Wednesday, March 4, 2009


All of my life I have loved cats. Loved them! I've had a few in my day, too. The old fat furball named Maggie that we got when I was about 8ish. She must have weighed 20 lbs, and was a longhaired somethingorother. Cat fur EVERYWHERE. I loved her. There were others along the way and now my mother has two cats (my lease stipulates no cats). Mama Birds cats are named after sisters in a D.H. Lawrence book "Women in Love". For the life of me I cannot spell their names. One is very sweet and allows me to carry her all over the apartment, but no further. The other looks kinda like Yoda and is a pill. If you don't pet her EXACTLY the way she wishes to be pet, she'll bite you. She has seriously mellowed out over the years and now realizes that I am a reliable source of attention (This is the same cat that once walked into the room I was sitting in. Walked up to me. Hissed at me. And walked away).
So yeah, I like cats. But something odd has happened. I seem to have developed an allergy to them. If I spend too long over at Mama Bird's place, or let the cats climb over me too much, my eyes get all itchy and my nose gets twitchy. It's not the end of the world. And it takes awhile for it to affect me, but still. I sorta feel like I've been told that I can never have chocolate again. I don't know how my stepfather handles it, he is WAY allergic to cats. I know he opens windows to clear the dander out (I'm not entirely sure how this works but that's his excuse for opening the windows in FEBRUARY), but that seems to have given of the cats a cold so now I don't know what he does.
Any suggestions for making visits to Mama Bird's a less sneeze inducing experience?

--Little Bird is sniffling


David said...

Don't know about others, but I find that just doing a good vacuuming helps. Also with my brother just being exposed to it for a while acclimated him to cat dander so he no longer has a reaction to it. Good luck though!

Little Bird said...

I vacuum their place myself, so I know it's not that. And being exposed to it for longer seems to make it worse. I'm not sure WHAT to do!

aardvark said...

I'm allergic to rabbits and my ex wife is the happy owner of two of them. I found that the best way for me to avoid the runny nose sneezing and inability to sleep well from a stopped up nose was to use a good antihistamine. Cleaning can only do so much good, and you need to remember that their dander collects in pillows, seat cushions, the carpet, on window sills...basically everywhere. So if you don't want to do a major cleaning every time you go to their place, find an antihistamine that works for you. I use claratin now, and it works great for me.

Christopher said...

One of my ex girlfriends had allergies to the two malamute/german shepherds I used to have. She broke out in hives rather than sneezed.

Long story short, it got to the point that the only thing that ended up working was keeping the dog's free area the downstairs half of the house, washing them every other day, (me of course), keeping the clothes I wear when I play with them separate from our normal clothes and laundry loads, taking a shower in one of the downstairs bathrooms (the master is upstairs) after I play with them, and kept an air filter in most of the downstairs areas. And an antihistamine, of course.

This was a little bit excessive, but it did work well. Maybe some of it will work for you?

Little Bird said...

Aardvark, I do a major clean once a week in my folks place. On Fridays. Sundays, when I go over to cook our "family" meal (long story), I get sniffley.
Christopher, I can't ask that my folks lock the cats up when I am there. As much as I may want to.
And the sneezing wouldn't bother me so much it were just one or two in a row. Eight in a row starts to hurt.

aardvark said...

I know it is possible to develop a new allergy, but you should totally check to see if they aren't carrying an allergin to you. Is your mom using any new chemicals on them? Change in diet? Cleaning chemicals or deoderizer or flea collars or anything at all that might be causing this besides the cats themselves?

Little Bird said...

The only change has been a dry food change, but I don't really think that's it. The cats sometimes got the stuff they get now if we had run out of the other stuff and needed to be fed right then (there's a convenience store downstairs in our building).
(I just re-read that sentence, and as convoluted as it is, it's correct.)
Other than that, they don't wear collars(apartment cats), they bathe themselves, and I don't think they've seen another cat outside of the vet's office EVER.

Jessmeca said...

Little Bird,

I want to preface this with the following "I have allergies, a few actually"

Im Anaphylactic to Iodine & All Seafood for a start. Now i wasnt always anaphylactic, i only became so in 2004 (my senior year.) Before that i would only throw up if i ate seafood, and i could still eat chinese etc. Now i cant even go to the beach & im an Aussie!

I guess what im getting at is that you could have had a slight allergy before this. You see an allergy works in a funny way.

You have "levels" of stuff in your system. If you are allergic to something the levels increase as you go along. So suddenly you might have too much in your system and this is causing the allergy to cats.

The only way to fix it is to completely remove yourself from the allergins for a while to reduce the levels in your system.

Or alternatively take an antihistamine. My allergist told me that you can take an antihistamine everyday for your complete life and have no ill effects.

Hope i have been helpful.

Anonymous said...

Vaccuuming stirs up the dust and dander, so that should be done by someone else and not the same day you go over there. Some people I know have had luck with bathing the cats and then rinsing them with distilled water. Good luck!