There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Cat
By Abe Lerner
How to Cope With Pet Dander Allergies
Juan Bautista had a major problem on his hands. Juan Jr., his rambunctious ten year old son, had struck a deal with him. Negotiating with Dad, he promised to improve his behavior, provided that Dad bought him a cat for the holidays. Smith Barney would have something to say about this though, as the company consistently emphasized making money the old fashioned way, by earning it! Putting the cart before the horse, child psychologists would disapprove as well. But, they haven’t met Junior! From Dad’s perspective, ANYTHING that could possibly keep him at bay was certainly worth trying.
One snag though. As a child, Dad had been allergic to pets. Why exactly he had dangled an itchy eye and sneeze inducing cat in front of Junior as an incentive, just demonstrates how desperate Juan was! As a man of principal, Dad insisted on keeping his end of the bargain to placate Junior, but how would he coexist with a cat? Painful memories of his youth fluttered through his mind, as he vividly recalled the sneezing attacks he experienced, playing in Tommy Borden’s house while the family cat meandered around.
A local allergist, Dr.Ewing, proved to be a wellspring of knowledge. There are ways, Juan learned, to manage allergies while hosting a pet. Apparently, pet allergies are mostly attributable to pet dander (dry skin) that sheds. The overall strategy is to keep the pets and your residence squeaky clean. Although a dander-free environment is virtually impossible to maintain, as it can even enter a “clean” house clinging to the clothing or shoes of a non-suspecting entrant, there are however various steps that can be taken to combat pet dander allergies, according to Dr. Jeff Werber DVM.
The suggested solutions range from moderate to extreme, but focusing on the ultimate goal-going the extra mile to share your residence with a pet-should provide sufficient motivation to implement the appropriate measures that can make it work. Additionally, it is interesting to note, that some people who suffered from allergies as juveniles, actually outgrow them as adults. It is crucial to bear in mind that allergies in general are a somewhat tricky minefield to navigate, as there isn’t a one size fits all remedy for everybody. Using HEPA air cleaners or creating a “no fly zone” in targeted rooms (such as the allergy sufferer’s bedroom) designating them off-limits to pets, is a rudimentary start. Constant vacuuming accompanied by frequent laundering of dander catching items such as couch pillows and curtains can dramatically reduce exposure to allergens. Tactics addressing pet cleanliness include bathing the pet regularly or wetting it with a water sprayer, albeit that many pets aren’t particularly anxious to participate in such activities. If the animal puts up a fuss, this may be one of those “my way or the highway” moments!
A more radical approach is ripping up interior carpets and replacing them with installed flooring, which is easier to rid of dander particles. The combination of corrective measures or the sole method that will actually be effective is truly contingent on the individual allergy sufferer. It is key to be cognizant that even with multiple techniques at your disposal, determining one’s personal salvation, can be a shot in the dark. As such, a trial and error approach is prudent to employ. Essentially, there’s more than one way to skin a cat!
Juan was cautiously optimistic. Patience would be paramount, while trying to determine the proper course of action. Prior to purchasing the cat, he had HEPA air cleaners placed throughout his house, as a preliminary step. Although somewhat apprehensive welcoming Zenna into his home, Juan was prepared to give it his best shot. Ecstatic about Zenna’s arrival, Juan Jr. was really proud of his Dad, when he learned of the personal sacrifice he’d be making to accommodate Zenna.
The air cleaners seemingly worked wonders, as Juan did not exhibit any allergy related symptoms. Honestly though, we’ll never know definitively if his allergies were “cured” by the filtered air cleaners or if he simply outgrew them. Juan walked away with a sense of accomplishment, delighted to have delivered on his promise to buy a cat for Juan Jr. No resting on laurels however, as the real question was, would Junior keep his end of the bargain as well?