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Doctor and Cats and Babies

ZoyaOniSommer
May 16th, 2008, 12:34 AM
I'm not sure if this is in the right section or not. I apologise if it isn't.

I really don't think it's true (personally I think "cat haters" made it up) but I would like to know if anyone has experienced it or knows someone that has. I have 2 cats (had 3 until a couple of weeks ago, 1 died suddenly) and my baby is 6 months old. She was born 2 1/2 months premature and my Dr (who happens to hate cats and love dogs) says that I should get rid of them because they cause babies to get asthma and allergies especially since she was premature. Is this true?? There are no concerns with her lungs or beathing at this time (I got steroid shots when they knew she was coming early so that her lungs would develop) My husband WAS (used to be) allergic to cats but he's fine now. When we 1st started dating I had 1 cat and he had to take allergy pills everytime he came over because I told him I would dump him before I got rid of my cat!!! Eventually, the more he was around my cat he became less and less allergic, hence the addition of 2 more cats. That leads me to believe that my baby will probably not become allergic because the antibodies will already be in her. I would have passed it on to her genetically (I've been around cats all my life ... had cats since I was 3) and the cats were around while I was pregnant with her. As for asthma, my husband apparently had asthma when he was young but out grew it so my baby MAY have asthma genetically but does having a cat increase the chances of it?

I have also heard all the "old wives tales" regarding cats & babies; smothering, attacking etc. I know they are not true. If anything my 1 cat is over protective -- no one can hold her without being inspected by my cat 1st and the other 1 could care less about her as long as his food and "head rubs" aren't affected. I'm only concerned about what my Dr said about asthma and allergies. It will KILL me if I have to get rid of them.

Dr Lee
May 16th, 2008, 01:05 AM
Many people can become allergic to cats but I have never heard that cats actively cause or induce allergies. Allergies are thought to be an oversensitive immune system. Thus it is a disorder of the individual with allergies rather than a problem with the pollen, grass, or cat saliva. Perhaps ask another doctor? I have many, many, many clients who have cats and human babies and no complaints.

Also on the 'old wives' tail of cats smothering babies. That is a true one but not common in today's society. This is also where cats became mythologically linked to witches as 'familiars'. In 16th Century Britian (Essex witch trials), cats were deemed as potential 'familiar spirits' of witches; that is spirits that inhabited an animal form and served a witch or other dark powered creature. People believed that the cats were'stealing' the babies breath and soul for whom they served. What was really occurring was that cats were plentiful and food was not. Starving cats would find the smell of milk on a babies breath and in an attempt to get something to eat, would accidentally smother the baby to death while licking the milk out of the baby's mouth. While our house cats are well fed and much more domesticated, I still do not recommend leaving a newborn with a cat alone. However this does not mean that the cats should be disposed of. Just monitored until the baby gets a bit bigger.

Good luck. :pawprint:

ZoyaOniSommer
May 16th, 2008, 01:27 AM
Thanks that makes me feel better. Can I tell my Dr he's a jerk or a *^%$%@ when I see him for the baby's next check up??? :) I figured he was just giving me a line because when I found out I was pregnant (obviously LONG before we knew she was going to be premature) he made the comment that I should kill my cats now (Yes he said KILL) and, being hormonal, I put him in his place at that time. Like I said before he HATES cats!!!

(FYI -- no need to tell me to get a new Dr. where I live there is a Dr shortage so unless I want to take my baby to a walk in clinic all the time I have to stay with him)

Love4himies
May 16th, 2008, 08:20 AM
I had two cats (indoor only) and a dog when I had my daughter, she has absolutely NO allergies or asthma.

Did your Dr mention carpet and dust mites? Those are huge allergins too!

marko
May 16th, 2008, 08:50 AM
Many people can become allergic to cats but I have never heard that cats actively cause or induce allergies. Allergies are thought to be an oversensitive immune system. Thus it is a disorder of the individual with allergies rather than a problem with the pollen, grass, or cat saliva. Perhaps ask another doctor? I have many, many, many clients who have cats and human babies and no complaints.

Also on the 'old wives' tail of cats smothering babies. That is a true one but not common in today's society. This is also where cats became mythologically linked to witches as 'familiars'. In 16th Century Britian (Essex witch trials), cats were deemed as potential 'familiar spirits' of witches; that is spirits that inhabited an animal form and served a witch or other dark powered creature. People believed that the cats was 'stealing' the babies breath and soul for whom they served. What was really occurring was that cats were plentiful and food was not. Starving cats would find the smell of milk on a babies breath and in an attempt to get something to eat, would accidentally smother the baby to death while licking the milk out of the baby's mouth. While our house cats are well fed and much more domesticated, I still do not recommend leaving a newborn with a cat alone. However this does not mean that the cats should be disposed of. Just monitored until the baby gets a bit bigger.

Good luck.

Thanks as always for that great explanation Dr. Lee! It's amazing how many people still carry around false information that they think is true. It's nice to have an expert to clear it up. :highfive:

Many thx!

bendyfoot
May 16th, 2008, 10:32 AM
I was allergic to every furry thing, plant, dustmite etc. you can think of as a child...and I grew up in a completely animal-free and very clean environment. When I moved out, I shared my home with some cats, and now two dogs as well. My environmental allergies persisted until I moved out to the country and surrounded myself with grass and trees. Like your husband, my allergies NOW are completely non-existant, they got better as I got more exposure to the allergens.

I recall reading recently that studies showed that children raised in homes with two or more dogs had significantly LOWER rates of childhood asthma. Wonder if I can dig that one up for you? I suspect it would be similar with cats.

Here's one:

Clin Exp Allergy. 1999 May;29(5):611-7.Related Articles, Links

Does early exposure to cat or dog protect against later allergy development?

Hesselmar B, Aberg N, Aberg B, Eriksson B, Björkstén B.

Department of Paediatrics, University of Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden.

BACKGROUND: It is unknown which factors in modern western society that have caused the current increase in prevalence of allergic diseases. Improved hygiene, smaller families, altered exposure to allergens have been suggested. OBJECTIVES: To assess the relationship between exposure to pets in early life, family size, allergic manifestations and allergic sensitization at 7-9 and 12-13 years of age. METHODS: The prevalence of allergic diseases and various background factors were assessed in 1991 and 1996 by questionnaire studies. In 1991, the study comprised representative samples of children from the Göteborg area on the Swedish west coast (7 years old, n = 1649) and the inland town Kiruna in northern Sweden (7-9 years old, n = 832). In 1992, a validation interview and skin prick test (SPT) were performed in a stratified sub-sample of 412 children. In 1996, this subgroup was followed up with identical questions about clinical symptoms as in 1991, detailed questions about early pet exposure were added and SPT performed. RESULTS: Children exposed to pets during the first year of life had a lower frequency of allergic rhinitis at 7-9 years of age and of asthma at 12-13 years. Children exposed to cat during the first year of life were less often SPT positive to cat at 12-13 years. The results were similar when those children were excluded, whose parents had actively decided against pet keeping during infancy because of allergy in the family. There was a negative correlation between the number of siblings and development of asthma and allergic rhinitis. CONCLUSION: Pet exposure during the first year of life and increasing number of siblings were both associated with a lower prevalence of allergic rhinitis and asthma in school children.

Here's another:

Allergy. 2001 Apr;56(4):267-9.

Exposure to pets and atopy-related diseases in the first 4 years of life.

Nafstad P, Magnus P, Gaarder PI, Jaakkola JJ.

Department of Population Health Sciences, National Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.

BACKGROUND: It is still unclear how early-life exposure to pets is related to children's risk of developing atopy-related diseases. We estimated associations between early-life exposure to pets and atopy-related diseases at 0-4 years of life in a cohort of Norwegian children. METHODS: A population-based cohort of 2531 children born in Oslo, Norway, was followed from birth to the age of 4 years. Information on early-life exposure to pets, a number of possible confounders, and atopy-related diseases was mainly collected by questionnaire. RESULTS: In logistic regression analysis adjusting for potential confounders, the odds ratio for being exposed to pets in early life (reference category: not exposed) was, for bronchial obstruction at 0-2 years of life, 1.2 (95% confidence interval 0.9, 1.8); for asthma at the age of 4 years, 0.7 (0.5, 1.1); for allergic rhinitis at the age of 4 years, 0.6 (0.4, 1.0); and for atopic eczema at 0-6 months of life, 0.7 (0.5, 0.9). CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that early-life exposure to pets or lifestyle factors associated with exposure to pets reduce the risk of developing atopy-related diseases in early childhood. However, these findings might also be explained by selection for keeping pets.

Tell your stupid doctor that there's plenty of peer-reviewed scientific articles written by allergy specialists that demonstrate you DON'T need to "kill your cats". I found these two in about 30 seconds, I'm sure there's more.

Dr Lee
May 16th, 2008, 10:50 AM
Great post bendyfoot!:thumbs up

CearaQC
May 16th, 2008, 11:20 AM
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/healthy-living/heal-boy-how-pets-can-keep-you-healthy-821515.html

Children who live with a cat or dog in their first years have a lower incidence of hay fever and asthma and are less likely to develop animal-related allergies, or to suffer a bout of gastroenteritis.

I've been around all sorts of animals ever since I was born. I have zero allergies, and same with my siblings and parents. It's very rare that I get ill at all from flu, colds, etc. unless spending time in town where many disgusting people probably never wash their hands after going to the washroom or coughing/hacking. (They had to close and mega clean our local hospital recently because of some sort of germ outbreak, and now there are hand sanitation stations and signs everywhere saying to wear masks when visiting patients. And when we mentioned it to a doctor, he pretended not to know what was going on at his own hospital. Riiiiight. :frustrated:)

Animals are way cleaner than most humans.

Sterile living isn't good for children. Humans are meant to interact with their environment. This planet isn't just a floating rock in space, it's much more. So get out there and go play in some dirt! :laughing:

Always use discernment when receiving advice from anyone. No single person is an "expert," no matter how long the professional alphabet soup is behind their name. Except for Dr. Lee, who seems very open minded. :thumbs up

Love4himies
May 16th, 2008, 11:22 AM
Good post bendyfoot!

jessi76
May 16th, 2008, 12:30 PM
I have 2 cats, 1 dog, and a preemie who's now 8mths. (he was 1-1/2 mths early) our pediatrician knows we have pets, and has never said a negative word about it.

the only place that is really off limits for my pets is the crib. My son constantly reaches out to touch and hug all the animals, and has had no issues.

MANY people asked me what i was going to "do" with the cats once my son was home... so many people are afraid of that old wives tale! bunch of rubbish if you ask me. if anything, my youngest cat likes to snuggle the baby's bottom, because the diaper is padded & crinkly. lol.

Love4himies
May 16th, 2008, 12:36 PM
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/healthy-living/heal-boy-how-pets-can-keep-you-healthy-821515.html


Sterile living isn't good for children. Humans are meant to interact with their environment. This planet isn't just a floating rock in space, it's much more. So get out there and go play in some dirt! :laughing:

Always use discernment when receiving advice from anyone. No single person is an "expert," no matter how long the professional alphabet soup is behind their name. Except for Dr. Lee, who seems very open minded. :thumbs up

I think your right, the immune system gets such a SHOCK if keep sterile, then comes into contact with viruses and bacteria and it can't fight it.

hehe good idea to exempt Dr Lee, he is sooo smart, I had a vet like him in St Albert.