allergy quickly went to asthma issues. It started with just long hair cats but didn't take long to be an issue with all cats.

My suggestion would be to get rid of the cats. Even though she mostly has a stuffy nose, it can be miserable feeling that way all the time. I have many other allergies and they were not treated when I was a child. It wasn't until I was in 7th grade health class that I learned that I was supposed to be breathing through my nose (which was always stuffy) and not my mouth.

I have met people allergic to cats who manage to keep them. They do it by having an immaculately clean house and vacuuming every day.

If you do want to try to make it better and keep the cats, my suggestions would be the following:
- get hardwood floors if you don't have them already. Carpet tends to trap the dander and make allergies worse.
- When sweeping/vacuuming the floors, do it when your daughter isn't around and preferably at least an hour (or more) before she will be home. This gives any lingering dust/dander a chance to settle.
- Keep the cats out of her room at all times. You will have to teach everyone to close her bedroom door every single time...even if just leaving for a minute.
- Keep the cats off furniture that she may sit on. Or if you can't do that, cover the furniture with something that she can take off when she wants to sit down.
- If your daughter pets the cats, which she really shouldn't do, she should wash her hands before touching her face or eating.
- Normally, I'd suggest leaving windows open as much as possible for fresh air, but if she has ragweed and grass allergies, that won't help.

It's very hard to manage the dander in the house. It would be more effective with respect to treating her allergies to remove the cats. Even then it may take a while to get rid off all the dander...especially if you have carpets.

ETA: As an FYI, allergy test results are not an indication of the severity of the reaction. For example, my skin test result for cat allergies doesn't show as a severe allergy with respect to the test results, however, it still causes a severe reaction in myself when exposed to the allergen. The allergy test results just tell you that you are allergic, but they do not tell you what kind of reaction you will have. My son tests off the chart for nut allergies, but that doesn't automatically mean that the slightest contact with nuts will send him into shock. A high test result does decrease the likelihood of outgrowing it though. Being "a little" allergic to something with respect to test results does not mean you will only have minor reactions. The only way to know what kind of reaction you will have is to be exposed to the allergen. In the case of your daughter it's a stuffy nose and allergy shiners. The allergy shiners could be a sign that she is not sleeping well, which will affect the rest of her day. You will have to address the other allergies as well, but there is really no way to know what reactions are from the other allergens and what are from the cats until you can eliminate/reduce the exposure.

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