Traveling with pets -- anyone allergic?

Nov 17th, 1999, 09:48 AM
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Traveling with pets -- anyone allergic?

Fellow travellers -- I'll be flying my two cats to the US soon (yes, it's necessary, no, it's not just for vacation), and due to one of their ages, they'll be in the cabin with me. I'm obviously not allergic to cats, and so wanted to quiz those of you who are. For typical allergy sufferers, would the presence of two cats cause problems? Would it help if I brought some over-the-counter antihistamies like Benadryl to offer the people around me? (A friend suggested that as a courtesy). FYI, I'm purchasing an empty seat next to me so that no one has to be immediately bothered, and a friend from the US will be in the third seat next to us. We'll be in coach. Please, travellers with allergies, give me some advice. I don't want to be a pain, and I can't ship the cats in the cargo bin. The airline approved them both in the cabin, by the way. Thank you!
Nov 17th, 1999, 10:42 AM
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I am SO glad you've raised this question. I recently heard of a friend who plans to travel home to the east coast from LA with her cat this Christmas and was horrified. I am extremely allergic to cats and have to carry an inhaler with me at all times in case I find myself anywhere near a furry pet and have been receiving anti-cat injections for several years (they're not working...) to try to boost my immunity to them. If I was within 5 rows or so of a cat on an airplane I would expect to be entirely miserable and could become dangerously asthmatic.
Offering over the counter drugs to true allergy sufferers is a very strange idea in my book - someone truly allergic to cats can only find relief staying good and clear of them and taking their prescription medications which really need to be taken in advance of exposure to be of any help - expecting the cat sensitive to pre-medicate before every flight is pretty nervy. I am known as an exremely easy going sort of person - but the thought of being trapped on an airplane any where near a cat makes me furious - it can take me several DAYS to get over too much exposure to cats -
one cat is enough to ruin my day - two cats would practically send me to the emergency room.
Bottom line: being trapped in a plane with two cats would be a total torture chamber for me - before I heard of this practice, I was baffled by this whole air passenger rage phenomenon - now I understand because I would totally lose control - in fact, I'm getting totally agitated writing this!
I happen to think cats are very sweet, cute and extremely interesting creatures - I also like flowers and the great outdoors - but I can't control my body's reaction to all of the above - sorry.
Nov 17th, 1999, 12:13 PM
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Dear Helena
It occurs to me that I ought to make it clear that my beef is with the airlines for permitting pets in the cabin - and any anger and fears I have concerning all of this should be directed to them and not you - you are well within your rights to do anything they allow.The fact that you have posted your concerns shows a real regard for those who may suffer from "cat attacks".
I do hope you are able to get your kitties safely to your final destination. Let's just hope I'm not sitting in the seat behind you!

I plan to get in touch with the allergy clinic that treats me and see if there is some organization from whom I may seek support in making it clear to the airlines how much I disapprove of this policy.
I hope you are able to get your kitties safely to your final destination - but maybe my
Nov 18th, 1999, 12:20 AM
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Ellen, I understand what you're saying, and I appreciate your reply. Other than promising that I'll get seats way way way at the back of the plane, I'm at a loss for how else to help. Transatlantic moves, especially when my family includes pets, are tough.
Nov 18th, 1999, 04:43 AM
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Entrepreneurs and inventors: this sounds like a call to action!

Surely it wouldn't be too difficult to design a porta-kennel box with adequate air filters and a small fan to keep a continuously filtered air supply coming out of the box. Thus, a practical question to the cat and dog lovers - - on an 8 hour flight, do you have to open the door? can your pet go this length of time without being "accessed"?

For what it's worth, peanut allergy sufferers are more common and are genuinely threatened by air quality in airplanes. Air filters on virtually all commercial aircraft routinely test positive for peanut antigens (a chief reason for the switch to pretzels in recent years). Continued research and re-engineering to improve the air quality on commercial aircraft remains a subject which needs to attract more creative minds.
Nov 18th, 1999, 12:43 PM
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I am so glad someone finally raised this issue. It has bothered me for years. When the FAA recently came out with those guidelines advising airlines to stop serving peanuts because they pose a threat to people with peanut allergies, I could not believe they were doing that but continue to allow people to fly with their pets in the main cabin. I love animals but am severely allergic to cats. Once I went to a party at an aquaintance's house and about 5 minutes after arriving it became impossible for me to breathe and I had to be taken to the hospital. I found out later that the woman had a cat, which she had thoughtfully confined to her bedroom while the party was going on, but since the cat's hair and dander were in the apartment it obviously affected me anyway despite not having come into direct contact with the cat. I do have prescription antihistimines and asthma inhalers that I carry with me everywhere, and I am usually fine with them, but they are no match for a cat allergy, particularly in such a confined space like that. So the bottom line is, yes, the presence of two cats would cause problems for those who are allergic, and no, it would not help if you brought over-the-counter antihistamines. But as the above poster said, you are within your rights to do it anyway. I must say, I think it's bad policy though.
Nov 18th, 1999, 04:52 PM
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I am horrified by the fact that airlines allow pets to travel in the cabin - I had previously understood that this was strictly not permitted! I am not directing this against you personally, Helena, what I take issue with is the fact that the airlines allow it. And no, I am not an allergy sufferer and personally like cats very much. However, I have a few friends & relatives who are severely allergic to cats and/or dogs, one of them to the extent that if he were forced to be in an enclosed space with a cat - even if several rows away and even if for a short period of time - he would suffer a severe allergic reaction and would quite possibly stop breathing. If he's in a plane at 10,000 feet, he can't just leave and he can't go to the hospital! And no, Benadryl would not be of any assistance - that only works for someone with a very mild reaction. I wonder if the airline bothers to advise other passengers booking for that flight that there will be cats on board, in case anyone does have such allergies so that they can make alternative travel plans? And can you sue the airline if they HAVEN'T told you there will be cats on board, you're deathly allergic & wind up sitting close to one & wind up hospitalized (& hopefully not dead??)... I heard of a woman who won a law suit against an airline for not telling her, BEFORE she got on board, that they would be spraying for insects shortly to landing in the Caribbean (they made an announcement before they sprayed, which is obviously too late)and she was severely allergic & wound up spending her entire week's vacation in bed being treated by various doctors.
Nov 19th, 1999, 06:20 AM
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Helena, I can definitely sympathize with you. I myself have two cats that I think of as children and the fact of them being in a cargo bay scares me to death. However, I completely understand others allergic reactions to pets. I have friends and family memebers that are severely allergic to bees, shell fish, etc. and I would never want to put them in harms way. I am glad that people that are severely allergic have given some insightful examples of harmful reactions. I do have a question that hopefully others can answer, what are the conditions in the cargo bay of planes where animals are kept? I would assume they would be harsh. Just curious.
Nov 19th, 1999, 06:40 AM
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I simply cannot believe that any airline
would take your money then sit you next to a cat!My friend is allergic & I know
that this would make the flight a total misery for him.Some people would have to leave the flight.This is a very common allergy & it is more than a rare
few who are affected.I have a cat - before my friend calls the cat gets banished & the place gets vacuumed.Send the cats cargo - they'll sleep most of the journey anyway.(try doping them up -the vet will give you something)No over-the-counter drugs work for my friend.These are severe allergies.
Nov 19th, 1999, 08:37 AM
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I moved cross-country, and flew 3 cats cargo. The vet gave them really good drugs, and they had no problems. I never gave it a thought about allergic reactions; I didn't want to bring them in the cabin in case they got to yowling or scratching to get out (I got them really big cages, vs the itty bitty ones that would have been cabin-sized).
Sorry, Helena, but as much as I love the rotters, there are just some places kitties shouldn't go...
Nov 20th, 1999, 02:33 AM
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My beef is not with the pet owner but with the airline for allowing pets in the cabin. In fact I work for an airline company. When I used to work at the airport as a ticket agent, I would go home at night with welts on my legs. That is for my exterme allergies to dogs.

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