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Topic: A question for those of you with animal allergies

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Subject: A question for those of you with animal allergies
Date Posted: 6/25/2008 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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I have had a cat in my home for the past 16 years, 4 of them in my current residence. I recently had to euthanize her (she was very ill), and DH and I are not planning on acquiring another pet for a while. (Our toddler would probably not be too kind to a kitten or puppy.)

So my question is: at what point do you think that my books would be OK to send on to people with pet RC's? I'm sure my house still has dander now, but how long do you think it will be before the books will be OK for you? Or do you think I should play it safe and just decline cat allergy conditions always?

If it helps, my cat was not a "book shelf hangout" kind of cat. She much preferred the cushy couch or the windowsills.

Last Edited on: 6/25/08 11:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/25/2008 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,367
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Well, we foster cats.   I find that after we vacuum the room really well about three times my allergies fade.  I'm reasonably allergic to cats--when we foster for a week by the end I can't be in the room very long.

I'd give it at least a couple months and good cleaning--including dusting the bookshelves.

Date Posted: 6/25/2008 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2006
Posts: 2,817
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For people with very bad dander or pet alergies, I think they would never want the books. The dander and hair floats around the house and gets on everything not just where the cat hung out.

but, you can pm the requesters with pet RC and explain the situation. 

you can always cancel  the transaction from your side and they will go back to where they were in line for the book, if it was a WL book.  Otherwise the request will go to the next person in line who has that particaular book on their shelf.

Date Posted: 6/25/2008 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,220
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Sorry for the loss of your kitty :(

I would probably send anything that I acquired after the kitty was gone, but not send anything that I might have had open while she was around since the likelihood of pet dander inside the book would be much higher. 

Last Edited on: 6/25/08 1:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/25/2008 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,509
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I'm sorry you lost your kitty, hugs.

I agree with Melanie, things aquired after the cat was gone are probably ok.

Although, I have to admit, I've never gotten a no pets RC.  I am sure they are out there, just that I've never encountered one.

Date Posted: 6/25/2008 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2006
Posts: 229
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I've seen a "no cats" RC, IIRC, but never a blanket "no pets" RC. 

FWIW, I am very allergic to cats but have never had a bad reaction to a book (I don't have any RCs), but maybe I am just lucky that way, or maybe any cat-contaminated books loose whatever allergens on the trip to me.  So I guess I am no help in answering Jane's original question, sorry.  And my condolences on the passing of your kitty. 

Date Posted: 6/25/2008 3:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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Thanks for the condolences, and the suggestions.

I think that if it's something I'm posting directly from my shelf or that I've read while my cat was around, that I'll decline the request. I think it will be a while before I would consider them "clean".

At this point, most of the books I'm going to post I'll want to read first, and I figure that by the time I've carried it around and gotten through the whole thing that it'll be pretty much clean of dander. (Especially the ones I read at the gym.) But unless I've read the book since the cat was gone, I'll decline any "no pets" RC's.

You know, I've never received a "no pets" RC, but I just know that now I'm in this limbo I'll come across one. :D

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2007
Posts: 6,567
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I'm so sorry about your cat.

We have 3 cats but they pretty stay out of the master bedroom where I keep our books.

If I do see someone with a message about animals I let them know we have cats, but tell them our cats are kept away from where I keep out books. No one has ever complained about a book they have gotten from me.

I have bad allergies myself & horrible sinus issues. Yet I let just fine with 3 cats. lol I'm no worse or better than I was before I had them. lol

I'd just let the people know about the history for awhile. If you keep the books on a bookshelf maybe if you vacume around them then sweep the vacume hose up, over and around the books a few times just in case. ; )

About your toddler not being kind to the cat: Toddlers can learn how to be kind to animals. We got our 3 cats when my son was a toddler. Just use simple words like "Nice touch" and stuff like that. If he hits or pulls the animal's tail take his hand in yours and say "No! Nice touch" then help him kindly touch the animal. The younger they learn this the better. PLUS animals seem to know how to handle the child. Our cats seemed to understand that our son was a baby and honestly they played more kindly with him. I've seen dogs do the same.

So please don't let your son being young prevent you from wanting another pet. ; )

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 6/28/2008 5:11 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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I'm so sorry about the loss of your kitty.  We lost our last cat in May at age 18. :*(

Honestly, people who are allergic to cats seem to be really allergic, so I'd decline them all.


Date Posted: 6/28/2008 10:08 AM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
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I'm sorry about the loss of your kitty, Jane, but unless someone has specifically requested books with a known history of no pet exposure, I'd just set a time limit of 3-6 months and go ahead without saying anything. 

Many people on PBS get books from second-hand sources and have no idea about any previous pet exposure so why would your book be any different?  If you sold it at a yard sale and that person without a cat posted it on PBS, it would meet nearly every pet-related condition I've ever seen.  If someone was in danger of going into anaphylaxis from a book that had ever been near a cat, they wouldn't be trading used books. 

I once asked in a thread if anyone noticed problems from "cat" books and most people with cat allergies didn't; however, there were a couple who said they had noted a problem but that if they aired the books for awhile, it went away.  These folks do exist but seem to be rare even among the allergic-to-cat people. 

I was just curious about this since 3 members of my family have cat allergies but it seems to differ based on the individual cat and not one has had any book issues.  I think I've gotten one request for a cat-free home.  I think you have to apply some logic to these situations.  . 

Date Posted: 6/28/2008 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
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I'm so sorry about your kitty, Jane.

Date Posted: 6/28/2008 11:11 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Sorry about your loss, too.  It's always sad to lose a pet.

My experience with pet allergies is my mom and my brother.  My mom is so allergic to cats that if a house has ever had cats she can't go there.  Literally I've seen her face swell up and she would immediately begin to have breathing problems (my brother has immediate asthma attacks that can put him into the hospital).  We know this because it's happened to them when they went to a friend's new house and the friend didn't have a cat...but the previous house owner did. Even the carpet cleaning, etc., didn't rid the house of the allergens.  Mom also gets that reaction when she meets someone  who lives with cats - I guess the cat dander gets on the clothes, etc.  Considering the devastating effects from this allergy, I wouldn't send the books to someone who had RC for it.  I've had it for books that I requested for my mom and they had to be cancelled.  A lot depends on the strength of the allergic response that the allergic person has.   Allergies like this can be fatal.


Date Posted: 6/28/2008 11:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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Thanks for the input, everyone! And for the condolences.

I'll hold off for a good long while. I do have a couple of friends who are allergic to cats, so maybe I can have them come over to evaluate at a later date. :)

But yes, definitely no books to "no-cat" requests. Probably for quite a while.

Date Posted: 6/29/2008 2:12 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 1,691
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I have to second Ruth. 

My brother and I both have the types of allergies she described.  I've been to the ER for cat allergies and my brother had to stay as an inpatient for a week!  My dad and sister also have these allergies to a lesser degree.

Vacuuming a house to clean cat dander is the absolute wrong thing for people with cats to do before we come over.  It just kicks the allergens all around and makes the allergies worse.  The dander settles into the soft objects like the carpet, soft furniture, and the like and doesn't go away.

I lived in a carpeted apartment that had a cat before I lived there.  After multiple professional carpet cleanings, I was still not rid of my allergies.  I had to move to another apartment.  Dander and saliva are kicked up into the air, for example, through vaccuuming or dusting and residual allergens can also contaminate your post-kitty volumes.

However, a house that is not carpeted drastically improves my ability to visit friends with cats.  In fact, I have friends with three cats who sort of roam the house.  I had been over many, many times and had absoultely no problems unless I touched the cats.  Then I house sat for them and found out the second and third floors were carpeted.  I had to feed the cats and go home and come back to periodically check on them.   

Let people with cat allergy conditions know!!!!  Let them decide if a book will bother them or not.  I'd probably stop after a year or so (just think about how long a book can retain an odor).

Subject: What my allergist said
Date Posted: 6/30/2008 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2006
Posts: 19
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Cat dander lasts for 8 months after a cat is out of a household.  Because its very sticky by nature it can hang around that long whereas dog dander can just be vacummed up. :)

Date Posted: 6/30/2008 5:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,719
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We had two cats and a dog until 2003 and one cat until 2005. Then we didn't have any pets again until this past March. During the time we had no pets at all I accepted requests from people with no pets conditions, and I never got a complaint about anything I sent causing problems with pet allergies. The complaints I get are always the no smoking folks, who I always turn down now even though it's not coming from my house but rather my mailman.