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Allergy help

(6 Posts)
HennaFlare Tue 27-Dec-16 06:09:20

This will be long. I apologise...

We got 2 kittens from a breeder aged 18 weeks. Both female, longhair. We were all smitten. No reactions of any sort and they were handled constantly. We got them on the Sunday, and on the Friday (5 days later) we went to visit a house with 4 adult cats. There was hair floating through the air. I've never seen so much fur. On the Saturday (so 6 days after w got our kittens but 24 hours after visiting the very 'catty' house) I noticed 2 huge flare ups of eczema on the backs of DD1s knees.

She has had terrible eczema in the pst but we have had it completely under control through a very strictly controlled diet. She eats no grains at all, no cane sugar at all and nothing processed, so no preservatives. With this in place, she has no eczema and doesn't need her inhaler at all. She's been healthy for 3 years (9years old).

I totally panicked and assumed she was allergic to the cats. My sister and nephew have anaphlactic cat allergies (we would never have them if we lived in the the same country) and I was terrified that this was starting for DD. Their reactions become more severe each time they are exposed, so 'exposure therapy' is not an option for them. Knowing how bad DD's skin can get, I couldn't take a 'wait and see' approach. I called the breeder for advice, and she said that if I returned them within the next 2 hours she would refund us, but not after that. Because she doesn't want people borrowing cats for the weekend (WTF????)

We returned our beautiful cats because I didn't know what else to do. I didn't want them to go to a shelter and I just don't know anybody here I could have rehomed them to. One of the reasons we finally got them after a few years of discussion was that our children were finding our most recent move tough emotionally, and we thought it might help them to feel positive about their new home. Returning them with no notice like that was traumatic, and 6 months later, they all still dream about them sometimes sad .

The more I research it and the more I read, I just am not at all convinced that DD has a cat allergy. She played with 2 different strays in the garden all summer and has had no reactions. The flare up was in an area that had no physical contact with the cats, and she had no sniffles or wheezing at all. We have visited the cat shelter twice and she had played with the cats there for 45 minutes - an hour at a time. She adores them and is so happy there.

Does anyone here have any experience of a cat allergy that looks like an eczema flareup in an area that has had no contact? Or is this a total red herring and she isn't allergic at all? If she isn't we will absolutely adopt a cat this time. I thought I was doing the right thing going to a breeder but they were worse than useless.

Vinorosso74 Tue 27-Dec-16 08:22:16

My DD had nasty eczema between 1 and 3 or so including the very red angry flare ups behind the knees, inside the elbows and in wrists and hands. The first question asked by eczema clinic nurse was "do you have a cat?". When we said we did she suggested getting rid of "it". This was the most ridiculous advise and sadly lot of people would follow through with it. I was quite upset by it.
Her eczema was worse at nursery-warm and the soap they had was horrible.
We still have our cat-her and DD are great friends. I think some healthcare professionals are quick to blame cats especially if they don't like them. I wish I'd complained about her. I think a lot of these theories are very outdated.
Keep making sure your DD is ok before you adopt a cat and yes avoid breeders.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 27-Dec-16 09:06:20

There was a vet on here who said a lot of people were too quick to blame the cat & re-home.

Allergies ought to be diagnosed by a doctor.

HennaFlare Tue 27-Dec-16 15:00:07

We definitely want to get her allergy tested and work out whether or not cats are a trigger. In retrospect we were having an intense heatwave where we live and I am wondering if that might have triggered it.

I wish we'd had the time to see a paediatric allergist at the time (our initial response was get her tested quickly and decide what to do) but the breeder gave us a 2 hour window and we felt that at least after only 5 days the kids would be
(a) less bonded (we were wrong about that!) and
(b) would prefer to see them go "home" rather than to a random place.

I do feel we rushed the decision to return them, but I felt like it was very urgent. The eczema we have managed to regulate isn't a bit of dry skin. She looked like she had been badly burned, and I thought it was going to come back, along with the accompanying symptoms. If she was allergic to cats, I'd stand by the decision to act quickly, it's just that I'm not sure at all that this is a cat allergy! Gah!!

froglou Tue 27-Dec-16 16:04:02

I can't say anything to helpful except the breeder wasn't being funny with you there are genuinely people who try to rent pets or buy animals and try to return them after the weekend just because they wanted a pet for the weekend! angry
Can they not do a test to see if its cat? And also is it possible it's because the cats were long haired whilst most are short haired? Also it sounds like you have a good relationship with your local shelter, could you speak to your local rescue about maybe volunteer to foster a cat for a while that way you're looking after a cat without committing to keeping it if it does cause an allergy

HennaFlare Wed 28-Dec-16 02:27:08

It's a great suggestion froglou but where we are the shelters are incredibly casual. Anyone can come in and play with them, there aren't any home checks or waiting periods. You just go in and take a cat! They wouldn't foster a cat out - they'd just give it to us and expect us to bring it back if we changed our minds. I don't really want to do that to my kids - they've been jerked around enough!

I was really posting to see if anyone had experience of allergies looking like DDs or more accurately, I wanted someone to tell me she probably wasn't allergic at all!! I REALLY wanted to keep our cats and whilst they are long gone, the thought of never having any ever because of her health is so sad sad. I think there is only one thing to do and that is get her tested and go with those results. But that takes ages and MN provides instant gratification when I sit up in the evening pondering it...

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