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Ask a Vet: How can I help an allergic roommate live comfortably with my cat?

June 14, 2010 |  7:08 pm

Have a nonemergency question about your pet's health? Dr. Heather Oxford of L.A. veterinary hospital California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE) is here to help! In this installment of Ask a Vet, Dr. Oxford has some tips for reader Meiling about living with a cat and a cat-allergic roommate:

Calico Meiling's question: My very fluffy calico cat and I are moving in with a friend who is mildly allergic to animal dander. She's suggested that I shave Pineapple, but I think that's just a temporary solution. Is there any way I can reduce the amount of dander from Pineapple?

Heather Oxford, DVM: Interestingly, the main allergen from cats is in highest quantity in their saliva and their anal glands. Therefore, shaving Pineapple will do little to decrease your friend's symptoms.

There have been several products advertised for use on cats to decrease human allergies but none have proved effective in various studies.

My advice would be to bathe Pineapple regularly and apply a flea preventative product monthly to limit how much she grooms herself. While I wouldn't recommend surgical removal of the anal glands, you should change the litter box at least once daily to prevent allergens from the anal secretions from getting emitted into the air.

To submit your question for Dr. Oxford, just leave a comment on this post or send us a tweet @LATunleashed and look for her answer in an upcoming installment of Ask a Vet!

About our vet: Dr. Oxford received her bachelor of science degree at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. She also received a master's of public health degree in epidemiology from Emory University and went on to work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She then went to the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine, where she received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree.  She practices at California Animal Rehabilitation and is also certified in veterinary rehabilitation and acupuncture. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Wade, and German shepherd, Tess.

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Top photo: A calico cat (not Meiling's). Credit: Kimberly / Your Scene

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