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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Minor gripe

Here's the thing. I love cats. I used to own one. But I've developed an allergy to them. It's not so severe that being around one will send me to an emergency room, but if I spend more than a few hours in the same house as one, I will begin to find it hard to breathe.

Zyrtec helps. A lot. And if I get ample warning, I will take the zyrtec and all will be well.

Tonight was the synagogue "New Members Tea". Since I've attended Eclecticon instead for the past two years, and I was home this year, I went.

And the woman hosting the event in her home apparently thought that all she needed to do was put the cat in a closed room in her tiny apartment. And there was absolutely no warning about the cat at all. Nor did she say she owned one. I spent the evening getting progressively less comfortable, although not at the point of having difficulties, and not knowing why. I only found out just before we left - and as soon as I did, I was out the door. Another hour there, and I'd have been wheezing. :(

Isn't it good manners to mention the presence of a pet just in case someone has allergies? If I'd known, I could have taken medication. All my fannish friends say when they have cats or dogs.


People without allergies often just don't think about such things. The cat was probably put away so as not to be trod on or get on the table. Allergies most likely had no bearing. That's just my experience. I guess good manners is sometimes balanced by what people actually know at a conscious level? I usually tell people that Loki has food allergies, for example, or that I have intolerances (not anaphalactic shock, but I throw-up), because I don't trust people to ask. *g* I return, I usually ask or mention as needed because it's part of my thinking.


As near as I can tell, she put the cat away so that no one would be frightened - not unreasonable, as people can be afraid of pets.

Is it anaphalactic shock if it takes hours to happen?

I should think to ask - next year, I will. If we go. :) Or I'd host it, except that we're not wheelchair accessible.

Never thought of it

And I should have considering that I do have allergies sometimes of the dangerous kind, and I do have pets. And I have started having the dangerous kind in connection with cats. I suppose that I never thought to ask anyone who was coming over if they were allergic to pets of any kind because I don't think anyone who has ever been in my house didn't know that I did have pets. I usually talk about them long before I ever feel comfortable enough to invite them in. And I am well known for having them. There are a lot of people who won't come to my house (fine by me, really, I don't generally like having people in my house for some reason) because of the animals. But I have told people on occasion that I have cats, dogs, snake, freeroaming iguana, ect... before they come in because I have met a lot of people who were afraid of one, or more of these. I have met people who are afraid of cats! And I just always felt it is best to let people know what they are in for before they come in because the surprise might distress the animals when they sense it. Then there is also the chance that I have to explain to someone they can't come in because they are wearing the wrong colors and the iguana might get very upset by it. I won't put them in cages or rooms for the comfort of fears of human guests though because this is their home. I just warn human visitors before hand.

As for the lady hosting, she probably never thought of the possibility that you or anyone else might be allergic. I am allergic to cats, and I never think that maybe another person might be too. Allergies are so different from one person to another- one person might have anaphylaxis from being near a cat, while another might have to be around them for days and only then get watery eyes, and another might not have any reaction at all. We can try to think of every contingecy, but in the end it is just an impossibility. This is another thing that I need to add to my Must Remember list though. Right under 'Never open a Snickers bar or anything else containing peanuts in a room with people I don't know without first making sure that no one there is allergic.'

Which means you wouldn't be hosting a function for 30 or so relative strangers anyway. :)

When inviting someone to my house, I always make sure that the cats will not pose a problem. If someone is allergic, we do an extra special job cleaning and make sure to even vacuum the sofas (yes, fur and dander reside there too, which is something I wish other people would remember!). Now, I may think this way because I, myself, am allergic to cats, and I haven't always been. I married into these cats (I call them my little inlaws).

I honestly don't know if I would have thought to mention such things before I'd developed an allergy. I never had cats when I wasn't allergic to them (my family always had dogs). But I think I probably still would have thought of it because my brother was asthmatic and my father was allergic to cats when I was growing up (my father, the lucky one, has outgrown his allergy and now lives with three cats and a dog).

Does zyrtec help enough? Have you tried allegra? I've had wonderful results with Allegra for a variety of allergies, not the least of which is the cats. But I don't know how well Allegra works if you take it "on demand"... I take it every day and it was a week or two before it was especially effective (but boy can I tell when I've missed a dose!)

Oh, I have a long and deep history with allergy meds. I started taking Allegra back when it was Seldane - and for a cat, as it happens. We were hoping to spend a few days with the Felds, and it was suggested I try Seldane. And it worked just fine.

And then I developed hypersensitive skin, such that everything gave me hives. EVERYTHING. Including the saline solution used as a control for skin tests. (Theory is that it happened because I had a viral infection and then developed walking pneumonia, all while undergoing fertility treatments, and my immune system over reacted. This is also when my cat allergy got far worse and I got other respiratory allergies.) When my doctor prescribed Seldane again, it was like a *miracle* - the hives didn't completely go away, but they weren't nearly as bad and I could sleep at night.

Eventually, I started going to a dermatologist, who kept me on what was now Allegra and also gave me Zyrtec, and the skin slowly began to resolve itself. After two years of this, the dermatologist gave me a blood workup because Allegra is hard on the liver. He also reduced the intake to once a day. He did this right after my father died, while I was still in sheloshim (the first thirty days.) And. My liver was just fine and my blood sugar was 311. We figure the stress pushed me over into diabetes - that it was caught pretty much immediately.

Meanwhile, I kept forgetting to take the Allegra and kept not noticing because I wasn't getting hives. So. When the prescription ran out, I stopped taking it. Actually, at this point, I'm only taking the Zyrtec every other day or so, or if the pollen count is especially high. And it did enable me to spend a Shavuot with the Felds a couple years ago just by doubling my dosage, which I'm permitted to do if necessary.

The thought simply never enters my mind to ask. I guess it should, since I know a number of people who are allergic to cats. I think at some level, my brain has decided that the presence of cats should be assumed. IE, it's not a matter of if I have cats, but of which cats I have. Even though I know that's not logical.

I should remember to ask myself. I'm just used to fannish friends issuing group invites and mentioning the presences of household pets, just in case. Or knowing it already.

I have so many friends who are mildly allergic like you (i.e. if they take drugs they're okay) that I *always* mention it.

The last time I had a gathering, I even warned about my *stairs*. I live in a 3-story rowhouse with 12 foot ceilings and the TV room is on the 3rd floor. I knew some people were coming who had joint problems so I wanted to make sure they knew what they were getting in to.

But the cat thing... yeah, it's automatic.

It's gotten to be an almost automatic thing for me, if I'm visting someone for the first time, I take meds before I go. Most of my fannish friends have cats, so I've learned. Even then I've had to actually get up and leave because I was coughing and wheezing so much. I guess I should probably tried something more powerful than benedryl next time, huh? ::g::