Allergic to cat but NO symptoms?

Posted on: Tue, 06/20/2006 - 9:38pm
vlcarnes's picture
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I have the strangest situation and I just wanted some feedback. My PA daughter is allergic to peanuts (>100), nuts, molds, dogs and cats. Her cat allergy is a Class 5 on RAST tests and huge on skin tests. Both of our allergists say she is extremely allergic. For reasons that I won't get into, we recently acquired a kitten for what was supposed to be a week (interim home before going to permanent one). To make a long story shorter, the permanent home fell through and we've had the kitty now for 3.5 weeks. My daughter had absolutely no symptoms for the first week. Then, she started getting hives from contact (around face and wrists). No respiratory symptoms at all.

I went on line that if you wipe a cat down periodically, you can dramatically reduce the dander. So, I started doing this nightly. Since then, I have not seen a single hive on her. She holds the kitty constantly, rubs it against her face, kisses it, etc. etc. (BTW: not because I let her, but because she's 5 and can't seem to help herself). She was also diagnosed with asthma at age 1.5 due to a couple of wheezing episodes with colds. She is now 5.5 and since she was 2, she has neither wheezed nor has she ever had any attacks. Needless to say, I'm very skeptical regarding whether she even has asthma. Regardless, my allergist thinks I'm crazy to even consider keeping the kitty due to how "severely" allergic my daughter is.

Anyway, my 3 children are BEGGING me to keep the kitty. Any thoughts? Am I doing her some insidious harm if she's totally asymptomactic? Has anyone out there ever experienced anything like this?

HELP!! Thanks.

[This message has been edited by vlcarnes (edited June 21, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 06/20/2006 - 10:48pm
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We had our cat before dd was born(my cat before I even met dh). Dd tested allergic upon her allergy visit after discovering food allergies, but never had an obvious reaction. In hindsight, she did seem overall more allergic to everything(sensetive skin, occasional mystery hives) then, but she was also 3 and younger.
Because she was born into the home with the cat, I think it desensitized her. HOWEVER, now that we have not had the cat for 3+ years, she reacted to cats for the first obvious time on Sat. night. I have wondered a bit at our piano teacher's home as well. Seems she scrathses her noe alot during lessons, esp. in the winter.
Well, Sat., she was very itchy around her nose and eyes from touching cats then her face. She seemed relieved by washing her hands and face then resisting touching(hard to do). So, she kept washing up. She is 6.
So, now, it seems, without the constant desensitization, the periodic exposures are sensetizing her.
Anecdotal, but FWIW, thought I would share.
Way back when our allergist said, "I can tell you to get rid of your cat. You won't. So I will just say, do not replace him when he is gone." becca

Posted on: Tue, 06/20/2006 - 11:45pm
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I was in my 30's when I finally got my food allegy diagnosis. He also did the SPT for environmentals. I was a 4++ for cats. At the time we had 5 (used to work at a Vet school). Like Becca's allergist, he suggested I not replace any in the future. He said I would probably be ok with 1 or 2. My eyes still get very swollen and itchy if I don't wash my hands just after petting the cat.
The best thing he told me was to keep our bedrooms free of pets. Both the cats and I were resistant to this at first, but it has worked out just fine. And my bedroom is cleaner without all the fur! LOL We are gradually switching our house over to all hard surface flooring. So far the MBR has hardwood, all bathrooms are tiled, and the kitchen through the den are tiled. Much easier to clean, especially with pets.
Tell your DD that if she want to keep the cat, she must keep it [b]out of her face[/b] and [b]wash her hands after petting it[/b]. Just make it "house rule".
Cat saliva seems to be the problem for some people. I'd love to know what you're using to wipe the cat?
Daisy

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 12:23am
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Thanks - both - for your thoughts. I have been using distilled water and paper towels to wipe the kitty (tap water leaves a residue, apparently). He has no problem with it. He just stands still in the sink - it takes about 2 minutes. Also, "allerpet" sells wipes that reduce dander as well - although I'm sure these are a lot more expensive than distilled water.
I have a family that has offered to take and really wants the kitty, so I'm really torn. I want my kids to have a pet, but I also don't want to worry everyday if I'm somehow harming my daughter. I think too that this might be my one and only chance to give the kitty to a good home where he will be well-loved without a major disruption in his and our lives since he is still a kitten and my kids, while attached, wouldn't be totally devastated.
Anyway, thanks again for your thoughts! I really appreciate it.

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 12:32am
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Could you try another type of pet? (Just saw that she is allergic to dogs and cats.) Nice that you found a home for the kitty...could you get visitation?
I'll have to try your wiping method. Although, my cats are 14 and 16. Don't know how they'll adjust. They are very good about letting DD brush them.
Thanks,
Daisy
[This message has been edited by Daisy (edited June 21, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 1:16am
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just because there are no respiratory symptoms now doesn't mean they won't appear. my dd when first diagnosed with her dog allergy just had eczema. while we were trying to find a home for the dog (which took several months), she developed nasal/respiratory symptoms as the time went on.
i had my golden retriever long before my dh or my dd and she was the previous light of my life for 8 years. however, there was no doubt in my mind what should be done. you can reduce dander, you can somewhat isolate the pet, etc. but your child is still allergic and even if YOU don't SEE symptoms, that doesn't mean they are not there or won't appear. i wouldn't put a child through that personally.

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 1:19am
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In college, I heard of at least 3 people who were fine with their cats at home. They moved into the dorm, and when they went back for Christmas, they started reacting to their cats.
Keeping up the exposure is definately the key to being able to live with animals. If the dander wipes are working and it's not making any of her allergy symptoms worse, then I don't see any problem with it. I'm allergic to dogs, but I have one sitting in my lap right now. I even take naps with her on the couch, but she's not allowed in my room (in theory, she still gets in there but only for a minute at a time). Sometimes when she licks me or gets her snot on me I'll get a hive, but since I started allergy shots this has only happened twice (I started them in February or March). Just make sure she keeps her hands washed after touching the cat, and vaccuum often. We have blankets on all the chairs my dog is allowed to sit on, so they can be easily washed weekly (this is very common- I've seen other families do this too just to cut down on the hair on their couches). If your cat goes outside, wipe her paws off before she comes indoors so she doesn't track in pollen. If you do all that, I think your DD will be fine.
And about the asthma, some people with asthma do only have problems when they're sick. So make sure you keep her inhalers filled and up-to-date.

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 1:43am
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My PA son's three worse allergies are cats, peanuts, and egg whites. We have 2 cats. I was told by a nurse not to get rid of the cats. Another friend who is severly allergic to cats, and also has two, was told by her dr not to get rid of them because their presence will always be in the house(rugs, furniture, pillows). My son has never had a problem other than some sneezing in the winter months when the velux blanket is in my bed. The way I see it, that allergy is not the one that can kill him.

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 1:44am
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Personally, I would get rid of it since you have already said you are going to and like you said if you do it now it won't be too difficult for everyone. And then find a pet they can have- was she tested for rabbit? They are great pets!
I think what happens (or can happen) is even though you don't see obvious symptoms, the more allergens you are exposed to, the more you react to other allergens... so, you might not see her sneezing around the cat, but her reactions to other things she is allergic to might be worse.
It is also possible she is having reactions but they are less obvious...
I say this as an sdult with allergies and pets (cats, a dog, and a rabbit-- all of whom I am allergic to). *I* would be happier living without them, but they are my children's pets, so I just try to reduce the exposure (keeping them away from my laundry, bedroom, etc) and they will NOT be replaced!
Tara P

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 2:03am
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My son who is also allergic to peanuts tested even MORE allergic to cats. I've had cats since before he was born and so he has been used to having one or two cats around (one cat died last December after a long life).
William does not react to the cat(s) at all nor any other cats at other people's houses. The allergist said it was likely due to his constant exposure to cats and she said nothing about getting rid of them.
So...I would keep the cat - why not? I always want to have a cat so I don't plan on letting this be the last one! I really love cats and as long as William doesn't react then I don't see why not having them.
On a side note, I recently read in the paper that some breeder has developed an "allergy free" cat - which they sell for about $9000!

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 3:12am
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My son tested highly allergic to cats at 18 months, which we were quite surprised at since we had had a cat for years before he was born and he never showed the slightest sign of allergy to him. However, he did sneeze and itch around other cats, and he had a horrible allergy to dogs. If a dog licked him he would break out in head to toe hives - awful! Now at age 7 we still have the same cat and still no problems. He doesn't react to any cats now. In fact, we just got another one. He is also less allergic to dogs, to the point where he will either not react at all or just get redness where licked. Although there still seem to be some breeds he reacts to more than others.
Our first allergist said to get rid of the cat but the second one (which we stayed with for a long time) said we should keep him as long as DS didn't show any overt symptoms, because otherwise he might become even more sensitive.
Just our experience. DS and the cat are best buddies. They don't sleep together, though, and I would have to recommend not letting the cat in the bedroom if possible.
Good luck with your decision - trust yourself to make the best choice for your family. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Lori

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 4:05am
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Kittens don't start producing the fel d 1 protein until they're several weeks old. If the kitten was hand-raised, its momma wasn't cleaning it, so it would, in effect, be non-allergenic until 4-8 weeks old.
Your daughter may be able to tolerate this cat, she may develop worse symptoms later on. My husband grew up with a cat and never reacted to her while he lived at home, but occasionally got wheezy around other cats. When he left home for college, he started reacting to her on breaks back home. A few years ago, he tested positive for cat. He does react when we visit homes where cats live. His reaction is less severe than mine, though, so he just makes sure he has his inhalers.
ygg

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 4:29am
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You know I would tend to think even though she is not currently reacting to the cat, getting rid of it may definitely help her in the future. If the framework is set up to have problems....she may eventually have problems...KWIM? I would think ridding the home of the cat would help to reduce her 'atopic-ness' overall. IMO
Good luck...its so hard to make that decision!

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 5:37am
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I always tested positive to cats but never owned one. I acquired one a few years ago and all seemed fine for the first month or so. Then, I started getting slightly sympomatic with itchy eyes leading to sneezing and after several months I started showing signs of asthma which I never had. I couldn't laugh without losing my breath. It was a slow progression as I was exposed more and more. After 6 months, we had to say goodbye to the cat and it was SO hard to find a home for an adult cat! We found a nice woman after posting an ad in our local courthouse. It was a sad day but totally necessary.
All of my other allergies spiraled and now I cannot be near dogs (I grew up with them with no issues). All of my environmental allergies went haywire and have been horrible ever since.
I believe the cat exposure sent my immune system into overdrive. If your child is showing symtoms, I personally would find a new home for it. I've read it takes 7 years for a house to rid itself of cat dander after a cat leaves!

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 9:05am
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Thank you everyone for all the experiences and thoughts. As much as I want to keep the kitty - for myself as well as my kids, I feel like I will constantly worry that I'm harming her. If she has no symptoms for 10 years and then comes down with bad asthma at age 15, I will blame myself. I want to believe that this kitty will desensitize her, but I just feel guilty in my gut if I keep it. So -- at least I've found him a great home with other kids and parents who love cats.
Thanks again for all your thoughts!!!!

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 11:31am
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Without telling her... I think I would watch her around cats over the next several years. If she never shows symptoms, you could always allow a cat (but not in bedroom, etc) later on if she truly doesn't seem allergic.
But... if you kept this cat and then she started reacting later... she would be devastated if she had to give it up in a year or two...
Some things to remember about testing, the numbers/testing reaction don't necessarily reflect the real-life exposure reaction. We often read here of people who test high, but have mild reactions or test low but have anaphylactic reactions... So don't get too hung on the test numbers.
Tara P

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 1:45pm
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I should add, with regards to dust mite allergy, my allergist did say that over time, there is increased risk of asthma developing later in life with exposure. Dd did seem pretty asymptomatic. But he referenced a study where adults with allergy to dust mites developed asthma at highr rates later in life.
Not sure if it is the same for cats. I know he had that attitude, by the not replacing comment.
But there are studies that support living among animals help keep reactions at bay, like shots. Hard call. My friend with the 5 cats, works for the MSPCA, and she says growing up with animals reduces allergies, per the studies they reference.
Tough call, but go with your gut if you feel like you want to get rid of the cat now and you have a home that wants him. Will your children be able to visit? That might help. becca

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 10:48pm
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our son is allergic to my mother in laws dog. what started as just a few hives has now turned into a reaction that is all over his whole body. the last time we were at her house benadryl didnt work we had to give him a second dose 2.5 hours later and completely wash him down and cover him with hydrocortozone cream. and this didnt completely work he still had hives on his chest.
im not sure we can bring him back to my in laws because of the last reaction.
i just dont think keeping a kitten in your house that you know your child is allergic to is the best idea. what happens in a few months if she develops more serious reactions? they will be even more attached to the cat and will be even more heart broken that you have to give it up.
when we have to pass up food or a spcific activity because of our sons alergies whe just tell our daughter that this is a fact of life with our family and sometimes we cant have or do something because its not safe for johnny and thats the end of the story. if she keeps it up we just tell her that her behavior is showing her brother that she values (cake, strawberry picking , ect) more than her brothers life.
i just dont think your decision to keep the cat just because your children are begging for it is the smartest choice.
why not get a bunny or a hamster or some other furry animal that she isnt alergic to. they will love it just the same and your daughter will be safe.
just my 2 cents.

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 11:54pm
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The studies about growing up with pets (I have read showed ONLY a correlation... but that does not prove a cause.
Children with a dog or cat in the home duing early childhood were less likely to later react to allergens (including animals, molds, grasses, etc.)
The reason could simply be that people with susceptibility to allergies are less likely to have pets!
I think the whole "clean environment=allergies" theory is bunk, myself. The studies have all been like the above-- retrospective and correlational.
Also- several studies have found that kids with asthma who have a dog/cat are more likely to have severe symptoms than kids without a dog/cat!
Tara P

Posted on: Thu, 06/22/2006 - 2:13am
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Hi:
My DD is also allergic to dogs, cats (we have 2) and peanuts. We are treating her dog/cat allergy with SLIT.

Posted on: Thu, 06/22/2006 - 10:34pm
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my ds tested positive to cats and dogs. we had one of each at the time. he had never had any reactions except a few hives while playing with the dog. we were moving a could not bring the cat. since we have moved he has not had a cat at the house but pets them at other peoples and been in houses with cats.. still no reaction. He still gets some hives sometimes when playing with our dog (who is not allowed in the bedrooms upstairs but is allowed in the living room and ground floor). He has never had any respirtory symptoms around our dog or anybody elses. I doubt we will ever get another cat (atleast not while living in this house) cause we live on a busy street and I dont want a totally indoor cat.
------------------
Lalow
James 4 yrs, NKA
Ben 3 yrs, PA and MA and SA

Posted on: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 7:02am
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I am horribly allergic to cats--can't go to someone's house that has them without getting horrible asthma. Like heck cats can't kill you. I am always washing my hands after shaking someone's hand because I often develop hives on my face afterward if I don't (from accidentally touching my face). (Think of how we are all afraid our children will touch a library book or something with peanut on it and then will develop hives--that's what I do all the time with cat dander)
When we had a dog (I'm allergic to dogs--this one wasn't allowed near the couch, in the bedrooms or in the bathrooms), we were always washing our hands and doorknobs, etc., because I'd have the same reaction. But at least I like dogs.
We now have a rabbit. Fabulous, sweet pet but chews electrical cords--we have to wrap them and watch the bunny.
DH grew up with cats but always reacted when going back home during college breaks. Lost that desensitivity quickly.
My input into all of this--it's great if you can become desensitized, but perhaps you made the right decision, because you don't know the way that's going to go.
I wish there were no pet allergies--or no cats. I could definitely live without them in the world. No tomatoes please!

Posted on: Mon, 06/26/2006 - 1:18pm
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I should probably throw in another variable. We are currently treating my daughter for cat and all other allergies with SLIT. Her numbers have come down - but are still pretty high. I'm still waffling on the issue. We are scheduled to give the cat up next week, but I don't want to do it. We've just become so attached to him. I guess it comes down to whether or not I'm risking her asthma flaring up later in life by the continuous cat exposure now. But, if you consider the SLIT that she's being undergoing for the last 4 years, isn't exposing her to the cat the same thing, i.e., exposing her to known allergens in the hope of desensitizing her?
[This message has been edited by vlcarnes (edited June 26, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 06/20/2006 - 10:48pm
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We had our cat before dd was born(my cat before I even met dh). Dd tested allergic upon her allergy visit after discovering food allergies, but never had an obvious reaction. In hindsight, she did seem overall more allergic to everything(sensetive skin, occasional mystery hives) then, but she was also 3 and younger.
Because she was born into the home with the cat, I think it desensitized her. HOWEVER, now that we have not had the cat for 3+ years, she reacted to cats for the first obvious time on Sat. night. I have wondered a bit at our piano teacher's home as well. Seems she scrathses her noe alot during lessons, esp. in the winter.
Well, Sat., she was very itchy around her nose and eyes from touching cats then her face. She seemed relieved by washing her hands and face then resisting touching(hard to do). So, she kept washing up. She is 6.
So, now, it seems, without the constant desensitization, the periodic exposures are sensetizing her.
Anecdotal, but FWIW, thought I would share.
Way back when our allergist said, "I can tell you to get rid of your cat. You won't. So I will just say, do not replace him when he is gone." becca

Posted on: Tue, 06/20/2006 - 11:45pm
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I was in my 30's when I finally got my food allegy diagnosis. He also did the SPT for environmentals. I was a 4++ for cats. At the time we had 5 (used to work at a Vet school). Like Becca's allergist, he suggested I not replace any in the future. He said I would probably be ok with 1 or 2. My eyes still get very swollen and itchy if I don't wash my hands just after petting the cat.
The best thing he told me was to keep our bedrooms free of pets. Both the cats and I were resistant to this at first, but it has worked out just fine. And my bedroom is cleaner without all the fur! LOL We are gradually switching our house over to all hard surface flooring. So far the MBR has hardwood, all bathrooms are tiled, and the kitchen through the den are tiled. Much easier to clean, especially with pets.
Tell your DD that if she want to keep the cat, she must keep it [b]out of her face[/b] and [b]wash her hands after petting it[/b]. Just make it "house rule".
Cat saliva seems to be the problem for some people. I'd love to know what you're using to wipe the cat?
Daisy

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 12:23am
vlcarnes's picture
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Thanks - both - for your thoughts. I have been using distilled water and paper towels to wipe the kitty (tap water leaves a residue, apparently). He has no problem with it. He just stands still in the sink - it takes about 2 minutes. Also, "allerpet" sells wipes that reduce dander as well - although I'm sure these are a lot more expensive than distilled water.
I have a family that has offered to take and really wants the kitty, so I'm really torn. I want my kids to have a pet, but I also don't want to worry everyday if I'm somehow harming my daughter. I think too that this might be my one and only chance to give the kitty to a good home where he will be well-loved without a major disruption in his and our lives since he is still a kitten and my kids, while attached, wouldn't be totally devastated.
Anyway, thanks again for your thoughts! I really appreciate it.

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 12:32am
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Could you try another type of pet? (Just saw that she is allergic to dogs and cats.) Nice that you found a home for the kitty...could you get visitation?
I'll have to try your wiping method. Although, my cats are 14 and 16. Don't know how they'll adjust. They are very good about letting DD brush them.
Thanks,
Daisy
[This message has been edited by Daisy (edited June 21, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 1:16am
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just because there are no respiratory symptoms now doesn't mean they won't appear. my dd when first diagnosed with her dog allergy just had eczema. while we were trying to find a home for the dog (which took several months), she developed nasal/respiratory symptoms as the time went on.
i had my golden retriever long before my dh or my dd and she was the previous light of my life for 8 years. however, there was no doubt in my mind what should be done. you can reduce dander, you can somewhat isolate the pet, etc. but your child is still allergic and even if YOU don't SEE symptoms, that doesn't mean they are not there or won't appear. i wouldn't put a child through that personally.

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 1:19am
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In college, I heard of at least 3 people who were fine with their cats at home. They moved into the dorm, and when they went back for Christmas, they started reacting to their cats.
Keeping up the exposure is definately the key to being able to live with animals. If the dander wipes are working and it's not making any of her allergy symptoms worse, then I don't see any problem with it. I'm allergic to dogs, but I have one sitting in my lap right now. I even take naps with her on the couch, but she's not allowed in my room (in theory, she still gets in there but only for a minute at a time). Sometimes when she licks me or gets her snot on me I'll get a hive, but since I started allergy shots this has only happened twice (I started them in February or March). Just make sure she keeps her hands washed after touching the cat, and vaccuum often. We have blankets on all the chairs my dog is allowed to sit on, so they can be easily washed weekly (this is very common- I've seen other families do this too just to cut down on the hair on their couches). If your cat goes outside, wipe her paws off before she comes indoors so she doesn't track in pollen. If you do all that, I think your DD will be fine.
And about the asthma, some people with asthma do only have problems when they're sick. So make sure you keep her inhalers filled and up-to-date.

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 1:43am
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My PA son's three worse allergies are cats, peanuts, and egg whites. We have 2 cats. I was told by a nurse not to get rid of the cats. Another friend who is severly allergic to cats, and also has two, was told by her dr not to get rid of them because their presence will always be in the house(rugs, furniture, pillows). My son has never had a problem other than some sneezing in the winter months when the velux blanket is in my bed. The way I see it, that allergy is not the one that can kill him.

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 1:44am
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Personally, I would get rid of it since you have already said you are going to and like you said if you do it now it won't be too difficult for everyone. And then find a pet they can have- was she tested for rabbit? They are great pets!
I think what happens (or can happen) is even though you don't see obvious symptoms, the more allergens you are exposed to, the more you react to other allergens... so, you might not see her sneezing around the cat, but her reactions to other things she is allergic to might be worse.
It is also possible she is having reactions but they are less obvious...
I say this as an sdult with allergies and pets (cats, a dog, and a rabbit-- all of whom I am allergic to). *I* would be happier living without them, but they are my children's pets, so I just try to reduce the exposure (keeping them away from my laundry, bedroom, etc) and they will NOT be replaced!
Tara P

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 2:03am
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My son who is also allergic to peanuts tested even MORE allergic to cats. I've had cats since before he was born and so he has been used to having one or two cats around (one cat died last December after a long life).
William does not react to the cat(s) at all nor any other cats at other people's houses. The allergist said it was likely due to his constant exposure to cats and she said nothing about getting rid of them.
So...I would keep the cat - why not? I always want to have a cat so I don't plan on letting this be the last one! I really love cats and as long as William doesn't react then I don't see why not having them.
On a side note, I recently read in the paper that some breeder has developed an "allergy free" cat - which they sell for about $9000!

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 3:12am
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My son tested highly allergic to cats at 18 months, which we were quite surprised at since we had had a cat for years before he was born and he never showed the slightest sign of allergy to him. However, he did sneeze and itch around other cats, and he had a horrible allergy to dogs. If a dog licked him he would break out in head to toe hives - awful! Now at age 7 we still have the same cat and still no problems. He doesn't react to any cats now. In fact, we just got another one. He is also less allergic to dogs, to the point where he will either not react at all or just get redness where licked. Although there still seem to be some breeds he reacts to more than others.
Our first allergist said to get rid of the cat but the second one (which we stayed with for a long time) said we should keep him as long as DS didn't show any overt symptoms, because otherwise he might become even more sensitive.
Just our experience. DS and the cat are best buddies. They don't sleep together, though, and I would have to recommend not letting the cat in the bedroom if possible.
Good luck with your decision - trust yourself to make the best choice for your family. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Lori

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 4:05am
krasota's picture
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Joined: 04/24/2000 - 09:00

Kittens don't start producing the fel d 1 protein until they're several weeks old. If the kitten was hand-raised, its momma wasn't cleaning it, so it would, in effect, be non-allergenic until 4-8 weeks old.
Your daughter may be able to tolerate this cat, she may develop worse symptoms later on. My husband grew up with a cat and never reacted to her while he lived at home, but occasionally got wheezy around other cats. When he left home for college, he started reacting to her on breaks back home. A few years ago, he tested positive for cat. He does react when we visit homes where cats live. His reaction is less severe than mine, though, so he just makes sure he has his inhalers.
ygg

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 4:29am
lilpig99's picture
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Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

You know I would tend to think even though she is not currently reacting to the cat, getting rid of it may definitely help her in the future. If the framework is set up to have problems....she may eventually have problems...KWIM? I would think ridding the home of the cat would help to reduce her 'atopic-ness' overall. IMO
Good luck...its so hard to make that decision!

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 5:37am
dgood's picture
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Joined: 03/27/2004 - 09:00

I always tested positive to cats but never owned one. I acquired one a few years ago and all seemed fine for the first month or so. Then, I started getting slightly sympomatic with itchy eyes leading to sneezing and after several months I started showing signs of asthma which I never had. I couldn't laugh without losing my breath. It was a slow progression as I was exposed more and more. After 6 months, we had to say goodbye to the cat and it was SO hard to find a home for an adult cat! We found a nice woman after posting an ad in our local courthouse. It was a sad day but totally necessary.
All of my other allergies spiraled and now I cannot be near dogs (I grew up with them with no issues). All of my environmental allergies went haywire and have been horrible ever since.
I believe the cat exposure sent my immune system into overdrive. If your child is showing symtoms, I personally would find a new home for it. I've read it takes 7 years for a house to rid itself of cat dander after a cat leaves!

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 9:05am
vlcarnes's picture
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Joined: 11/17/2005 - 09:00

Thank you everyone for all the experiences and thoughts. As much as I want to keep the kitty - for myself as well as my kids, I feel like I will constantly worry that I'm harming her. If she has no symptoms for 10 years and then comes down with bad asthma at age 15, I will blame myself. I want to believe that this kitty will desensitize her, but I just feel guilty in my gut if I keep it. So -- at least I've found him a great home with other kids and parents who love cats.
Thanks again for all your thoughts!!!!

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 11:31am
VariegatedRB's picture
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Joined: 11/23/2005 - 09:00

Without telling her... I think I would watch her around cats over the next several years. If she never shows symptoms, you could always allow a cat (but not in bedroom, etc) later on if she truly doesn't seem allergic.
But... if you kept this cat and then she started reacting later... she would be devastated if she had to give it up in a year or two...
Some things to remember about testing, the numbers/testing reaction don't necessarily reflect the real-life exposure reaction. We often read here of people who test high, but have mild reactions or test low but have anaphylactic reactions... So don't get too hung on the test numbers.
Tara P

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 1:45pm
becca's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I should add, with regards to dust mite allergy, my allergist did say that over time, there is increased risk of asthma developing later in life with exposure. Dd did seem pretty asymptomatic. But he referenced a study where adults with allergy to dust mites developed asthma at highr rates later in life.
Not sure if it is the same for cats. I know he had that attitude, by the not replacing comment.
But there are studies that support living among animals help keep reactions at bay, like shots. Hard call. My friend with the 5 cats, works for the MSPCA, and she says growing up with animals reduces allergies, per the studies they reference.
Tough call, but go with your gut if you feel like you want to get rid of the cat now and you have a home that wants him. Will your children be able to visit? That might help. becca

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 10:48pm
smudgesgarden's picture
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Joined: 02/26/2006 - 09:00

our son is allergic to my mother in laws dog. what started as just a few hives has now turned into a reaction that is all over his whole body. the last time we were at her house benadryl didnt work we had to give him a second dose 2.5 hours later and completely wash him down and cover him with hydrocortozone cream. and this didnt completely work he still had hives on his chest.
im not sure we can bring him back to my in laws because of the last reaction.
i just dont think keeping a kitten in your house that you know your child is allergic to is the best idea. what happens in a few months if she develops more serious reactions? they will be even more attached to the cat and will be even more heart broken that you have to give it up.
when we have to pass up food or a spcific activity because of our sons alergies whe just tell our daughter that this is a fact of life with our family and sometimes we cant have or do something because its not safe for johnny and thats the end of the story. if she keeps it up we just tell her that her behavior is showing her brother that she values (cake, strawberry picking , ect) more than her brothers life.
i just dont think your decision to keep the cat just because your children are begging for it is the smartest choice.
why not get a bunny or a hamster or some other furry animal that she isnt alergic to. they will love it just the same and your daughter will be safe.
just my 2 cents.

Posted on: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 11:54pm
VariegatedRB's picture
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Joined: 11/23/2005 - 09:00

The studies about growing up with pets (I have read showed ONLY a correlation... but that does not prove a cause.
Children with a dog or cat in the home duing early childhood were less likely to later react to allergens (including animals, molds, grasses, etc.)
The reason could simply be that people with susceptibility to allergies are less likely to have pets!
I think the whole "clean environment=allergies" theory is bunk, myself. The studies have all been like the above-- retrospective and correlational.
Also- several studies have found that kids with asthma who have a dog/cat are more likely to have severe symptoms than kids without a dog/cat!
Tara P

Posted on: Thu, 06/22/2006 - 2:13am
tleaf's picture
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Joined: 06/09/2006 - 09:00

Hi:
My DD is also allergic to dogs, cats (we have 2) and peanuts. We are treating her dog/cat allergy with SLIT.

Posted on: Thu, 06/22/2006 - 10:34pm
lalow's picture
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Joined: 03/24/2004 - 09:00

my ds tested positive to cats and dogs. we had one of each at the time. he had never had any reactions except a few hives while playing with the dog. we were moving a could not bring the cat. since we have moved he has not had a cat at the house but pets them at other peoples and been in houses with cats.. still no reaction. He still gets some hives sometimes when playing with our dog (who is not allowed in the bedrooms upstairs but is allowed in the living room and ground floor). He has never had any respirtory symptoms around our dog or anybody elses. I doubt we will ever get another cat (atleast not while living in this house) cause we live on a busy street and I dont want a totally indoor cat.
------------------
Lalow
James 4 yrs, NKA
Ben 3 yrs, PA and MA and SA

Posted on: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 7:02am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

I am horribly allergic to cats--can't go to someone's house that has them without getting horrible asthma. Like heck cats can't kill you. I am always washing my hands after shaking someone's hand because I often develop hives on my face afterward if I don't (from accidentally touching my face). (Think of how we are all afraid our children will touch a library book or something with peanut on it and then will develop hives--that's what I do all the time with cat dander)
When we had a dog (I'm allergic to dogs--this one wasn't allowed near the couch, in the bedrooms or in the bathrooms), we were always washing our hands and doorknobs, etc., because I'd have the same reaction. But at least I like dogs.
We now have a rabbit. Fabulous, sweet pet but chews electrical cords--we have to wrap them and watch the bunny.
DH grew up with cats but always reacted when going back home during college breaks. Lost that desensitivity quickly.
My input into all of this--it's great if you can become desensitized, but perhaps you made the right decision, because you don't know the way that's going to go.
I wish there were no pet allergies--or no cats. I could definitely live without them in the world. No tomatoes please!

Posted on: Mon, 06/26/2006 - 1:18pm
vlcarnes's picture
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Joined: 11/17/2005 - 09:00

I should probably throw in another variable. We are currently treating my daughter for cat and all other allergies with SLIT. Her numbers have come down - but are still pretty high. I'm still waffling on the issue. We are scheduled to give the cat up next week, but I don't want to do it. We've just become so attached to him. I guess it comes down to whether or not I'm risking her asthma flaring up later in life by the continuous cat exposure now. But, if you consider the SLIT that she's being undergoing for the last 4 years, isn't exposing her to the cat the same thing, i.e., exposing her to known allergens in the hope of desensitizing her?
[This message has been edited by vlcarnes (edited June 26, 2006).]

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