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Cat Allergies...any advice?

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  • Cat Allergies...any advice?

    We brought our new barn kittens into our home a few months ago. It started after we had them spayed and has since morphed into a full time arrangement. I'm actually relieved, the one kitten is very brave and would follow me on trail rides, I'd have to pluck her out of the trailer before I would leave, etc.

    One of my sons came home from college on break last week and has been sick ever since. I'm trying to find out if there are any tips on dealing with this. He doesn't really "live" here anymore since he is in school and will be for the next 3 years, but, this is his home, will be here during the summers and breaks, and I want to make him comfortable. I've isolated the kittens from him this week and vacuumed like crazy. Can I make this work?

  • #2
    Originally posted by BellaLuna View Post
    We brought our new barn kittens into our home a few months ago. It started after we had them spayed and has since morphed into a full time arrangement. I'm actually relieved, the one kitten is very brave and would follow me on trail rides, I'd have to pluck her out of the trailer before I would leave, etc.

    One of my sons came home from college on break last week and has been sick ever since. I'm trying to find out if there are any tips on dealing with this. He doesn't really "live" here anymore since he is in school and will be for the next 3 years, but, this is his home, will be here during the summers and breaks, and I want to make him comfortable. I've isolated the kittens from him this week and vacuumed like crazy. Can I make this work?
    I would suggest having him load up a week or so before he visits on an OTC allergy medication, like Allegra or Zyrtec while he's home.

    I have a cat (love him to pieces) but he does aggravate my allergies, especially in the summer and sometimes over the winter. I use the OTC Allegra and that takes care of my itchy noses, watery eyes, sneezing, etc.
    Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars


    • #3
      Neti pot too, while he's home, to wash things out!


      • #4
        Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Ordinary vacuums just blow the allergens into the air, making the situation worse for the sufferer.

        Bathing the cats might help, as it will reduce the amount of hair and dander they shed temporarily.

        Wash all the sheets, curtains, and other dust trappers before kiddo arrives.

        Try to eliminate other allergens as well. A lot of people with allergies find that the total quantity of allergens in the environment is the big problem. So, the cat alone might be tolerable, but the cat combined with pollen, smoke, dust, etc. is overwhelming.


        • #5
          Give the cats a bath once a week, not as hard as it sounds. I have cat allergies and I used to bathe my cats once a week. It does not have to include shampoo, you can just place the cat into a tub or sink and pour a pitcher of warm water over their fur and then towel dry. I used to apply conditioner (animal not human) as I found their coats would dry out a bit if I didn't. The advice came from the Dr. I consulted to treat my allergies. I would start bathing before your son arrives and continue while he is there. Make sure there are no fleas as parasites that cause itching will increase grooming and increase the amount of dander responsible for allergic reactions.


          • #6
            I'd also try to keep his bedroom cat free well before he arrives home to create a sort of "safe zone" from pet dander.


            • #7
              After the first bath, you may get by for many days by just rubbing the cats down daily with a warm wet towel well rung out.

              Most of the allergens are in the oils in the skin and those are water soluble.

              You can teach the cats to like it by making that rubbing a game with a dry towel first and later a bit more humid and eventually wet.
              I am very allergic and had to do that to be able to breathe.

              Also he needs to get on medication, ask his Dr.
              It is no fun to feel all the time like you have a cold that doesn't go away.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for the suggestions. I will put into place these ideas and get him to an Allergy Dr. No smoke in this house. Probably a bit of dust....

                Looking forward to trying to bathe these kittens. To put myself at such risk of bodily harm must prove how much I love my son.

                Thanks again.


                • #9
                  Bathing cats will go fine if you don't hold them down much, but kind of make it play.
                  It really is not about the bath itself, but that the cat gets wet and half dried, no soap needed and so no rinsing to perfection necessary.

                  You may be able to get around that by teaching them to stand there for spritzing with a spray bottle with warm water and a bit of animal conditioner, while you rub them so they don't notice the spritzing.

                  My last cat really loved water, would get in the shower with you if you didn't close the door, so for her water was part of the fun and games.
                  That was a feed store four month old feral kitten, so she came a long way.

                  You can only do what you can do, be careful, if you get scratched, to get the cuts tended to.
                  A friend almost lost her hand to a small cat bite.
                  She may have died if she had waited from evening until morning to go to the ER, those infections blow up in a few hours.

                  If you want to do a real good of bathing a uncooperative cat, like groomers do, you can get a cat wire bathing cage, but then you may be having to fight the cat.
                  I think you can handle this without going there.

                  Good luck, pictures of wet cats are always funny.


                  • #10
                    I'm allergic to one of my cats, so I bathe my two regularly.

                    IME, cats hate being in standing water much, much more than they hate being wet. My strategy is:

                    1. Prepare kitty. My personal strategy is to curry comb (which my cats are oddly fond of) and then Furminator. Hard to believe, but that brush is worth every penny of the $50ish it costs. Once kitty has been brushed, release.

                    2. Prepare the bathroom before re-catching kitty. "Preparing" involves filling a large bucket with warm water and placing it in the tub, sitting a bottle of shampoo and a big on the tub ledge, and laying towels on the ground next to the tub.

                    3. Catch the cat and bring him into the bathroom. Close the door. Sit the cat in the tub. If this is your first time, I would recommend loosely scruffing him (don't pick him up, just loosely hold his scruff to make him stand still). Using the cup, scoop some water out of the bucket and wet the kitty down. Dump some shampoo on, scrub quickly, and rinse with cups of water.

                    *Caveat: DO NOT LET GO. No matter what happens, do NOT let the cat escape the tub. Eventually they will stop trying to escape during baths... but only if they learn that escaping is simply not a possibility. If he fights, just hold his scruff a bit tighter.

                    4. Hold the cat in the tub with one hand, and grab the towel with the other. Put the towel into the tub with the cat, and lift him out with it. Dry him off on the bathroom floor.

                    It has been my experience that soaking wet cats tend to find dry paper (or really any other porous material that is easily damaged by water... they have some kind of a sixth sense) to sit on and groom themselves, so your best bet may be to leave them in the bathroom until they're mostly dry.

                    5. Since a freshly bathed cat sheds like crazy, I curry and Furminator again once they're dry.

                    From beginning to end, the actual bath part takes less than a minute. Mine learned to tolerate the bucket strategy really quickly; it seems to traumatize them far less than standing in a few inches of soapy water.


                    • #11
                      I'm allergic to EVERYTHING in the world, but I grew up with cats and horses and still sleep with a cat in my bed every night.

                      When I was a kid my allergist was always trying to get my mom to get rid of the cats - that was never going to happen, so we had some other strategies to deal with my allergies.

                      Air filters in every room. Special dust covers on my pillows and mattress. No cats in my bedroom, ever. Some sort of antihistamine every day. I agree with loading up on Zyrtec/Allegra before he comes home and taking it every day while he is there. (I don't believe we ever bathed the cats though - I can only imagine how that would have gone!)

                      I also got allergy shots, but I was seriously allergic to the world. Nowadays I still take an antihistamine every day, but am smothered constantly by my cat. I done mind the runny nose too much - I just don't ever go anywhere without kleenex!


                      • #12
                        Here is a cat bathing cage professional cat groomers use, but any small wire cage may work also:


                        You really can teach your cats to not mind with a little training, without needing much else.


                        • #13
                          One of my bathtubs has glass shower doors. I find that works pretty well for cat baths. What I do is fill a bucket with warm water and set it next to the drain. Then I put the cat in the opposite end of the tub, climb in myself, and close the glass doors. I wet the cat down by dipping water out of the bucket and pouring it over the cat. Shampoo as needed, rinse the cat, and refill the bucket from the tap if more rinse water is needed. I find that the cat usually won't go into a full blown panic as long as you stay between it and the scary running water & gurgling drain.