Severe Allergies Can't Be Controlled - Give up cats? (3 replies)
Sorry for the long post, but I need some advice on returning two of my four cats to the no-kill shelter where I adopted them from 6 years ago.
I’ve had a cat allergy since I was a child. It used to be handled very easily into adulthood with typical OTC meds. It’s gradually gotten worse over the past several years and has gotten to the point of being unmanageable. I feel constantly sick all of the time and sometimes have a hard time breathing. The allergies have caused both ear and sinus infections.
I’ve been to an allergist. Testing showed I’m allergic to 52 environmental allergens, 36 of them severely allergic (including cats). I feel so very guilty to give them up, but my allergist has now tried multiple different combinations of drugs to get them under control without enough success.
I have a diagnosed needle phobia, so allergy shots aren’t really a good option for me. Beyond the fact that it takes a long time for the shots to start working, they are extremely costly. I’m currently on two different oral antihistamines; a prescription steroid/antihistamine nose spray, prescription antihistamine eye drops, and the highest dose prescription maintenance steroid inhaler that is made on the market. It’s simply not enough, and as more drugs have been added, the cost of medication has become so expensive to the point that it’s straining my household finances.
I already have tile floors and have multiple HEPA air purifiers in my home and an allergen filter in my central air system. I’ve also tried a spray on my living room furniture that’s supposed to help reduce the allergen reaction on fabrics.
In the end, two of my cats flare up my allergies much more than the other two. I can’t see any other path at this point than to get rid of the two that are the most problematic and try to keep and live with the two that do not cause as severe symptoms when I am around them.
I feel sick to my stomach and am not sure what to do. I didn’t know that my allergies would get so bad 6 years later to the point that they can’t be controlled, but these cats are also family members, and it would break my heart to give them up.
Does there come a time when my personal health becomes more important than the cats?
Hi - boy what a tough situation, I'm so sorry. Of course your health is important - people tend to forget that allergic reactions can be a very big deal. It sounds like you've done absolutely everything you can to try and make it work and you shouldn't feel bad for trying to find new homes for your two cats.
If you can (you may have done this already) check around and see if anyone you know, even casually, is interested in taking them for you. Then you could still visit once in awhile. You can also ask the shelter staff to keep you apprised of what happens with them - some will, some won't, but it never hurts to ask.
Thanks, I appreciate your response. I’ve seen a lot of people be criticized and judged by thinking about giving up their animals even due to allergies, but I feel like I’m out of options and don’t want to keep living like this. I’ve had two children since adopting the cats, so I’m not sure if hormones affected the severity of my allergies. I've moved a couple of times and most of my family is out of town so they can’t take in the cats. My sister-in-law already has two and doesn’t want any more, and my mother-in-law has dogs that aren’t very friendly to other animals. I don't have too much more of a network and the people that I do know won't take them in.
At least I know the no-kill shelter will keep them safe and try to find them homes. Since the cats were originally adopted from that shelter, they get priority to be taken back in and are guaranteed acceptance as long as they are in good health with no behavior problems, which they are. I also tried rehoming boards on pet-related sites but haven’t heard anything and don’t want to put them in the classifieds because it’s not safe.
With all of this being said, I’ve been going round and round about this for a month and still can’t seem to pull the trigger, so to speak, so I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. Keep them and I’m constantly in poor health. Or live with the guilt and sadness of giving up two cats that I’ve had since they were little kittens. At least it provides me a little comfort that a fellow cat lover understands that I’ve done the best I can. Thanks again.
Absolutely - it's so clear that you love them and that you're doing the absolute best you can to do the best thing for everyone. Hang in there!
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