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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hoping to get some ideas on a mystery in my life...

My boyfriend and I moved in together about 6 months ago and my kitty moved in with us. He looooooooves the kitty.

Two months ago bf started getting horrible skin rashes on his arms and legs. We've been pulling our hair out (practically) trying to figure out what is causing it. It must be something in our house, because when we go away for a weekend it gets better (the places we've gone have been no-cat places for the record).

Neither of us are totally convinced (and really don't want to be convinced since we love kitty so much) that this is because of the cat. First of all, aren't cat allergies usually the sort that make you sneezy and red-eyed rather than rashy? Second, this showed up quite dramatically, do cat allergies happen that way? (There had not been any problems for the first 4 months).

I can give more details if necessary. This seems to be getting worse and worse and interfering more and more in his (and my) life. Thank you for any ideas.
 

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It sounds like it could be. Does he have medical insurance? He could get tested and then you would know for sure.

In my case, I DO have the sneezy, red-eye type allergies with cats (actually, I suffer from cat scratch disease as well). BUT my rats don't bother my head or respiratory system at all, just my skin. Whenever their fur or nails come into contact with my skin (doesn't have to break the skin) I immediately break out in unbearably itchy hives that swell up and spread if I don't scrub with soap and water the instant I'm done handling them. This did not used to be a problem, it started suddenly one day after already having rats for over a year.
 

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I have never heard of a rash, although if I have broken skin that is exposed to the cats (like if they scratch me or if I have dry, cracked skin), it will get very itchy. I've never gotten hives or eczema from them. An easy way to know is to let him get scratched (enough to draw blood). Does it swell up and itch around the cut? This is exactly what the allergist would do. The good thing about cats is that one can also become desensitized over time as well.

I had shots as a child for many different allergens, and it was like a miracle.
 

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I was going to suggest it might be detergent or fabric softener in your sheets, but that would be in his clothes too (which he would wear when he was away from the house), so that's probably not too likely. I second (third? fourth?) the allergist suggestion. Having a cat allergy won't necessarily mean that you have to give up the cat--there are medications out there that could help. And if you know that it is the cause, you could probably take preventive measures; i.e. keeping the cat out of the bedroom so fur won't get in the bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the thoughtful ideas everyone. Unfortunately he does not have health insurance. But this is important so we will have to find a way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's been a long time since this post, but in case anyone is interested...

The cause of the rash was hard water. BF finally saw a dermatologist who said this was the cause of the rash. Apparently our town is notorious for its hard water, and we have no water softener in our creaky rental place. He is taking baths with salt poured into them, using creams and lotions, and it should clear up in about a month.

Dr. said it was very unlikely that he is allergic to kitty.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissGarbo View Post

It's been a long time since this post, but in case anyone is interested...

The cause of the rash was hard water. BF finally saw a dermatologist who said this was the cause of the rash. Apparently our town is notorious for its hard water, and we have no water softener in our creaky rental place. He is taking baths with salt poured into them, using creams and lotions, and it should clear up in about a month.

Dr. said it was very unlikely that he is allergic to kitty.
That's good news! Not that you have hard water, but that he's not allergic to the cat.
 
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