As someone who has allergies, specifically in response to cats, I can say that years ago I would never have considered owning a cat, even if it was suggested to me as a good pet for a vet student. However, I happened to befriend a cat at the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA where I volunteered for years that changed my mind about owning a cat. To my surprise, I didn’t even have a significant allergic reaction to her. However, I do have a noticeable response at times from my second cat.
If you’re sitting there with a quizzical look on your face saying to yourself? TWO cats?! …and you’re allergic?! What were you thinking?!
Well, here’s what I was thinking… As a vet student, I knew that I was going to be spending long hours away from home and my cat every day. I didn’t think it was fair to keep my very active and intelligent cat alone in an apartment for so many hours. (Some of my vet school days have been 12-14 hours so far and it will surely get worse once I’m in clinics.) Given that, I decided it was best to adopt a second cat to keep my cat company. My second cat was also adopted from the Pasadena Humane Society as an emaciated mother with 8 kittens and she was sick and not eating. I took her home to nurse her back to health and see whether she would get along with my cat once healthy. If she did, great, I’d keep her; if not, I’d bring her back to the shelter for a chance at adoption as a healthier cat. Sure enough the introduction with my cat went flawlessly and they have been best friends ever since.
Clearly the cats have adapted very well to each other’s presence; as for me, I’ve noticed my allergies adapt over time. I no longer have as serious a reaction to cats as I did before. The only time I really notice a reaction is when I have contact with my second cat and subsequently touch my eyes or something similar. However, despite the tolerance that I’ve been developing over the past few years since I’ve lived with cats, I still require allergy medications on occasion and expect to be using them regularly as a 4th year in clinics as well as when I am a practicing vet. As much as allergies are annoying and frustrating at times, mine are not severe enough to keep me from pursuing my dream of becoming a veterinarian.