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November 17, 2008

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christa

To start with, we keep the guestroom a cat free zone, so there is one place in the house that cat allergic people can escape to. We dustbuster/lintbrush all of the furniture, give a good vacuuming etc.

luna

all the vacuuming in the world wouldn't help our old house when our animals were alive. best option for my cousin was meds and fresh ventilation.

TriplePlay

We do a heavy duty vacuum and dusting pre-visit and my allergic guests know to bring meds with them. Our house is a little different in that we have no carpet and minimal fabric upholstery so that helps. We also do what we can to keep the cats away from them.

Julie

We have 2 cats and lots of allergic friends and family. Honestly, some cats seem to provoke allergic reactions much more than others. That being said, we have a guest room and the door is always closed so the cats are never in there. Also, before guests arrive, we vacuum all furniture, etc. and we've found that as long as our guests don't sit on fabric furniture where the cats sit (they do much better on the leather furniture), they're pretty good overall; the worst allergic reactions can usually be kept under control with an over the counter allergy pill. We also have no carpets which helps, as does fresh air.

Good luck to you!

Heather

I'm here from Lost and Found. Take your allergy medication before you arrive. When friends visit us who are allergic we vacuum, open the windows (even in winter) to air it out, and don't take it personally when they have to leave early. If they are staying the night we wash the sheets, vacuum the bed, carpet, and drapes. We then shut the door and claim it a cat free zone. We also encourage them to bring pillows with them. Even though our cats don't sleep on the guest bed their dander can travel. Our frequent guests who are allergic to cats have pillows they bought specifically to stay at our house, they wash them when they get home.

Lee

Wow, I had the exact same reaction when my sister got a cat a couple of years ago. Then, she got a second one. I was devastated, even though we only visit a couple of times a year.

Here's what we've done. I talked to my allergist, and she said it is not unreasonable to start taking my nasal spray (a generic version of Rhinocort or Flonase, I've used both) two weeks prior to a visit to her house. So I do. And while at her house, I supplement with Allegra each day. The nasal spray has been a godsend.

My sister cleans the guest room really, really thoroughly, then shuts the door to keep the cats out prior to and during our visit. She has hardwood in the open kitchen/dining area, so I try to hang out there most of the time (which is easy since it is open to the living room), or on the leather furniture in the family room. I really avoid the upholstered furniture and carpeted areas when I can. And I bring my own pillow and blanket. I might bring sheets next time too.

Since my sister has seasonal allergies, she's pretty understanding, and we try to be out and about during a good chunk of the visit. I do want my daughter around pets, so hopefully she won't suffer from allergies herself. Unfortunately, now Ellie has decided she loves cats and wants one desperately. Sigh...

Jen

We have dogs, but I do similar things. The dogs are never allowed in the guest room. If someone is coming over for a short visit, I completely put the dogs away. If they are staying a longer time, I just try to minimize their interaction. And I keep Benedryl in the guest bathroom.

annacyclopedia

I grew up being allergic to animals, and although it's gotten a lot better now (and I have a sweet dog of my own), cats still can make me wheeze and sneeze and itch and tear up. And when I'm going somewhere I know there are cats, I just medicate myself well -ChlorTriplon, Claritin, or Reactine all work pretty well for me.

Good luck dealing with this - I know allergies can be serious and cause real suffering, and when that gets in the way of being with people we love, it is even worse!

Care

My son is severely allergic to cats (and about ninetly gazillion other things). As in trips to the ER allergic. I don't expect my friends and family to go overboard for a visit from us. We stay in hotels and meet up outside the house. If we do go in their homes, we premedicate and only stay a short time (armed with Epi Pens, Benedryl, eyedrops, inhalers, etc). No amount of vaccuuming or cleaning will remove all the allergens, and I don't feel it's fair to expect others bend over backwards so we can spend time in their home. The only exception to this is my parents. For whatever reason, my son can tolerate their cat for longer times so long as I keep on top of his meds. We sleep upstairs (cat is not allowed upstairs) and arrange to spend at least part of every day out of the house to give my son a break. I think he can tolerate their cat because he had been around this cat all his life.

Michell

I typically don't have that many overnight guests but if I did I would have to put them up in a motel. Sometimes you can remove the cat from the house for a few days and clean super well but for many with allergies this isn't going to be that effective. Also I would say if you are going to be at her house for a while go prepared with benadryl or claritin or something.

Carrie

Same thing everyone else is saying. The guestroom stays closed off to the animals and the entire house gets a good vacuuming and dusting multiple times before they come. (I usually start my cleaning regime about a month before they come, which includes brushing the cats more than usual.) My husband's mom is allergic to cats and the first time she came to stay with us I was terrified that she'd be miserable. However, by the end of the visit, she commented that she could hardly tell we had cats in the house and even asked me to show her where the litter box was because she hadn't been able to find (ie, smell) it the entire time she was there. Funny enough - it sat at the bottom of an open shelving unit right in front of the toilet in the bathroom she used every single day.

Holly

We have three cats. When an allergic house guest is coming, we clean really well. I was everything in the guestroom and declare it a cat free zone. We don't have carpet just wood and tile so a good mopping will get rid of a lot of stuff. We usually don't open windows if someone allergic to pollens that are high.

We got our first cat while we were in college. I will admit that our decision to get the 2nd and 3rd was helped by the fact that my mother in law is allergic :) She also knows our pets make us happy and it's our home. She is a guest and we never get upset if they stay in a hotel.

artsweet

My MOL (mother out law) is allergic to cats. We used to take the Holly approach, which I would still do if it were up to me. But when we bought our house a big factor was that it has a guest cottage (converted garage) in the back yard. Which she uses about five days a year.

SIGH.

In addition to all the other things people have mentioned... Allerpet - treat the cats with it ahead of time. Wipe down the walls - yes it's a royal PITA, but it gets a lot of dander out of the house. And don't vacuum too close to the allergic person's arrival as it can actually stir up the allergens.

Pamela Jeanne

There is no amount of cleaning that can help someone who has severe allergies to cats. I know, I've been in the emergency room with severe asthma attacks a few times when people failed to tell us about their cat because they had "cleaned" and created a "cat-free zone." It is an enzyme in the saliva of a cat that is the culprit. Cat's clean themselves, the enzyme gets on their fur -- they shed and move about the house and the enzyme -- microscopic becomes air born and sticks to surfaces, gets into furnace filters and vents and voila -- it's EVERYWHERE. I simply cannot visit inside a house or stay with anyone who has a cat. Outdoor patios and restaurants -- fine. You realize how important breathing is when you can't...the worst part is I LOVE CATS! sigh.

Dora

Coming late to this post. Sometimes there really is nothing you can do. I live in a one bedroom apt. A few months ago I got a late night call from a severely allergic friend (who also has asthma) who was staying at another friend's and got locked out. She asked if she could come over to my place. After giving it a bit of thought I had to tell her no. I said that we would wind up in the ER in a few hours. I felt bad, but she knew I was right. I made a bunch of phone calls for her to find her a place to stay for the night.

I'm sorry this is hard for you, but pets are family members, too. I'm sure she loves you, but it would be wrong for her to not have the pet she wants so you can visit her home.

BTW, my sister can't set foot in my apt either. I understand you feel hurt, but I know you know she did not get the cat to make you feel unwelcome.

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