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Very Confusing Cat Allergy???
ltrain2277 posted:
My husband is very allergic to cats. Any exposure to cat fur makes his eyes hurt and turn red.

Recently, we got two Bengal cats, and they don't bother his eyes one little bit. (Bengals are a wildcat mix with a pelt instead of domestic cat fur, and they don't really shed.)

But in the past few weeks, he has had some difficulty breathing. The doctors ran every test in the book and found nothing, so my hubby assumes he's allergic to our cats.

Cats have never given him breathing problems, only eye issues. Sooo is it even possible for this to be the case? I don't understand how.
coughy16 responded:
Yes, it's very possible! When a person is allergic to something, the more exposure they have to the allergen, the worse the symptoms can get. It sounds like possibly his cat allergy has escalated into triggering an asthma flare. He should get checked out by an allergist. It doesn't matter whether the cat sheds or not, as it's not the fur that causes the allergic reaction.
ltrain2277 replied to coughy16's response:
What's puzzling though is the lack of reaction in his eyes. With any other cat, they immediately act up, but nothing happens around these two. Shouldn't his eyes be acting up, as well as his breathing? Or maybe since they're an "exotic" breed, he's just unlucky enough to also be allergic to the wildcat in them?
Thank you for the reply, we'll definitely check into it and hopefully find an answer soon.
coughy16 replied to ltrain2277's response:
Not necessarily, allergies can be really strange, and change over time. Certain things that I am allergic to don't really give me so many typical allergy symptoms, but set off my asthma instead. And my reactions to the things I am allergic to have changed from mainly congestion, itchy watery eyes to asthma attacks in many cases. His best bet is to see an allergist. Asthma can be very dangerous if not treated properly, so if there is a chance that he might be experiencing allergy induced asthma, it is really important that he see a doctor about it. I guess when he decided to get 2 cats even though he knew he was allergic he didn't realize that the more you are exposed to an allergen, the worse your reaction can get. If the problem is the cats & you are attached to them, he might be able to try allergy shots to help.
ltrain2277 replied to coughy16's response:
Thank you for your help! We'll get him checked out right away. He hates shots, but neither of us want to get rid of them, so maybe we'll try that.
I've heard bathing them with a special allergy shampoo can help a lot. Do you know if that's true? If so, this would be pretty easy since they don't mind water.
coughy16 replied to ltrain2277's response:
Not sure about the shampoo, but I know from experience that it is really difficult to get rid of cat allergen once it's in your house. My sister ended up having to get her carpet ripped out (previous owners of her house had cats) because both she & her husband had so many problems. It would also be best to keep them out of the bedroom. Maybe keeping the bedroom door shut at all times so the cats never get in there would help. Ha ha, I hate shots too, but they have helped my asthma so much that they have been worth it!
ltrain2277 replied to coughy16's response:
How often do you need to get the allergy shot?

The cats are only allowed in the living room and kitchen, so the bedroom should be fine.
We're also looking into getting a vaccuum cleaner with a HEPA filter for some extra help.
coughy16 replied to ltrain2277's response:
Normally when you start the shots, you go weekly, then after some months maybe biweekly, and then once you reach the maintenance dose, it's once/month. The shots are pretty painless, as they use the finest needle & just inject it right under the skin, but arms can be sore & itchy after the shots for some people.

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