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Help!, I'm allergic to my G/F's Cat

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by StephenK, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. StephenK

    StephenK Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey all,

    So the short story is, my girlfriend's moving in with me soon, and I'm mildly allergic to her cat. After a few hours, I'm usually very congested, with post nasal drip and fairly frequent sneezing.

    So working with the assumption that the cat and G/F are a package deal, (can't make the bedroom a cat free zone), what can I do to lessen the severity?

    I've heard of some kind of wipes. I also heard that frequent vacuuming with a Hepa filter vacuum helps keep the dander controlled (suggestions of models are appreciated).

    Any advice would help.

    Thanks
    Steve

    p.s. I actually really like the cat, she's very affectionate, and likes to "kiss" me, which of course only makes it worse.
     
  2. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    Frasier: It's no use, I'm alergic to your cat.

    Kate (Mercedes Reule): I understand there's a shot.

    Frasier: Yeeeeesss, and I understand it's completely painless. Oh...you meant for me.


    Just joking, really. I'm a huge animal lover and I'm glad to see that you like animals enough not to turn this into an ultimatum. I'm pretty sure you'd lose anyway. [​IMG]

    In all seriousness, check with your doctor. He may have to refer you to a specialist, but I understand that there is a shot for this kind of thing.
     
  3. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Sounds to me like the GF is the one making the ultimatum. JMHO, but anyone who is willing to make their human spouse/GF/BF/other suffer for a pet has a few priorities in the wrong place. Note - I am an animal lover and I love pets, it's just that I've often (not all the time, but often) found I love my girlfriends a bit more. Call me ... I don't know ... normal.
     
  4. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Health before pets...
     
  5. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

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    I know people who have had a lot of success taking prescription Zyrtec, which IIRC is the only allergy medication currently on the market that deals with pet allergies.
     
  6. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    Careful with the "N" word there Jeff. [​IMG]

    Let's not put words in the girlfriend's mouth. What I'm getting is that the cat is important to the girl, and that makes it important to Stephen as well. There's nothing demanding or sinsiter about that. It's actually quite admirable.

    Besides, he also said that he genuinely likes the cat and the allergy is mild...not posing a health concern. If he's willing to put up with some discomfort for a while his body will slowly develop a resistance to the cat dander which is likely causing the symptoms.

    That being said, since the girlfriend is moving in with you, I would think that a reasonable compromise would be to at least keep the bedroom off limits to the cat...at least until you're acclimated. You're not nixing her beloved pet all together. You're just creating a refuge for your symptoms as well as claiming some privacy for the two of you. If you approach it that way, maybe she'll be open to the idea. Unless she's turned on by you very congested, with post nasal drip and fairly frequent sneezing. [​IMG]
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well, if treatments don't work, will she get rid of the cat? Acclimation doesn't always work and what may happen instead is an increased sensitization. They do have those hairless cats.
     
  8. StephenK

    StephenK Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul, that's pretty much the situation and thanks for the support.

    It's not like I would break up with someone because of their cat, and it's not like we HAVE to live together. We just want to. However, I'm not going to make her give up her pet of 7 years to who knows what. Pets can become like family members and hers is definitely that important. It if gets really bad, the bedroom will be off limits, if it gets really really bad, then we'll have to make some hard decisions. Would she give up her cat for me? probably. Do I want to make her do it? hell no.

    Chu,

    It's not that she has to have a cat, it's that she already HAS one. I can't bring myself to make her give it away or worse. If this one passes away, she wouldn't get another.

    However, still looking for some solid ways to reduce/alleviate the inevitable discomfort.

    Thanks
    Steve
     
  9. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I would start with an OTC antihistimine like loratadine (Claritin). Those can help for mild cases and are generally safe to take on a daily basis.

    Also, invest in a good vacuum cleaner. Personally I've got a Dyson -- the "Animal" model with a powerful tool for cleaning couches and other places that cats like to hang out. Many people think the Dyson is overpriced (see the Dyson thread in this forum) and offer some potential alternatives.

    If you're going to let the cats in your bedroom, there's going to be a lot more cat hair than you can imagine. I just got married 8 months ago and my wife brought 2 cats into the marriage. The amount of cat hair is pretty amazing -- although I guess they're fairly long-haired cats. Plan on doing laundry very often, especially your sheets as cats tend to like to sleep on beds.
     
  10. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    I doubt that you will ever adjust if you have a cat allergy. They are about the worst. I could not have married my wife if she hadn't given her two cats to her parents.

    Does she have a family member or friend that would adopt the cat?
     
  11. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Speaking from second-hand experience....my wife has dog an cat allergies:

    Keeping the bedroom cat-free won't work unless the bedroom has it's own HVAC system and you also seal the door.

    Being around an allergen for long periods of time is only going to make it worse. If you are currently only mildly allergic, in the future, you are more likely to have the severity increase.

    Medications and/or allergy shots do not work for everyone.

    You need to have a discussion about what to do if the precautions don't work before moving in.
     
  12. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Is there a river near by? (sorry, thinking of HOUSE)
     
  13. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    From what I recall cat allergies have little or nothing to do with cat hair or even dander per se. What humans tend to allergic to is an enzyme in cat saliva. The cat gooms itself, depositing saliva on its fur. The saliva dries and flakes off. Some of it sticks to the hair, which can shed, some of it transfers directly to fabric and carpet, some of it just floats away in the air, causing you to sneeze.

    My brother-in-law, nephew and niece all have cat allergies. I have two cats. Just walking into my condo used to be enough to reduce all of them to sneezing, runny-eyed zombies. [​IMG] A few weeks ago my brother-in-law and nephew spent a long Saturday helping me paint the living room, dining room, hallway kitchen and one bathroom. Neither of them so much as sniffled until late in the day when my nephew was working in the hall just outside the spare bedroom where the cats were hold up.

    The secret? The 25-year-old carpet, embedded with hair from who-know-many-cats beside two years of my own, was ripped out the week before they arrived and replaced with wood laminate and ceramic tile. The two bedrooms still had the old carpet, but since they stayed out of them, they didn't have a problem. The hard-surface floors catch and hold less of the "cat dust", hair is spotted easily and picked up with a Swiffer or vacuum (Dyson animal - I swear by it.) Keep the carpet clean and keep the cats out of the bed (there are harmless sprays for this kind of thing. I used to use an infra-red motion detector alarm angled across my dining room table to keep my guys off it.) I keep the (self-cleaning) litter box, filled with premium, clumping, low dust litter - Tidy Cat Multi-Cat - in an enclosed box out on the balcony. (One of those patio cushion storage hampers with a cat-door cut into one side and a pass-through for the litter box power cord cut into the other.)

    If you can avoid the airborne stuff, keep the hair and "dust" on floors and furniture under control and wash soon after the cat licks you, you may hardly notice the cat is around.

    Good luck with the girl and the cat.

    (And allow me to be the first to congratulate my fellow-HTFers for taking the high-road and not making any of the obvious cat-nickname jokes. [​IMG] )

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  14. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Classic! Man I love that show.
     
  15. StephenK

    StephenK Stunt Coordinator

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    Joe, et al.

    Thanks for the tips, I'll try them all, and I'm definitely going to get the Dyson.



    I'm also surprised, but I just think no one's thought of the pu**y-whipped line yet [​IMG]

    I'm willing to try it all until there are no other options, but I know giving up her kitty will break her heart.
     
  16. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Outside of the Dyson, the suggestion regarding litter is #1. Consider that very important. Also, here's one a lot of people screw up: try to keep the litter away from where you prepare food (like anywhere in your kitchen).
     
  17. Sean*H

    Sean*H Auditioning

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    I have severe dog and cat allergies and currently live with 5 dogs (MinPins). ZyrtecD once a day (5mg) completely eliminates my allergic reaction. Getting rid of the dogs was not an option when I met my wife. Accepting the dogs was a non-negotiable item in our relationship. If your girlfriend is likewise uncompromising on the subject, try the Zyrtec. Occasionally I need to take two pills in a day, but it works really well (2 or 3 dogs even sleep in the bed with us at night).
     
  18. Mark Dill

    Mark Dill Stunt Coordinator

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    Generic claritin (loratidine) works wonders for me and it is very affordable. About $15 for a 2-month supply from Walmart.
     
  19. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    If she loves you, she'll get rid of the cat.
     
  20. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    If she loves the cat, he has to respect that.
     

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