Please can anyone help me? I would like a cat but I'm allergic. - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Please can anyone help me? I would like a cat but I'm allergic.

As mentioned in my intro thread:
I grew up with 6 as a child, I was never allergic until I reached my early 20s and developed asthma.

I love cats so much, I really do want to adopt a cat, maybe more but I would like one that won't put my health at risk and is super friendly.

I understand that the feline saliva and pet dandruff is the main cause that triggers off allergy symptoms.

Which cat would be best for me? And I'm going to adopt him or her from a rescue shelter so they don't die.
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:33 AM
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I'm allergic to my older cat Tessie (short hair) and for some reason I'm not with my kitten Stella (long hair). Everyday I take 2 different types of allergy medication (nasal spray and pill in the AM and Pill in the PM). I could not imagine my life without these furry kids so I learn to deal with it
I found this online, thought maybe it would help answer your question...
Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds | petMD
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Old 09-26-2014, 02:38 PM
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I am allergic to cats as well. In my parent's house I would be sneezing with red itchy eyes within 10 minutes. I adopted a small kitten from the shelter. Being small he had less dander and I was able to build up an immunity to it. It also helps to brush them often. Now I can sit at my parent's house for hours with only a few sneezes.

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Old 09-26-2014, 03:04 PM
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I replied to your allergy question in your intro thread before seeing that you'd started a thread specifically regarding the allergy issue, so apologies for the double post. (Mods, feel free to do what you need to do).

Cat-related allergies can be tricky for cat lovers because, as you note in your post, it's not just the hair that people are allergic to, but also a particular protein (Fel d 1) that is secreted by cats, most notably in the saliva. There have been various studies done on the relative levels of this protein present in different cat breeds, the results of which are somewhat controversial; but, based on these studies, as well as anecdotal evidence, such as Emiline's, many people believe that cats of the following breeds tend to trigger less of an allergic reaction in those with Fel d 1 allergies: Siberian, Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, Russian Blue, Oriental Shorthair, Siamese, Balinese, Abyssinian, etc.

That said, there are multiple forms of Fel d 1, and not everyone who is allergic to Fel d 1 is going to react in the same way to any given cat; it depends on the cat and what their specific allergies are; like my brother-in-law, whose allergies are very minor in response to his own cat, but he has a hard time when he comes over to our house. The majority of cat-related allergies are caused primarily by Fel d 1 in one form or another, however, not everyone who is allergic to cats is actually allergic to Fel d 1, and many people who are also have secondary allergies to other feline proteins.

There are 8 feline proteins that have been shown to cause allergies in humans. Some people are only allergic to one of these proteins, some are allergic to two or three, it depends on the person. Cat allergies in people who are also allergic to horses, for example, are likely caused by an allergy to Fel d 4, specifically. Unfortunately, there hasn't been much research at all done on the relative levels of these other proteins present in specific cat breeds, which makes choosing a "hypoallergenic" cat a more difficult prospect for those with allergies to a protein other than, or in addition to, Fel d 1.

The best advice I can give you is to go out and meet cats, whether they're purebred cats that are generally accepted as having lower Fel d 1 levels (there are purebred cat rescues, although not nearly as many as exist for dogs, if you're intent on rescuing a cat--which I support 10,0000%), or moggies from a shelter. Ask your cat owner friends and family members if you can come over and spend time interacting with their cats to see how your allergies react. Take a non-drowsy antihistamine before you visit to get a better sense of whether the positives of cat ownership outweigh the inconvenience and expense of taking a daily allergy med. Coming to an agreement with a rescue about fostering a cat, with the hope of adopting him or her if your allergies are manageable after a month or so of living with the cat, is another great way for cat lovers with allergies to find a furry friend that they can afford to be around and interact with in the same way that any non-allergic cat owner does.

Proud people-mommy of Galileo, Dante, Cosette, Autumn,
Ramona & Choco-cat (and foster kitty, Poe).

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Old 09-26-2014, 05:39 PM
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I am also allergic to cats. My eyes would swell up like those bug-eyed goldfish and it would be hard for me to breath, plus the typical runny nose and itchy eyes. I brought a kitten home who was very young, much too young to be away from his mom, and later on brought in his sibling. Both are about 17 weeks old now and my allergies have not flared. I think it may be because they were so young when I brought them home that I built an immunity.

Even though my allergies haven't flared, I still made an appointment with an allergist specialist and ordered the cat serum for weekly injections. I give myself a small shot once a week.
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Old 09-26-2014, 06:15 PM
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I am allergic to cats also. When I was living at home, we adopted Pumpkin as a kitten. I kept her out of my bedroom, but I always cuddled and played with her. When it was allergy season, I did not brush her. If she scratched or bit me, the area would become a welt. I learned to wash it immediately.
I could 'feel' a coating on my hands when I petted her. I just washed my hands. Pumpkin lived with us for 18 years!

Fast forward: Now I am in my late, late 50's. I adopted Artie 2.5 years ago. He has the run of the apartment, sleeps on my bed, on my lap, I cuddle with him, clip his nails, and brush him. I wash my hands after I brush him--mostly because of all the fur on me.
I now have asthma and allergies. Yes, when he bites or scratches me, I do get a welt, if I do not wash that area out immediately.
My asthma is under control. I take a zyrtec and sometime a nasal spray.
My doctor told me to get rid of him because of the asthma. I refused to! I can put my face into his fur, and I do not sneeze. (sometimes some itchy eyes, but mostly in the summer --allergy season)

I looked things up on the web. You can find a lot of information about people adopting cats when they have allergies/asthma.

I chose a short haired, older (8 yrs when I adopted him), neutered male cat.
I think I read somewhere that these are the major factors in decreasing the allergen--forget the name of it FeL(?)......
Artie is also orange....

good luck, try it---I mean if you adopt from a humane society, make sure you can return the cat because of your allergies.

ps...try to keep them out of your room---easier said than done!!
I did for 3 days!!!! now Artie sleeps with me!
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Old 09-26-2014, 06:21 PM
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I did visit a friend who has 2 cats, a few times.. I stuck my face in their fur---nothing happened!
I also went to Petsmart where they have cats from a local humane society. I went into the cat room, played with them for a while, did not wash my hands for a long time (several hours) or change my clothes.
I wanted to see my reaction to them.

They do say you can build up and immunity to, at least your own cat, after a while...

I had a bout of asthmatic bronchitis about a month after I adopted Artie. That is when my doctor told me to get rid of him. Artie was cuddling with me and would not leave my side. He is my 'cat=nurse"...
I knew in my heart that Artie was not aggravating my asthma.---and he doesn't...

Good Luck!
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Old 09-26-2014, 07:57 PM
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I'm pretty sure I built up an immunity too. When I was younger, I was very allergic, which is one reason I never particularly liked cats. But for me, the allergies were the red itchy eyes, sneezing, and puffing up if I got a scratch and didn't wash it immediately, like Artiesmom. I didn't suffer from asthma, which seems like a much more potentially serious issue.

With my first cat, and for the first few years with my current two, I was allergic during allergy season. But that's really decreased over time, to the point where I wouldn't even say I'm allergic now. It's still not a smart move for me to handle them and then touch anywhere near my eyes, but either I've just internalized not doing that or I'm now nearly 100% immune - at least to my own kitties.

I hope you'll find something that works for you!
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:42 PM
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Bengals are expensive...but we have had friends/family over since we got our three, and not a one has had a single bit of a reaction. They have a pelt, rather than fur, so that helps matters. Added benefit....VERY minimal shedding; I wear a lot of black and no cat hair on me (unless I have touched/sat on something that was Mocha's and still sheds hair). If you know of someone with bengals or contact a breeder to see if you react to them....might be a consideration. Breeders sometimes get kittens back and shelters sometimes get them as well. They are extremely high energy, so some people find they don't like and send them back/to shelters.

...Always in my heart... Mocha....Nov. 13, 2002 - Dec. 6, 2013
.... Slave to Bengal Cats....Luna, Mystik, Simba, Komet, Meli,
, and Star
.....and a collection of kittens at various times.
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Old 09-29-2014, 02:12 PM
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I had a friend who took in a stray cat to live with him and his wife. My friend developed terrible allergies, to the point that they desperately tried to rehome the cat, and then tearfully gave it up to the shelter But happy ending! They discovered some sort of allergy shot that was covered by their insurance, and he gave that a try, and they were able to reclaim their cat, and have been living happily since with manageable symptoms!

Also, I have a mild cat allergy, but a daily generic zyrtec (ceterizine 10mg) at bedtime keeps it in check.
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