Allergic to your cat?

Have you tried drugging it?

Robert Heinlein loved cats, and, if I’m remembering correctly something I read many years ago, actually built a separate guest house on his property so his friends who were allergic to them could come and visit. Not an option for most of us.

Actually, I’ve read that if you give your cat a bath every 7-10 days, it keeps the dander down enough that it won’t affect most people with allergic reactions to them. Bathing the cat is usually the problem, although my cat has never given me much trouble with that. Not that I bathe her often, or that she cares for it when I do – she just doesn’t go into full-out Tasmanian Devil mode. When I do give her a bath, it’s usually in the summer, anyway, to avoid her catching a chill. I used to live in a house that had one room that had its own heater, which made it possible to keep the cat there until she dried.

I’ve known a number of people with mild to allegedly severe cat allergies, at least one of whom has several cats. I say “allegedly” in the previous sentence because I’ve known two types of people who claimed severe cat allergies: the type who avoided cats completely (as far as I could tell), and the type who didn’t seem to have any problems until they were aware that a cat was nearby.

I don’t doubt that there are people with severe allergic reactions to cats, it’s just that about half the people I’ve known who claimed them appeared to dislike cats to a greater extent than they showed allergic reactions.

My own allergies are to penicillin, which isn’t used much anymore because too many bugs have developed resistance to it, and some sort of seasonal allergy. I’ve never bothered to figure out what the seasonal allergy is, because it seemed like too much trouble. I did ask my father once, because he had seasonal allergies, also. I asked him about 20 years ago, when I first realized that what I had wasn’t just the occasional spring/summer cold. Prior to that, it hadn’t been regular enough for me to realize it was allergies.

When I asked, his response was that he was allergic to nothing. “Come on, Dad! Every spring you’re downing Sudafed for weeks at a time! What’s that for?” I replied. He told me he’d been tested for everything the doctors could think of, and he hadn’t responded to anything, so he must be allergic to “nothing.” I left it there; my allergies are much milder than his were, so presuming that I’m allergic to the same thing he was made it unlikely I’d find out anything useful.

In any case, I thought it was interesting that you could deal with a cat allergy not by taking drugs yourself, but by drugging the cat. It makes sense, but it also means that, although you could keep a cat yourself, your friends with cats are unlikely to put them on a drug regime just so you can visit without allergic reaction.

One Response to “Allergic to your cat?”

  1. Cheryl says:

    Actually there are 3 types of cat allergies, dander and fur, saliva, and fecal. I’m madly allergic to fecal, so the only thing that bothers me is unclean litterboxes. and the drug only works on saliva, which is the most common of the cat allergies.