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Hello,

I'm 34 years old and I've recently discovered that I've been allergic to cats for 29 years without knowing it. I've had myriad health problems due to other issues (mainly a milk-protein allergy) which helps explain how I was able to go this long without noticing the cat allergy, but it is still amazing to me that I was able to get this far into life without knowing I was allergic to cats, too.

There is no doubt, now, that I'm allergic to cats. Every time I pet one of the three cats in my house I get itchy eyes, stuffed nose, etc, etc... it is much worse, however, when I come into contact with cats I don't live with -- and I don't even have to touch them to start exhibiting allergy symptoms (just being in the same house as a cat I'm not used to will cause me to pass out if I stay long enough).

What I'm wondering is if anybody has experienced something similar to this -- a building up of a allergy tolerance to cats you live with?

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I've lived with cats my whole life and I've had health problems my whole life -- and nobody, not even my doctors, have ever suspected it was related to cat allergies because the symptoms have mainly centered around my stomach due to the coincidental milk allergy. Regardless, my health is much better now than it has been for a long time -- now knowing that I should be avoiding cats and taking steps to avoid contact for the past 2 months. Has anyone here ever heard of something like this happening to other cat owners?

Regards,
-andy.f

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Same thing happened to me. I have had a cat for 12 years and she never bothered me. I decided to adopt another cat from a rescue shelter. 1 month after i had her i started to react. Not only do i have itchy eyes and sneezies, but my skin breaks out with little itchy bumps. Over the last year and a half i have developed asthma which is cat related. If i don't take my allergy meds i literally can't breath. I have an Albuteral inhaler for a backup.
The Vet said all cats are different and the dander is more pronounced in the second kitty.
I am looking to re home her and have her up on an adoption website. I love her to pieces but she is killing me, so because of my stupidity, she has got to go.
Try Zyrtec, you take one every 24 hours, this is the only thing that helps me. But watch out because it really messes with your libido. It's either the cat or my marraige, i have no choice.
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I'm really sorry to hear that you seem to have developed an allergy to your cat, but it does sounds like it happened. It is definitely possible that as you get older, you can become allergic to something that's near you or something that you've been exposed to for years. I hope that antihistamines are able to help you.

Please let us know how things turn out for you.
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Yes, I understand that allergies can start at any age, but what I'm getting at here is that looking back at my childhood it is obvious that I've been allergic to cats since age 5 -- and nobody picked up on it. At age 20 I started having gastro-intestinal problems and was told by every doctor I went to that it was NOT allergy related -- even when I specifically asked if it could be -- and "no" they wouldn't refer me to an allergy specialist because it was most likely due to "stress" and allergy specialists are "quacks" (a common sentiment in the world of general practitioners, apparently). Had a single doctor said, "hey, maybe he's right, maybe it IS an allergy" then it could have spared me the last 14+ years of poor health.

After getting no help from my doctors and losing several jobs due to the vague diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome that didn't help my health one bit -- it took me 5 years to figure out on my own that I'm allergic to milk and 14 years to figure out I'm allergic to cats -- and from what I understand, a simple scratch test would have revealed both much earlier. Why, oh why, didn't a doctor refer me to an allergy specialist back then when I asked to see one (that's a rhetorical question -- I know why).

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I struggled for years and years to figure out what was the issue, and I've dealt with countless people and their suggestions that it's been something I'm doing to myself (i.e. stress, poor diet, not drinking enough water -- the list goes on and on) but none of that helped. It is only now, after figuring out on my own that I'm allergic to cats, that my health is starting to improve.

I am not litigious, but this has led me to a really bad attitude regarding the doctors ignoring my initial requests to be tested for allergies and the people that "gave up" on me after their advice didn't help -- they would say things like "well there must be something your doing wrong then" or "you're just too stressed out" or "you're not eating right" and leave it at that... and while I'm very happy to be feeling better now, I'm also very sad and pissed off about the loss of 14+ years of good health, not to mention the long term implications of not getting correct treatment for so long. I am both extremely happy and extremely pissed off. It's really weird, and I can't help but wonder how many other people are in their 20's right now and are being told the same thing I was -- that it has nothing to do with allergies and is probably just stress. What a load of c**p.

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...and now on the flip-side of the coin I have almost no respect for general practitioners' ability (or desire) to actually listen to me and give me good answers anymore. This is obviously not good, especially now that I'm behind the 8-ball health-wise. I need to be able to trust them. I'm just absolutely amazed that something as seemingly simple as a cat allergy could have slipped by so many smart and educated people, including myself, and I'm really hoping this turns into a case of "If it doesn't kill then you it makes you stronger" 'cuz I'll tell you what -- after 14 years of plowing through life with c**p health I'm feel like superman now comparatively.
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