Cats and allergies

We have four cats and a house containing four people who are very allergic to, but crazy about cats. In addition to using antihistamines (tablets, nasal sprays and lotions) every day, regular cleaning of bedding and sleeping areas and a good vacuum cleaner, one of the things we also do is bath our cats once a month. Because as anyone will tell you, it's not the cat hair, but the saliva on the cat hair that causes the allergies. Our cats are expert groomers of themselves and each other. Their sleek coats contain enough siliva after a few weeks to make it very difficult to touch them without coming out in a rash and since they sleep with us that's a real problem. But bathing a cat is a risky business. Bathing four cats is a labour of love and should come with danger pay imho. As the only person who grew up with cats in our family, bathing falls to me. The others claim to be unsure about how to get the cats to water, which I understand as all of our cats are rescues and have thus not been accustomed to bathing since they were young. It's a harrowing experience for both me and the cats as I honestly don't know how to get an adult cat to learn how to like water, and ours definitely don't. They are interested in the water, drink from the faucet and shower and love to play in there, but the moment bath time arrives they cannot abide it! For the smaller kitties I run the tap in the basin and wet them down, then close the tap, lather them up, and then rise again, but for the bigger cats we start out in the basin but inevitably end up in the shower for the final rinse as I struggle too much to get the soap out of their coats otherwise and they loathe the bathtub even more than the shower. I grab them firmly by the scuff of the neck and support their bodies as I rinse them since any other pose poses a severe risk to me of getting clawed to death. As it is I never escape getting clawed anyway and the cats, in spite of sardine treats afterwards, won't talk to me for the rest of the day. Any tips or hints as to how to make this a less traumatic experience for all involved? Not bathing is honestly not an option as that would mean we will have to get rid of our beloved fur-babies and that is not going to happen.

Comments

  • Mietzi_KatzeMietzi_Katze Iowa ✭✭✭
    edited August 2015
    Only thing I could suggest is have them bathed by a professional groomer? Grooming salon? The once that groom dogs, most of them do cats too. But make sure they're certified to groom cats because cats are different. Groomers have those sling/halter things that they slip over the dog or cat during grooming. The halter needs to be placed differently for a cat. Because cats will pull and pull and will NOT let go if they feel their air cut off. Dogs will let go if they feel themselves chocking. Therefore the halter for cats needs to be placed behind their front legs and over their back, NOT across their necks. You can see them groom dogs at PetSmart if you want to check out how the groomers do it. Good luck with the baths. |^|
  • Beastie_and_the_BoysBeastie_and_the_Boys Marquette, MI / Chicago ✭✭✭
    edited September 2015
    Have you tried bath wipes? I know they wouldn't be as thorough as a soap and water wash, but they would be less traumatic and could probably be done more often. Good luck! Keep us posted. |:|
  • TwinkleTwinkle Birmingham ✭✭✭
    edited May 2016
    My Mommy has allergies. She not all that allergic to cats, but she really is to other things. My grandma is super allergic to cats, yet she has 7 of them. They both have gotten allergy shots for several years. The shots have helped a lot.
  • Years ago, I was referred to a woman who did cat rescue work. She regularly bathed her cats and she said they voluntarily joined her in the bath/shower because they loved it. I observed her bathing some kittens (which she did in the sink) to remove fleas. (Because they were small, she cupped them in her palm, tummy side up, and dipped them into the water, which helps keep their eyes and nose above the water-line, and they seemed to love it.) She said the key is to make sure that the water is hot enough. I'm not talking about scalding hot since obviously that won't work for you or the cat. But she said that most people make the mistake of having the water warm, not hot, and the cat hates that. So other than having them professionally groomed (and I agree you need to make sure they have a cat specialist), you might try hotter water. Regarding bath wipes, I'd be concerned about the residue left on the cat's body, which they will ingest.
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