Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Includes Expert Content
Allergic to Cats
avatar
TMard posted:
I am allergic to cats. Not deathly allergic, but any time I touch them I get watery and itchy eyes, runny and stuffy nose, sneeze my head off, and cough a lot. However, I love cats and I would love to have one, so I was wondering if anyone else here is allergic to cats. If you are, could you tell me how you cope (if you are around them)?

I was also wondering if there is anything that I could do, like taking a daily allergy pill or having allergy shots, that would allow me to own a cat.

Any advice would be appreciated!
Reply
 
avatar
choo_chu responded:
I have a cat and I take allergy meds and allergy shots. Due to my allergies my asthma is only partially controlled...I sleep through the night maybe once or twice a week without waking up coughing or whatever. I have to take a bunch of environmental controls and can't interact with my cat much...fortunately my spouse can so my cat doesn't feel ignored. I've had my cat for 8 years and I can't bear to part with her. My doctor has told me 500 times to get rid of my cat...it took some effort on my part, but my doctor is working with me so I can keep my cat.

My advice...avoid all the problems...skip the cat and get a rabbit. They make wonderful pets! I have a few myself.

Good Luck.
 
avatar
TMard responded:
Hmm. Well, I love rabbits too, but I don't know. There's just something about cats and kittens that I love, and I can't seem to stop playing with them. I just thought that if maybe I took an every day allergy medicine, like Claritin, Zyrtec, or Allegra, along with allergy shots (maybe), then I could have a cat.
 
avatar
Aqua14 responded:
If you don't already have allergic asthma, if you adopt a cat you run the risk of developing it. Believe me, having asthma is no picnic, and the medications and doctor's visits are very expensive, not to mention that you run the risk of hospitalization during serious attacks. If you have asthma, it takes about 2 months after a cold for your lungs to return to normal. And there are lots of other "rules" you have to follow to feel normal, which I won't go into here.

Allergy shots would probably help, but they take 3 - 5 years to reach full effectiveness. (For me it was 3 years.) In the meantime likely you'd need to take not only an antihistamine, but probably several other allergy meds as well (nasal steroid, antihistamine eye drop, Singulair, nasal antihistamine, etc.). You'd probably also get more sinus infections, because the allergy meds would not completely eliminate your symptoms.

So I would echo the other poster: don't get a cat yourself, just play with cats at someone else's house, and before you go over there pretreat with an antihistamine like Zyrtec.

Hope these thoughts help. Take care & good luck. Judy
 
avatar
sgbl88 responded:
I agree with Judy. I don't think getting a cat would be a wise idea knowing that you are severely allergic to them. Not only would you have the cost of having a cat, but you would have the added cost of all the medicines Judy mentioned. They aren't cheap. Then if you did develope asthma, there would be more expensive medicine.

Do some research on other pet options before you make a decission. A pet can add to your quality of life, but if it makes you sick... You might want something you can keep caged so that it doesn't get in your bedroom like a ferrat, gerbil or hamster. Just some other thoughts.

Sonya
 
avatar
TMard responded:
Thank you all for your advice. I am an animal lover in general, so sacrificing the ability to own a cat isn't bad. I have recently gotten a puppy and love her.

Is it normal for someone to be allergic to cats and not to dogs?
 
avatar
SSkilling responded:
I am allergic to cats but not dogs. It is definitely possible to be allergic to one but not the other. I understand how you feel about wanting a cat but being allergic. I hope you are able to find another pet that won't make you sick. I have heard that rabbits are very good pets. I have seen video that showed that they are fun, smart, and interactive. Ferrets are fun too although some people do not like their musky scent. I had ferrets years ago and enjoyed them a lot. My husband doesn't like them unfortunately so I don't have them now. Whatever pets you get, I hope you enjoy them.
 
avatar
lmn82 responded:
I too have cat allergies but now have a cat. I found a product that neutralizes dander, saliva, and hair on line. We kept our cat out of the bedroom and office (the two rooms I am in most of the time). Treating the cat according to directions. After a year I found I can now be around him without wheezing or my eyes swelling up. Still have to be careful not to rub my eyes after petting him ( they no longer swell but do itch). After consulting with my allergy/asthma specialist I found out it is possible for a person with cat allergies to become immune to one cat. Yes other cats still bother me but I am able to enjoy ours. We have had him almost nine years.
 
avatar
Goodytwo responded:
Me, too. I'm also allergic to cats, but not severely. Love them lots, have had cats most of my long life and they have always been indoor cats.

Here's how I cope: I use over-the-counter antihistamine tabs and cortizone ointment as needed, take extra vitamin C tabs to boost my immune system, don't let the cat sleep in my bed or hang out in my bedroom, keep my face away from the cat and wash my hands after petting it. Also, I occasionally use an anti-alergen lotion on my cat's fur that neutralizes the allergens it produces.

I have learned from experience that after living with a cat for awhile, I seem to develop a stronger resistance to the allergy effects of all cats.

Hope this helps.
 
avatar
smtheman1993 responded:
I have an allergy to cats, and asthma. I've done shots before, and did find them helpful. I've had cats for many, many years. Sometimes I've had 2 at time, other times 4, 7, now I have my 1, he is 16.5 years old. I feel a lot better with 1 or 2, but I just can't resist raising them. I adore them! I believe I adjust to my cats physically.

So that is my story. I wish you luck!
 
avatar
Goodytwo responded:
Me, too. I'm allergic to cats, but not severely. I love them lots and have had cats around me most of my long life. In recent years, they have been strictly indoor cats. They are so cute and I would love to hug and smooch them, but must avoid that (I let other family members do it). I enjoy feline company, and they love me because I feed them, talk to them, and play with them...and oh, yes, I clean the litterbox daily.

Here's how I cope: I use antihistamine tabs and cortizone oinment as needed, take extra vitamin C tabs to boost my immune system, keep my face away from their fur, wash my hands after a petting or grooming session, and never let them sleep in my bed or hang out in my bedroom. Also, I use anti-allergen lotion on the cat's fur occasionally. This neutralizes the protein in the cat's saliva which is the main source of the allergy. The lotion can be purchased in most pet supply stores.

I have learned from experience that when I have a cat in my home, I gradually build up a stronger resistence to the allergy. When I am catless for a long while, my resistence weakens. This might not apply to everyone. WebMD has helped me a lot in learning about cat care. I hope this helps you.
 
avatar
vochee responded:
I am a life long asthma sufferer. My astma has now developed into COPD., far worse When I was younger and just asthmatic, the most important thing was to be able to breathe and simply staying alive. Nothing should stand in the way of this breathing business. It should be your primary focus. The cat will compromise your health.. It's just not worth it to take a chance. Forgedaboutit.
 
avatar
navywife2013 responded:
I have 4 Cats in my house. I'm allergic to eveything but dogs. I get my Allergy shots every week. I guess you just learn to live w/ it.
 
avatar
KayeSkinner52 responded:
I have been allergic to cats my whole life, and I have three at the moment. My son moves in and out of my apartment from time to time with his 4 cats, usually making 7 total. What I do is to dust and clean at last once a week. Keep your furniture covered. Sweep every other day. And the most important thing is to brush your cats 2-3 times a week, with a brush that has been dipped in water. By getting them wet, you neutralize the dander some. I take allergy tablets every day, and my asthma meds everyday. After I brush my cats with water, I must then take a shower myself. It is up to you, but I would never be without them. I do love them so much. It is highly suggested that you don't allow any of your cats in your bedroom, but I love cuddling with them to go to sleep. My asthma and allergies are controlled. I used to take allergy shots and that helped alot, but I can no longer pay for them.
 
avatar
meadow555 responded:
You can research "siberian cats" online, and read about them. Some people report that they have no problem having one in spite of bad allergies/ asthma. Some breeders actually test for the level of allergen in their cats. They are known to have a very small level of the protein that makes people allergic. We got one, and it has worked out for us, thank God. I got a light-colored female, because light-colored coats, and females are known to have less allergens than dark-colored and males. Some people still cannot tolerate a siberian, but there are so many peole who are thrilled that it has worked for them. Of course, they are purebreed cats, and are expensive. They have only been in this country for 20 yrs. They are long haired, have no dander, and only shed once a year. Their fur is like a chinchilla, not like a usual cat. It is not fool-proof, but it has worked out for lots of people, you can research the siberian cat online. The breed was also featured on Animal Planet recently in one of their "Cats 101" shows, and they talked about how people w/ allergies are so happy about this breed. Also I would say get a large room HEPA filter, HEPA vacuum, keep the cat out of your bedroom just in case.


Helpful Tips

Relief for urticaria
I had suffered from hives for six years until one doctor (an allergist) finally discovered that it was chronic urticaria. I am allergic to ... More
Was this Helpful?
5 of 5 found this helpful

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For more information, visit the Duke Health Asthma and Allergies Center