Who Wants Brush Brush?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Not Allergic!

The first time that I brought the baby (about a month and a half then) into the cats' room, the cats quickly gathered around. They were happy to see mommy again of course, but were also interested to check out this thing that has been making so much noise in the house. The baby waved his little arms and legs in excitement with all the mewing and movements, and looked at the cats with great curiosity. Mikan reached forward to sniff the baby's face, but we were quickly stopped by a disapproving dad. Well, it was good that the dad stopped us. I was not sure about how the baby's immature immune system would have reacted, and more importantly, I do not want him to develop anything post-contact just in case the cats get the blame.

The baby is now over 4 months old, but he still hasn't had much contact with the animals. He has seen the cats and dog a few times, but there have not been actual touching between them. Doesn't help that the baby gets rashes easily. It could be the warm weather, or the baby really has a sensitive system, I am not sure.

Two weekends ago, the three of us made a visit to a friend's home. Mrs W has numerous free roaming cats in her house and I was naturally anxious. We spent the entire afternoon there and I was very pleased to see that the baby did not react adversely to the environment at all. Moreover, Mrs W's doctor husband explained that the air in their home is surely filled with dander from the cats' coat and proteins from their saliva, such that an allergic person would get reactions (sneezing, itching) the moment they stepped into the house. Hence, it is safe to declare that the baby is not allergic to cats!

We spent yet another afternoon last weekend with fivecatsmom and her lovely family, just talking and hanging out. It is always nice to spend time with like-minded people who can empathise because we share so much in common. The baby lay on the sofa that Tuxie was on, put his hands into his mouth after touching many things, and he was still fine. Watching fivecatskids Bear and Kitten growing up healthy reassured me further.

Now I remember something Dr W said when I asked him when I can start exposing the baby to the cats. He replied, smiling, that the baby is already exposed so I do not have to worry about allergies. (
I couldn't quite understand what he meant then, but now I realise that the protein in the cats' saliva are so small that it is easily airborne.) He added that only a very small minority of people are actually allergic to cats, and that most allergies are caused by dust instead. However, most doctors, to be on the safe side, would simply put a blanket ban on all animals (especially cats somehow) when advising on what an allergic patient should do.

In short, there is no need to get rid of the animals when
  • you get pregnant. For hygiene and a peace of mind, delegate the cleaning of the litter boxes to the husband. (Thank you, Papa!) You will become too big and it will be too uncomfortable for you to bend over the kitty litter bin soon anyway.
  • the baby is here. You will have less time for them, yes, but if you have a husband like mine who can be trusted to take over the cleaning and feeding, you will have some time to groom the cats and spend quality time together.
  • your baby has a histamine reaction. The reaction is more likely to be caused by dust. Get an allergy test done before making a rash decision that you will regret later.
We can have children and our animals too.

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