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Possible to have different allergic reactions to different cats?

April 20th, 2009, 09:46 PM
Hi everyone!
I have a question about alliergies.

We have had one cat for about a year, and although I have always had a minor allergic reaction to cats (if i pet a cat then rub my face after a clean shave, i will itch, or if i rub my eyes they will itch). I had the same reaction to cats prior to the cat I have now (I had my previous cat for 12 years and had same issues).

It has never really been a problem at all, I love cats, and is a minor reaction I learn to live with. I just wash my hands after handling my cat.

After having my current kitten for a year, my wife and I decided to get a second cat. We have had this second cat for almost 3 weeks, and I have some serious concerns that started to happen in the past week.

It seems that after I handle this cat, I get respiratory problems. I feel like my chest gets really restricted and it gets difficult to breathe. In fact, it woke me up in the middle of the night once and I had problems breathing for about 45 minutes before the "tightness" of my throat went away. I am currently going through a period of this difficulty as I type this, and its been about half an hour.

I was wondering if it was part of a cold I have- but never have I had these symptoms with a cold, and have noticed this only happens after long direct exposure to the new cat.
What makes me think it is this new cat is that even my wife who does NOT have allergies to cats, gets them a little with this new bugger (minor itching).

Anyone have advice?
Is it possible to have a reaction like this to a particular cat after having had cats my whole life and never having a reaction like this?

Please help!!

April 20th, 2009, 10:43 PM
I have the same reactions to most animals. The whole itchy eyes and skin. But I tend to adjust and adapt to animals and eventually my symptoms go away. The whole chest hurting aspect I am not quite SURE my answer will help you because I am an asthmatic. These are my personal ways that I get over chest is drink warm water, relax (I know it sounds odd but if I sit up and just work on slowly breaking it helps relax my chest till I can breath properly) also IF it is the cat....wash your hands face and drink warm water. That tends to fix my reactions even to those extremes. But I only get THAT bad if its a very shedding, long haired feline, and unclean environment (like not vacuuming for a week and such with cat hair all over) but yeah sometimes my reactions do go extreme

I have read that some reactions come from the saliva of the cat from its grooming itself. Can always try bathing it, grooming it often, cleaning the house more(not saying you are messy but the less dust and hair the better right!), keeping it out of the bedroom, or well like me waiting it out.

I hope this helps you a little bit. at least with dealing with the heavy chest at night till you find your personal solution. You might wanna consult a doc either way, Be it an allergic reaction the feline or something more serious, its always good to know.

your question got me curious and some info in here about it might help you.

April 20th, 2009, 11:05 PM
Thanks for the reply!

I do a thorough vacuming/dusing of my house every weekend, and am really really meticulous about it, so it is definately not an issue of cat build up that is out of the norm. However this cat does shed alot more than my other cat (or it could be becuase he is white and I see it more..not sure).

I groom both cats and clip their nails weekly on a regular basis as well which is another reason this is a little frustrating :S

What I AM hoping happens (as you mentioned) is that I start to build an immunity to this reaction as I know that happens (my "itch" reaction to cats is VERY minor in comparison to when I get a cat for the first time after not having one around for a while).

I am going to make a doc apt soon, but I really have a feeling it is from the new little cat we just got :(

April 20th, 2009, 11:27 PM
yeah I had your reaction to the dog I adopted in the USA (I just moved to brazil so mentioning USA is just my way of letting you all know shes not with me anymore *with my parents on a giant mountain with a dog run ^^*) it took about a month but I regularly kept myself around her to get used to her and well after that I was good unless I was away from her for long periods of time. then it would start up again (trips to brazil and back and such) but unless you are planning on being away 6 months at a time you should be good to go. as long as it does like mine does and I adjust. It is always hard when its an animal you get attached to. just gotta think what will be best for every party if it doesn't get better (god willing that doesnt happen but you never know) and can arrange for someone you maybe know that could take it in.

April 21st, 2009, 03:00 AM

I would suggest getting some benedryl I think it is called in case your throat really starts to close up. That way u can take it before that happens.

Also, now that u have 2 cats maybe u have to vacumn more often. It just might be to much cat hair for your body to handle.

I hope u can figure something out. what about an air purifier? I don't know if that would help you.


April 21st, 2009, 06:18 AM
Vacuuming more might help...I have two and have to vacuum at least twice a week...I could get away with only on the weekends with my previous cats, but these two shed more when they are playing. :frustrated:

I don't have as severe of reactions, but I do notice when it is time to eyes get red and my nose gets plugged.

April 21st, 2009, 06:34 AM
I vacuum every day here. But with five in the house I have to.
Has kitty had a bath since you added him/her to the family? It is the dander on the cat that bothers people. Not the fur. Maybe kitty has dry skin and is shedding more dander. A bath may help. A soft brushing every day for a while after the bath may help get rid of the excess dander as well.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

April 21st, 2009, 06:51 AM
As 14+ stated it is a protein in the dander or saliva that causes the allergies. The more the cat produces and sheds these proteins the worse it is for person.

My hubby finds that any new contact with cats affects him and takes about 6 months for his allergies to settle down. Good air circulation really helps so when it is warm enough, keep some windows open a crack or keep your HRV running if you have one. A good quality hepa air filter would really help too.

April 21st, 2009, 07:02 AM
It does sound like you might be developing a touch of asthma. Would probably be a good idea to make a doctors appointment and ask about an asthma inhaler for when you have these episodes. Like the others have said, it's entirely likely that these symptoms will diminish as you adapt to the cat.

Couple other things - diet can play a huge role in how much a cat sheds. Not sure what you're feeding now, but if it isn't wet food (canned, or even better, raw), than you might want to consider switching. You will for sure notice a difference in both of your cat's coat condition. Here is some info for you:

Also, rather than bathing the cat, which can be incredibly stressful for everyone involved if the cat isn't used to it, see if you can find some allergy wipes or solution. They contain enzymes that break down the dander on a cat and can lessen the potential for allergic reaction in some situations. Allerpet ( is one such product. You put the solution on a cloth and gently wipe the cat with it every day or so.

April 21st, 2009, 08:10 AM
I ditto the advice here.

I have been allergic to cats for about 20 years. I have 5. I eventually got used to mine, it has taken about a little over a year though. Every time I got one new one, the bad allergies would begin all over until I grew used to that one. I am used to them all now, and only rarely need some nasal spray. I do however have asthma, and your symptoms sound like you may have developed asthma.

Don't worry though, it is possible to have cats and have asthma. I have a daily inhaler and it's controlled. My cats sleep with me and I have never had an issue with them and the asthma.

April 21st, 2009, 10:09 AM
Find yourself some Stinging Nettle plants. Nettles are very nutritious and humans have been eating them for probably thousands of years. Many say Nettles help with allergies overall, along with other health benefits.

Google it for additional info. Also tons of videos on YouTube about it, and how to ID it and where to find it. Almost grows everywhere except desert conditions, if I remember right.

If you don't want to eat the plant material you can boil it and then drink the "tea." The cooked plant material is supposed to resemble spinach when eaten.

Ask your doctor about this when you go to your appointment.

April 21st, 2009, 10:47 AM
I have not read this whole thread but it caught my eye as I had asked 2 vets the same question. This is what I got and let's see if any cat savvy people here can shed some light on this:

Siamese have the most allergens while persians have the least.

Any validity to this??:shrug:

April 21st, 2009, 08:44 PM
you betcha it's possible. I don't have the same reaction to every cat I meet. Whether it's long or short haired doesn't seem to matter.
Some I hardly react at all; others I have to leave because I can't breathe.
Take benedryl if you want, but you can't be on it 24/7 and expect to have no long term health issues yourself.

April 22nd, 2009, 07:31 AM
I have not read this whole thread but it caught my eye as I had asked 2 vets the same question. This is what I got and let's see if any cat savvy people here can shed some light on this:

Siamese have the most allergens while persians have the least.

Any validity to this??:shrug:

I don't know about those particular breeds, but I have read on several sites that some cat breeds produce more allergens than others. Devon Rex for example are said to be the breed with the least allergens, so they would be best for those with cat allergies.

April 24th, 2009, 11:31 PM
Thanks for the help everyone. I really don't know what to do.
I am going to give it more time to see what happens.

I am starting to wonder if it is the cat litter too. Is that possible?

April 25th, 2009, 12:09 AM
It can definately be the cat litter too. Do you scoop it yourself? I actually wear a mask when I scoop litter because I have asthma/allergies and the litter is quite dusty.

Your situation really sounds like what I went through. I adopted one cat ( a short-hair) and had him for 3/4 months before I adopted another. With my first cat I was fine, but for a few sniffles here and there. With the second guy (medium hair)..holy!! It was horrendous. I really considered taking him back. My eyes were red and puffy and tearing, my nose was all stuffed up, I was sneezing every second but my chest wasnt tight. I got used to him eventually .....though I did eventually develop asthma with the symptoms you are describing. When I visit my brother his DSH gives me no symptoms whatsoever. So yes, i really believe you can have different symptoms to different cats.

Does claritin relieve your symptoms? If it does, take it every day (my doc said taking claritin everyday was totally fine) and eventually you wont really need it anymore - hopefully- as you get used to your cat, as I did. If claritin does not work, I suggest going to your doctor and getting a prescription for something stronger. I dont know if zyrtec is OTC now - heard it was- but I got a prescription for it years ago (for a rash unrelated to the cats, before I had them) and still have some left over...have discovered that using zyrtec for my cat allergies really helped more than claritin.

Another thing you may want to try for chest tightness is drinking hot water with honey. Honestly it really helps. Honey is considered a natural remedy/aid for asthma. Maybe it just also helps sooth you, the warm drink. The thing is when you panic when your chest gets tight its just likey to get more and more tight.

Finally, if your asthma symptoms persist I would take an appt with your doc and get medication. I currently have a turboinhaler symbicort, which I use maybe once or twice a week. My prescription is actually for it to be used 4 times daily but after the inflammation went down I didnt need it as much. Sometimes you just need medication to get the inflammation of your bronchi/ airways under control.

Hope everything works out for you :grouphug::goodvibes:

April 25th, 2009, 11:32 AM
I dont know if zyrtec is OTC now - heard it was- but I got a prescription for it years ago (for a rash unrelated to the cats, before I had them) and still have some left over...have discovered that using zyrtec for my cat allergies really helped more than claritin.

Zyrtec is OTC now, so that's another option.