Living with Allergies when Pets are Involved


I am allergic to my cats. Doesn’t that beat all?  My allergy to the cats has not been a lifelong condition.  Like most allergies, it developed over time.  I’m also allergic to dogs, dust mites, some grasses, and trees.  The irony in all of this is not only am I a cat owner, but I also ran an immunology clinic when I was in the Army (after a knee injury put a stop to para-jumping out of helicopters). 

I can remember at some point while living with cats and visiting my sister’s home (she has dogs) having a runny nose, watery eyes and lots of phlegm, but I was a smoker too and just thought it was the cigarettes until I stopped smoking and the symptoms continued. I was tested before (allergy techs practice on each other) and only showed an allergy to trees.  However, the symptoms continued and by this time I already had Jake and Maus and had just started caring for Moshe Moshi.  Just to rule it out I have a full panel skin test.  I was floored and crushed, and I had to decide what to do.

You only have two choices when it comes to being allergic to your pets; remove the allergen or manage your exposure.  Neither was going to be easy.  I let my heart speak for me and decided to keep the cats, although I wasn’t sure how to manage it.

This week, I going to blog about how I manage my allergies to my cats.  Some practices have to do with my environment; some are to do with the cats. Managing one over the other is not easy. If you are facing the same decision, you need to keep in mind that your regiment is probably going to be life long, as long as your allergen is present. Yes, I chose to keep my cats, but there is no shame if you decide your quality or your pet’s quality of life is severely affected by the tasks needed to coexist. Giving your pets up may be the most humane choice.  I'm happy to let my example help you decide.

Next Post - I am Allergic to my Pet?

2 comments:

  1. I think it is wrong to give up a pet unless someone ends up in a nursing home and can't keep it. I just found out I am allergic to cats and I am getting allergy shots. No matter what, my cats will still sleep with me and even share my pillow because it is their home too.

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    1. It’s a tough choice for sure. I made a commitment to care for my cats for life. However, I also promised to always do what is in their best interest, even if that meant they would not be with me. On Thursday my post will be about how I’ve had to maintain my environment to keep my cats. I don’t consider it a hardship, but I can see where some would not be able to do it.

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