zeebra44

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Do any of you have a significant other that is allergic to cats/dogs/other animals?

I love cats-not in a creepy way, and I've always had cats growing up. When I got accepted to vet school, it was always my dream to get a kitten to keep me company. Well instead, I'm going to have a boyfriend to keep me company. While I love him, he is allergic to cats. It's kind of devastating for a person that loves animals, that will someday be a vet, to be told they can't have an animal that they enjoy being around, which I'm sure you all will understand.

I'm just wondering if anyone else can relate/has any suggestions for coming to a compromise..because he's not budging. He didn't grow up with cats, so I'm not sure if he even knows the extent of his "allergy". It's frustrating, to say the least.

Thanks in advance.
 

KKibo

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make him get allergy shots :laugh:

seriously though, go to the shelter and play with a few different breeds (at different times, obviously) and you may find one that is tolerable for him to be around.
 

heylodeb

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I actually have quite a bit to say on this topic, but I'll try to be short and sweet.

My husband and I didn't live together until we were married. He had always talked about how he wasn't a fan of having pets but I figured it wouldn't be that big of a deal...

Well, it is. Not that I want to discourage you from your relationship with your BF, but I can honestly say that living with someone who does not understand nor can tolerate the importance of animals in your life can be almost unbearable. Please realize, I love my husband and he has sacrificed so much for me and loved more then I ever thought possible...BUT

If you choose to have a cat and your BF in the same house there is a strong possibility that you will constantly have to choose between which one to love at which moment. I can either pet the dog or spend time with the husband. I can either choose to watch a movie sitting next to my dog or sitting next to my hubby. Not too mention that every bit of the care aspect is placed on me even when going to school and working. If you've read the twilight series - imagine being Bella but Edward is your pet and Jacob is your significant other. :)

It's hard - not impossible but difficult. Honestly, I would wait until until you find out how much stress vet school is before adding another family member to the mix.

p.s. my hubby is the extreme but I wanted to give you a view from this side of the fence!
 
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My father is somewhat allergic to dogs. He has 5 of them now.

The truth is, he just loves dogs too much to give them up. If it means he has to be a little sniffly every once in a while and take some antihistamine, it's worth it to him.

Obviously, your boyfriend didn't grow up with cats like my dad grew up with dogs, so he doesn't have the same kind of bond with them, but I think that some people with pet allergies can mentally build up the severity of their allergies into a phobia - they lash out against their allergen with a vitriol disproportionate to their symptoms. For example, I have a friend who is allergic to cats. Because of this, he also hates them. Ever since my mom got a cat, this friend has avoided visiting our house because "that cat is there".

However, the few times he has been to our house, he has not manifested any symptoms, even when the cat ran up and touched him. While I can't know for certain what his experience is, he is the kind of friend who would tell me if he wasn't feeling well – it appears that his aversion to being near the cat is less about actual symptoms that he suffers and more about possible symptoms he fears that he might suffer.

Is this true in your case? I don't know. Perhaps it's worth trying to find out how allergic your boyfriend actually is, and whether he can handle kitties or not. If he can't however - if his allergy is really severe enough to be unbearable, then I'm afraid you're just kind of stuck :(
 

BlacKAT33

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i can def see the situation that heylodeb discussed. Luckily, i didnt have it that extreme.

My boyfriend told me he was allergic to cats. i LOVE cats. ever since my last cat died ive been wanting one all through college but my parents wouldnt get one because they said i wouldnt be there to take care of him (tru) and i was not allowed pets at my college apartment. When I graduated my boyfriend and I moved in together. I begged and begged for a pet cat but all i got was no no no. We ended up getting a hamster, then a second hamster, then both died.
I eventually got really depressed because i had lost all my college friends (they went OOS to grad/med school) and it is hard finding a new social group. He finally noticed a change in my personality and realized that i was getting depressed so he agreed to adopt a cat. We looked at many and I had to get a short haired one, also had to visit it and see if he reacted with sneezing or anything. Turns out....I'M more allergic to cats than he is. I am now getting allergy shots. Which is fine for me, i dont mind :D and he is...well, NOT ALLERGIC haha liarrr lol jk jk i think he was just nervous because he didn't grow up with any pets but really he only has a runny nose every now and then.

conclusion: he now LOVES our cat too :D
 

gilch

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I am mildly allergic to cats and dogs and live with 7 and 6 respectively. I am pretty allergic to hay but work with it on a daily basis about half the year. My mother's cat allergies went from pretty bad to very mild once our cat started sleeping on her head. Obviously, people can get over allergies, ignore them, or do things to improve their condition (allergy shots, time, keeping pets out of the bedroom...). Honestly, he doesn't sound all that willing to try much... do you think you can come to any longterm solution?

I don't think anyone has mentioned specific compromise items except allergy shots. How about cat boundaries in the apartment, offering to do all litterbox duties ect?

I do think that heylodeb has a good point that this could be a long term problem if he's not happy with cats and you need cats to be happy.
 

zeebra44

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Thanks, this is really helpful! Tikt and BlacKat, you bring up some interesting points. I feel that my boyfriend doesn't really know the extent of his allergy, and has just decided he doesn't like cats in general. I've tried to talk to him about it, and he'll pretty much just ignore the subject. Or he'll cover it up by saying something like, "Well I wouldn't want you to get a cat and then have to get rid of it later." But then he doesn't seem too excited about going to a shelter and at least testing the waters. I think that's what bothers me the most. I wish he would at least TRY because it's important to ME.

And the funny thing is, this would normally be a deal breaker for me. I dated one guy in college and said "See ya!" when he told me he didn't like dogs because they're "disgusting and dirty". I really care about my current boyfriend and want to make it work for the both of us. So we'll see how this unfolds..
 

breenie

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My boyfriend is allergic to cats, but he loves mine, and is usually on allergy meds anyway, which makes it tolerable. He's said in the past that if we end up living together he'd be fine with the kitty. :) I think it depends on the severity of the allergies, for sure, but I'm lucky that his aren't too bad!
 

ZebraFinch

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No one has sympathy for people with allergies? :laugh:

I have severe cat allergies, and I would never be able to tolerate living with a cat. And it's not for lack of trying, so you can't blame me nor can I just 'suck it up' or mentally stop it - I've done allergy shots for 8 years (didn't work), nearly every allergy med/nose spray out there, sinus flushes, honey, etc. I go to work at the shelter and I come home feeling absolutely miserable, and it takes a few days to feel completely 'normal' after that. When I was a kid and would sleep over at a friend's house who owned a cat, I would come home the next day wheezing and sick as a dog. If I spend an evening at a friend's house for dinner and a movie and they own a cat, I come home with what feels like a cold, even if I premed with Sudafed/Zyrtec/etc. I can tell when someone around me owns a cat because I start sneezing and itching and feeling all sick from the allergens on their clothes. :rolleyes: Some people have tried (they're so thoughtful) to clean their house spotless if I'm coming over and they have a cat, but when a cat lives indoors no amount of cleaning can get rid of the allergens, so I still feel terrible.

Obviously some people can endure living with an allergen if they have mild allergies, but for people like me who have truly severe allergies I don't think others really understand just how awful it makes you feel. Everyone tells me 'just get shots', or 'have you tried X medicine?', and I always say yes, I've tried those and sadly they don't work. Some people even seem to think that it's something I should be able to 'get over', which is ridiculous.

Maybe you can get him a prescription for an allergy med and take him to a cat owning friend's house to see how he deals, and try different breeds as I've heard people may only be allergic to certain breeds. But if he is really allergic, then I wouldn't force it. It wouldn't be fair to your boyfriend to make him feel miserable 24/7 for the sake of having a pet.

Adding: Good luck, though. I totally understand how frustrating it is to be with people who want nothing to do with pets. Sometimes I wonder how people can live their lives without furry/feathery/scaly friends around them! Hopefully he'll give it a try, he at least needs to give it a chance. Don't forget that his allergies may not be so bad when at the shelter as you are only there for so long and the kennels are cleaned daily, but in a house the allergens really build up and get everywhere, so house allergies may be worse than shelter allergies.
 
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And the funny thing is, this would normally be a deal breaker for me. I dated one guy in college and said "See ya!" when he told me he didn't like dogs because they're "disgusting and dirty".
Haha, I'm with you there - I'd have trouble viewing a guy who said that as a human being, lol.

I just remembered another story that's relevant. My dad is also allergic to small rodents - mice, hamsters, rats - and his allergy to them is a lot worse than it is to dogs. He knew exactly how severe his allergy to them was, too, because it had developed while he was doing animal research for his MS. Because of this, we were forbidden for a long time from having rodents as pets (for my family, this is a big deal, since basically anything that swims, walks or flies has been one of our pets at some point).

My sister, however, really wanted a pocket pet. She couldn't really make up her mind as to which kind, but she would buy book after book about caring for them. Over and over, she would bring "How to Care for your Guinea Pig" or "My First Hamster" up to my dad and beg for the titular pet, and every time he would say "No."

So she tricked him. She set it up so that she would have a school project that required her to use rodents - a mouse maze - and laid all the ground work with her lab group without consulting him so that by the time he found out that she would be training pet mice to run a maze, it was too late to change her project. She got her mice, but with the condition that they be given to a friend when the experiment was over.

However, after 4 weeks of living with the mice, Dad realized that they weren't really aggravating his allergies. Since they were confined in one area of the house that he didn't use anyway and he wasn't responsible for cleaning up after them, there was really no way for him to get sneezy. In the end, my sister got to keep her mice, and was allowed to have many more rodent pets.

So, I guess the moral of the story is that when people are being rigid and unreasonable, it can sometimes pay to "trick" them. I'm not suggesting that you go out and buy a cat. However, if you rely on having him take the initiative and go out there with you, I think you're setting yourself up for disappointment - he already has made up his mind about how he feels about cats. If you want him to experience them and test whether or not reality matches up to his expectations, you might have to bring the cat to him, either by visiting friends who own a cat, or by cat-sitting for a friend for a weekend, or some other roundabout and slightly underhanded method.

@Zebrafinch: Don't worry - if he's legit super-allergic, she'll just have to back off. We're just trying to find a way to get him to try before she resigns to a life of catlessness.
 

gilch

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No one has sympathy for people with allergies? :laugh:

But people with your kind of severe allergies are pretty rare, right? :D

Most people can compromise on pets and if there are problems finding out if he is one of them, that's another problem entirely.
 

dyachei

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My husband was against getting cats since he is allergic. We have 2 now. We went and visited a shelter and he takes generic Claritin daily. He has almost no symptoms - the ones he has are related to the fact that he likes to play with the cats and he sometimes gets scratched (no matter how many times I talk to him about it, he keeps doing it). The scratches don't heal as fast as other cuts. We talked about what we would do if he couldn't handle the cats before we got them.

You should ask him if he would be willing to try fostering a cat with a trial run of Zyrtec or Claritin. Just keep in mind allergies can ramp up. My husband's father had a cat that they had to give away because of allergies when he couldn't walk up and down stairs without having to rest.
 

clouds815

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My bf has allergies too -seasonal and pet dander

We have 2 cats now. He takes Zyrtec daily and is pretty much fine - he says it only gets bad if he gets right up in their face or pets them and then touches his face (and of course now with spring coming but thats a different thing). & he enjoys the cats too

so if its just typical allergies (not too severe) then my guess is with some added treatment he could get by, and even enjoy the animals. Zyrtec is OTC so it would be easy for him to try at least. In my case I was pretty dead set and took matters into my own hands, I'm not sure anything but a systemic anaphlyactic reaction would have deterred me! As Tiktaalik suggested, you may want to consider being more proactive!


also... are there maybe some breeds that are supposedly 'hypoallergenic'? although idk how much merit lies in that...
 

Tobysgirl81

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I have to say, I grew up in a household where we couldn't have pets because my mom is "allergic". She's still "allergic" in the way that if she knows a pet has been in the house her eyes suddenly water up and get itchy. On the other hand, if she doesn't know she doesn't seem to have any symptoms...so who knows.

Anyhow, to be entirely honest someone who is NOT a pet lover would be a deal breaker for me. I'm one of those people who will take a dog in off the street and house it overnight before bringing it to a shelter the following day. I'll adopt a dog if I like it, I petsit friend's dogs at my house to help them save on money, and I don't want anyone putting any limits on what I can or can't do. My dogs are a very active part of my life - they go where I go, they keep me getting outdoors everyday and they are fantastic little buggers to snuggle and play with. I'd be worried about someone who didn't love them or understand why I do what I do.

I also think it could lead to some serious conflicts down the road. Having been through a divorce, I'm now WAAAAAAAAAAAAY more in tune with what I want in a partner. And believe me, no matter how amicable it is, Divorce SUCKS. My husband DID love animals, that wasn't why we split, but I definitely consider that part of the "must have" personality list!
 

Willowhand

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also... are there maybe some breeds that are supposedly 'hypoallergenic'? although idk how much merit lies in that...
I think there is something to be said for "hypoallergenic" cats. My father and I are both allergic. My allergies used to be bad to the point of serious misery/breathing problems even with allergy medicine, but I love kitties and as I eased into spending more and more time with them the allergic reaction became less severe. However I am still allergic, and my parents were not thrilled with the idea of getting a cat -until we looked into hypoallergenic breeds.

We went and visited some Norwegian Forest Cat breeders in their cat-filled home, and while normally a place with that many felines would cause a very uncomfortable reaction, my father and I were both fine. We were lucky enough to end up with a wonderful Norwegian Forest kitty, and after years of having him living in our house the only time I experience an allergic reaction is when the little beastie sneaks into my room and covers my pillow in fur.
 

NittanyKitty

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Funny you bring this up, zeebra, because I have the exact same situation. My boyfriend is also allergic to cats but can live with (and loves) dogs. We're currently in a long-distance relationship which will be even more so next year as he will be in Pittsburgh while I live in Wisconsin. I would loooove to get a cat next year to keep me company at school, but I worry about asking him to visit with allergies. I'm thinking that keeping a box of Claritin in the apartment should do the trick, but I'll definitely have to get the okay from him first. Honestly, though, I guess if I had to choose, I would hold off on getting a cat and compromise on a guinea pig or something he could handle. I would definitely choose my guy over an animal!
 
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My mom was deathly allergic to cats for around thirty years. despite my begging we never had a cat. however, last december my mom visited my aunt who had a kitten, the kitten slept in the bed my mom was using and followed her around all day. no allergies. SO Im sure you can find a kitty that will not cause him to die.:laugh:
 

ZebraFinch

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Gilch, that's probably true, but as I'm sure lots of people know even mild allergies can be pretty annoying. It seems though that he should at least try to take a med to give it a chance, and I know generics like Zyrtec and Claritin tend to work well for most people. (Maybe he just doesn't want to take a med every day? I know some people hate taking pills, it may be worth asking him if this is the issue). The med that gave me the most relief was Allegra, though I think it's still prescription (not sure).

I think I got a bit fired up as it seemed people were trying to insinuate that people with allergies should just be able to 'get over it' or suffer through it, which usually isn't realistic. Sorry! :oops:

Add: Look what I found! http://www.allerca.com/ Does anyone know anything about how truly 'hypoallergenic' these cats are? Now I have some investigating to do, not so sure on how they make it happen.
 

cowgirla

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I have mild cat allergies, major bunny allergies, and am allergic to most antihistamines/allergy meds. Go figure.

So no benadryl, claritin, zyrec, allegra, etc. for me. Allergy shots gave me severe swelling, giant injection site hematomas, and week long flu like symptoms, so that idea got scratched too.

I agree that not all "fixes" work for everyone, but sounds like the main problem is figuring out just how allergic the BF is... Maybe his allergies will be the type that arent bad and get better over time. Maybe a med will help him. I think he should at least be willing to figure that much out.
 

sofficat

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I have two comments to contribute to this thread :)

1- My sister was very allergic to cats and we had at least one at all times growing up. She wouldn't allow them in her room and tried to avoid them, which helped. In her twenties we lived together and her allergies just went away. We had 7 cats at one point in our tiny apartment and she never had a problem!

2- My hubby and I have been together almost 10 years and he's always known my love of animals. When we got engaged I told him straight up "Animals are my life and I will always have them and I will always be bringing random animals home and that is something you are just going to have to accept" So there's no reason for him to ever get pouty over my craziness for animals ;) and if he does I remind him what I said before we got married. :D
 

lalzi22

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I have to say, def listen to everyone else on this.

Or

Get one of those naked Sphynx cats.
 

Pouches Rock

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Allergies real or not I think that it is important that your bf is willing to try to accommodate your needs ie attempt to determine extent of allergies, which type of cat allergy, meet variety of cats/breeds to find one that he is less reactive to.

It is likely that if he really is allergic then he is allergic to a protein found in the cats saliva that is transferred to the skin and is usually inhaled or has contact with humans as sloughed off skin/dander or as shedded hair. There are several breeds of cats that are supposed to naturally have less of this protein. One of my cats is not one of those breeds but 3 people that are normally very responsive to cats have no problem with him. I highly recommend having your bf meet with some of the breeds that are supposed to have less of the protein and also get tested to determine the origins of his allergy so that you can better manage it. Go to friends houses and shelters to see if you can find a cat that he doesn't respond to

Research has shown that regularly bathing a cat and brushing can reduce the amount of allergens in the air. Also an air purifier with a HEPA filter removes airborne allergens. Additionally there are studies that show that females and neutered males shed less. I believe there are also food additives or some type of drug that reduces shedding.

I would also make parts of the house cat free, in particular your bed and sofa. If you want to curl up with your kitty in the living room maybe designate a overstuffed chair for kitty time.

Try to find a cat that he isn't as allergic to that you can borrow ie a friends. Then you can experiment without worrying about having to adopt out a cat you cannot own.

As for any relationship stuff IMO( not trying to offend or say you must do this) if there is something that would make your life better/happier and your SO is against it for reason X. If you have solutions to make reason X not a problem then they are saying that their desires/needs are more important than yours. Also in this case if you find a cat that he isn't allergic to but he still won't let you have it then it's not about allergies its about him not wanting to be around a cat. At that point you are at a crossroads because there is no way to fix that problem unless you can compromise on an a different animal that you would both still feel happy about owning. If I had an SO who wouldn't agree to getting a cat that he wasn't allergic to and he wouldn't consider other pets as a compromise then that would be a deal breaker. This goes the other way too if you are the person who wants the cat you need to be willing to make the process of finding the cat/equipment easier for the reluctant SO and be willing to figure out a different pet as a compromise. It is give an take.

Sorry for the ridiculously long post, can't stand it when people won't try.
 
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Funny you bring this up, zeebra, because I have the exact same situation. My boyfriend is also allergic to cats but can live with (and loves) dogs. We're currently in a long-distance relationship which will be even more so next year as he will be in Pittsburgh while I live in Wisconsin. I would loooove to get a cat next year to keep me company at school, but I worry about asking him to visit with allergies. I'm thinking that keeping a box of Claritin in the apartment should do the trick, but I'll definitely have to get the okay from him first. Honestly, though, I guess if I had to choose, I would hold off on getting a cat and compromise on a guinea pig or something he could handle. I would definitely choose my guy over an animal!
haha i am in the same situation.. would love to get a cat because they are a little more independent than dogs, however my boyfriend is deathly allergic to them.. yes he has ended up in the emergency room before because his throat closed. long story short, I chose him over the cat and now I am begging for a dog (because he seems to be fine with those) :)
 

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Oh yeah as far as I know there is no peer-reviewed literature that backs up allerca's claims so I wouldn't gamble with 6,000$ on a kitty who might not be 'hypoallergenic'
 

nyanko

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Oh yeah as far as I know there is no peer-reviewed literature that backs up allerca's claims so I wouldn't gamble with 6,000$ on a kitty who might not be 'hypoallergenic'
Don't worry about Allerca.

If your allergy is to the dander, then you are most likely allergic to the protein FelD1 and if you really want a cat, you could try out visiting a Siberian breeder. Cats of the Siberian breed as a whole tend to have lower levels of the FelD1 protein and anecdotally they provoke less of an allergic reaction. If your allergies are of the general "allergic to most furry animals" sort this might not really apply to you though.
 

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If your allergy is to the dander, then you are most likely allergic to the protein FelD1 and if you really want a cat, you could try out visiting a Siberian breeder.

completely agree...a friend of mine in college was highly allergic to cats but her mom got a siberian and she eventually got a maine coon and never had a problem. well, except for the attitude of the maine coon ;)
 

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I think you have recieved some great advice.

One thing I would add is that relationships are about balance, and you both have to know the basics that you require in a partner and the things you couldn't put up with.

IE I have dated men who couldn't handle my wanderlust. There are modifications that can work: my late husband was a homebody; one house, one town, with a desire to never relocate again. However, he was fine with me pinging around the world and living apart. So it was ok. The SO after that thought he was ok with it, and was fine with taking short trips, but when it came to relocating, he balked. We split (on friendly terms) after I had to relocate and he decided he couldn't or wouldn't. My husband now is ex-military. When I came home last week and said I wanted to be a vet at the circus and we would live in a caravan, he started looking into what would be necessary for us and the critters to live comfortably in a caravan. Even if we don't do that, having his support is invaluable.

So, like others said, there are ways to adapt, but personally, if a discussion and negotiation isn't possible, I would be concerned about what else will crop up when we disagree or have different beliefs. There is a huge difference between 'I'm allergic; absolutly not' and 'I'm sorry, I am afraid my allergies will prevent it, but lets try to figure out what will work.'

I do feel for folks who have allergies, but that might just be a component of incompatability. I feel for folks who have agoraphobia too, but it doesn't mean I could embrace life with them.

However....I heard a clip on BBC about hookworms resolving allergies....
 

Whyevernot55

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However....I heard a clip on BBC about hookworms resolving allergies....
Funny you should mention it - my boyfriend was talking about the same story just the other night. Apparently some guy went to Africa and walked around in the latrines until he got hookworm, and now he's living pretty much allergy free. How crazy is that? Personally I don't think I'd try it! :laugh:
 

sumstorm

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Funny you should mention it - my boyfriend was talking about the same story just the other night. Apparently some guy went to Africa and walked around in the latrines until he got hookworm, and now he's living pretty much allergy free. How crazy is that? Personally I don't think I'd try it! :laugh:
My husband (seasonal allergies) said if I found and cleaned hookworms, he would consider it. unfortunatly, the guy isn't selling in the states anymore.

When you think about IgE and hypersensitivity, it makes some sense.
 

dgm

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I love cats-not in a creepy way, and I've always had cats growing up.
I didn't read the rest of the thread and don't anything helpful for you (though I would be really sad to never be able to have a cat... How much do you like the bf, exactly?) - but I thought it was hilarious and almost creepy in itself that you felt the need to clarify that you don't love the cats "in a creepy way". :)
 

zeebra44

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I didn't read the rest of the thread and don't anything helpful for you (though I would be really sad to never be able to have a cat... How much do you like the bf, exactly?) - but I thought it was hilarious and almost creepy in itself that you felt the need to clarify that you don't love the cats "in a creepy way". :)
HAHA! Well, you know what kind of people I'm talking about!

And thanks everyone for all of the responses. I'm definitely taking notes!
 

HandD42

ISU CVM C/O 2014
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I didn't read the rest of the thread and don't anything helpful for you (though I would be really sad to never be able to have a cat... How much do you like the bf, exactly?) - but I thought it was hilarious and almost creepy in itself that you felt the need to clarify that you don't love the cats "in a creepy way". :)
Haha I thought the same thing.

I am dealing with my own allergy development and it really is a pain so I feel your bf's pain. In my case the animals are my life so I am trying to find some meds that will bring substantial relief.

My bf is an even bigger animal collected then I am so we constantly have to rein each other in, that truly, we don't need to bring home any more! The ark is full!

Good luck!
 

Electrophile

Working Dog Doc
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My husband is pretty highly allergic to cats. So much that he can't hardly come into people's houses that owned them. We ended up with a little lynx point Siamese (AKA: colorpoint shorthair or Siamese/grey tabby cross) from one of my classmates with the intention of him being a mousing cat for the garage. Well, turns out Siamese and Siamese crosses supposedly don't produce much dander and especially after a few weeks, he was fine. He had to wash his hands at first after petting him and making sure to keep him out of the carpeted areas of the house, but not a problem anymore. And he LOVES that darn cat! :laugh: He didn't want it at first but now it's his profile picture on his Facebook account. :rolleyes: