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ihavequestions's avatar

Can someone who is allergic to cats...live with a cat?

Asked by ihavequestions (11 points ) August 4th, 2010

This is probably a stupid question. But I’m REALLY desperate for cheap housing and I found a really affordable place in my city in the PERFECT location with some roommates that, for once, look really cool. Problem is, they have 2 cats. I’m pretty allergic to cats, as in they make me sneeze a lot and even a little bit of breathing trouble.

Should this prevent me from taking the apartment? Is it possible to just…work through it and become immune? The housing search is getting really frustrating. Please advise.

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21 Answers

bob_'s avatar

You could stay in your room most of the time, but you’d still have to deal with the allergy. I’d suggest you keep looking for a cat-free place.

ipso's avatar

Welcome to Fluther!

Are they by chance Siberian?

They are hypo-allergenic. (i.e. you won’t be affected by them.)

WestRiverrat's avatar

Keep looking, unless you can spend at least a full afternoon/evening to see if you can tolerate the cats before deciding to take the apartment.

jazmina88's avatar

you would have to get weekly allergy shots til you get used to the allergen and then reduce the shots.

marinelife's avatar

I would keep looking. You are not going to get used to the dander of two cats.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I am allergic to cats, and I live with three of them. I love cats and wasn’t always allergic, but for some reason I now get the sniffles, sneezes and itchy eyes when it excessive contact with cat dander. When I go home for the summer to my house full of cat dander and dust, I’m usually very sneezy for the first week or so (or whenever I clean) but my body seems to get accustomed to it after a while and I can function quite normally.

If you do choose to live in that apartment with the cats, there are a number of things you can do to avoid having too much trouble with your allergy symptoms. Never let them in your bedroom, and change your sheets (especially pillow case) frequently. Take non-drowsy allergy pills like Claratin every day. Go to an doctor who specializes in allergies; some doctors do allergy treatments by testing what you are allergic to and giving you weekly shots to gradually increase your tolerance for those allergens. It’s a process that takes a few months, but it can be well worth it, especially if you do go for that living situation.

However, it does seem like your cat allergies are fairly severe compared to mine, especially if you have trouble breathing. Would it be possible for you to spend a day or two in the house before making a decision, to see how badly your allergies react?

MrsDufresne's avatar

Yes, it is possible. I used to be allergic to cats. I adopted a cat, and through constant exposure, the allergy went away. My immune system got used to the cat dander, and stopped producing histamines (which causes the sneezing, etc) My love for the cat was greater than my misery from the allergy. Good luck to you.

Jeruba's avatar

I did it for more than 40 years. Took a lot of allergy meds during that time, too. And I’m still taking allergy meds, because I was and am allergic to a lot more than cats. If just removing them would have cleared everything up, that would have been different, but it wouldn’t.

However, during that time I did once or twice enter a household where a young adult male cat presided, one that must have had extremely strong pheromones or something, because I teared and snuffled up instantly and didn’t recover until I was well away from the place. If these guys affect you like that, stay away.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@Jeruba The male cat you mentioned may not have been neutered; @ihavequestions, you should make sure both cats are fixed before you decide to move in. Not only could non-fixed animals aggravate your allergies like they did @Jeruba,‘s but they’re more difficult to deal with on the whole.

YARNLADY's avatar

It depends on how badly your allergies affect you, and whether the allergy remedies work for you. If you are severely affected, don’t do it.

madmax303's avatar

My aunt is allergic to cats and she has 2. She gets allergie shots for it, but it still affects her a little bit

SuperMouse's avatar

My ex-husband is allergic to cats and during our marriage we had several. He usually started out pretty miserable, but seemed to build up a tolerance over time. These results may not be typical, move in at your own risk, and bring Claritin!

SamIAm's avatar

I’m TERRIBLY allergic to my two cats (I wasn’t when I got them but developed the allergies when they were about 4) and I live with them in a 275 sq ft. apartment. I have totally managed but have given up breathing and have also taken on 4 prescription meds… which don’t really work all that well at all (hence my not being able to breathe normally).

I’d suggest maybe staying with someone who has a cat or two for a few nights and see how it is. If you’re willing to take meds, they make eye drops that are great and the meds I’m on take away the sneezing at least. PM me if you need more info.

casheroo's avatar

I do it just fine. I take medication if I absolutely need it, but usually only if I get a sinus infection (which happens once a year) I just lint roll things, don’t really let them sleep at the top of the bed (if I go through a bad phase.then the cats can’t come in the bedroom.)
I honestly don’t think much of it. I knew they irritated my nose, but was shocked to learn I was allergic.

Mtl_zack's avatar

My dad and sister are allergic to cats, but they can be with them for a few days at a time. When we go visit my cousins who have cats, we stay there for a few days and it’s fine. Thy always keep claritin or some other allergy medication on hand.

Seaofclouds's avatar

It all depends on your allergies. I wasn’t always allergic to cats, but now my allergy continues to worsen over time. I’ve tried allergy shots and multiple allergy medications. For a while, I didn’t have a choice but to live with cats. Now I’m only around cats when visiting friends and family that have them. If I’m visiting someone with a cat, I have to take my inhaler and allergy medications around the clock and I’m still miserable the whole time.

RocketGuy's avatar

My brother was allergic to cats, until he adopted one. Now is is OK with cats.

I would not be so brave. During an allergy test, the poke with cat antigens swelled up to about 6” diameter. I think that means I am extremely allergic to cats. I’d spend more on allergy meds than I would gain with cat-ified roommates.

Kraigmo's avatar

Just keep the cats out of your room, and if you ever touch anything the cats touched, then wash your hands and face. Always, with no exceptions.

I used to be allergic to cats, but hardly at all now. It goes away with repeated exposure, for some people. (But for others, that makes it worse).

Surreality's avatar

Like many of the posters, and yourself, I am allergic, yet lived with two cats for over a year (like you, good housing situation). I just took a regular strong dose of antihistamine every evening, Claritin non drowsy during the day, kept them out of my room, and had calamine lotion for the eventual hives. It varies for all of us, but if you are prepared, it’s doable. Forgetting these can be a problem though. Ask yourself which you prefer, keeping on top of everything or finding osmewhere else.

metalmayhem's avatar

You could actually even get better from your allergies by living with cats. I used to be super allergic to them, and the first cat I had left me with bad sneezing and itchy eyes (and sometimes more) the 1st month I lived with her, but I refused to take meds, and it got better and better and now I have 6 cats and I have NO allergies at all. I am even resistant to allergies now (pollen, dust and anything else). I know of a girl and his brother who were super allergic to cats and then they got one 1st and then another one and their allergies disappeared as well, specially the girl’s, who used to get super sick by being near cats. The only thing though is that I don’t let them in my room. My friends do though and they are fine, but I still prefer not to. I hope everything worked out for you, and don’t be afraid of kitties due to allergies, your immune system has to do its job, and for that it needs training against its enemies to build strength. I don’t recommend that bunch of meds since, then you’d only be dependent on them to feel fine, and your immune system could do that job for you for free and without hurting your stomach and liver.

jhonnybrown's avatar

no way., just get away from there…

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