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Want to get a cat, but kids half-sister is allergic

My ex-husband and I live like 100 yards from each other in goverment housing. He has a daughter from his second marraige (now divorced). She is allergic to cats. He is hoping for increased visitation with his youngest daughter, already gets my kids 50/50, week on, week off. He is a bit upset that I am planning to adopt a kitten before my husband deploys, instead of a dog (I want a kitten because I think cats are a lot lower maintenance compared to a dog, not to mention, cheaper), because he thinks my kids are going to make their sister miserable because of her allergies and she can't come to my house to visit her siblings.

Should I care? Should I not get the kitten? Should I get a dog instead? I want an animal because both ex and husband are Active Army and will deploy or be TDY and leave me alone frequently, and I need something to blame noises on (house makes settling noises, mind playing tricks on me, etc), and whatnot.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 4:34 PM on Jun. 2, 2009 in Pets

Answers (10)
  • Several thoughts...

    How allergic is the child? I have several friends who are allergic but can tolerate being in my home for several hours, have no problem with me being in their home for days (my cat is at my house, obviously), one even has his own cat.

    I agree that cats are less work. Going away for the weekend? Fill up big bowls of water & food, clean out the cat box, and go. Dogs need someone to come check on them, keep them company, feed them so they don't eat all the food at once.
    Dogs are better if you want a sense of security. A small dog (like a terrier) will defend it's territory fiercely but can still fit on your lap and snuggle. Small breeds also have lower food bills, generally better health, and longer life spans - comparable to cats.

    Should you consider the little girl? Yes and no. If she hates being around your kids, that may cause problems for them and stress with dad.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 5:09 PM on Jun. 2, 2009

  • Unless she's one of those kids who is allergic to everything under the sun, surely you having a cat and your kids visiting their dad's house won't be that big of a problem. It always stinks when little ones are forced to deal with allergies at such an early age but you shouldn't let that be the final word in your decision to get a pet. If you want a cat and your kids want a cat then you should get a cat. If your ex's daughter wants to visit her siblings and you having a cat will cause a problem then they should just visit over at Dad's house.

    Answer by sillyt at 5:10 PM on Jun. 2, 2009

  • No clue how allergic she is, she has only been up for one visit since daddy got home from Iraq (long story), and she was diagnosed since that visit, supposed to find out today if they are moving into the area. So depending on if he gets unsupervised visits anytime soon if they move here, he will see her once a year, or possibly up to EOWE. She loves her siblings, although she is very rough with them because she was raised as an only child (my son will have a scar from where she dang near ripped his ear off!).

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:14 PM on Jun. 2, 2009

  • We own 2 cats, family and friends with allergies still come over for visits. Cats are less work then a dog. Cats can be very independent though. I have found certain breeds set off allergies more then others. The Siamese breed seems to be the one that triggers the least amount of symptoms with our family and friends. If the little girl is that allergic to cats your kids could visit outside or at their dads house. You need to just decide what pet you want since you are the one to take care of it.


    Answer by mom-2-4boys at 6:02 PM on Jun. 2, 2009

  • how often is she going to come over? if its all the time and u really care about her allergies then u can always adopt a hairless cat... they r pretty nifty lookin

    Answer by rainmommy at 9:51 PM on Jun. 2, 2009

  • i'm allergic and it really sucks when i visit family who have a cat. i get sinus infections when i'm around them for too long. how would you feel if you had a runny nose and were sneezing and/or coughing the whole time you visited someone? and then got sick after? do you enjoy a sinus infection?

    Answer by mandielynn23 at 9:56 PM on Jun. 2, 2009

  • I can totally sympathize with the child. My son is extremely allergic to cats and he swells up like a blow-fish if one comes within ten feet of him. not to mention the rashes, hives, swollen eyes, etc. It's a terrible feeling for a child to suffer through. Sometimes, it can take weeks for the allergen to get out of the kids system too. Just put yourself in their shoes. My son is not allergic to certain small breed dogs however. These include Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Pugs, and Pomchis. There are a lot of hypoallergic dogs out there that need good homes. Any breed mixed with a poodle should be hypoallergenic: labradoodle, cockapoo, schnoodle, etc.

    Answer by lighthousemom3 at 10:45 PM on Jun. 2, 2009

  • Just an FYI, hairless cats are not hypoallergenic. The allergic reaction is caused by dander and saliva, not fur.

    OP, I'm allergic to cats and we own 2. I bath and brush them regularly and am meticulous in cleaning up after them and have no real problems so long as they don't sleep on my bed. You may want to find out how reactive she is.

    Answer by ElderGothMom at 2:04 AM on Jun. 3, 2009

  • I would get the cat and give her a little Benadyrl when she is over. True allergies are no fun and even deadly in somecases but you can't stop your life for a child that you say seldom visits.
    She will have to deal with her allergies all her life. Better to find ways to cope and control it than keep her or yourself living in a plastic bubble.

    Answer by mellowmommy64 at 8:08 AM on Jun. 3, 2009

  • I hate to be mean, but your concern is for your kids and yourself. Shes probably a lovely child, but shes not yours. For security reasons I don't think that you should get a cat. Burglars and rapists do not get scared by a cat, even if you throw the cat in their face. Try a pitbull, they are dubbed nanny dogs because of how wonderful they are with kids. One time I looked over and it looked like my 3 year old was trying to strangle our dog, who is half pitt, and Skittles is just laying there taking it.Doesn't even snap at her. Licks her five minutes later. ( After she stopped crying when I spanked her)

    Answer by Glickstein at 10:47 PM on Jun. 3, 2009

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