Help! My Boyfriend is Allergic to My Pets

I’ve always loved pets, and have a cat and dog. My boyfriend of 2 years wants to move in with me… but he’s allergic to animals. I can’t imagine giving up my furry babies. How can we live together despite his allergies? – Janie in Norfolk, NE 


Janie, I’m so glad to hear your commitment to your pets loud and clear. The responsibility to your furry babies is so important. I encountered this same situation with my husband. At the beginning of our second date he told me he was allergic to cats, and as we left for the evening I thought, “Well, this will be our last date.” Six months later we were engaged!

Finding Middle Ground

By working together, we created a wonderful home with “our” cats. After becoming engaged, we had an open and honest discussion about the cats and their importance in our lives. He loved pets, despite his allergies. Without this starting point, finding solutions and making compromises would have been difficult, perhaps impossible.

Taking Action

These are some of things we did before merging our households. First, we agreed that the cats would stay on the main level of the house. (We both had a two-story house, and chose his for our together home.)  We installed an attractive pet gate at the bottom of the stairs to keep the kitties corralled. Additionally, we positioned a spray water bottle there to remind the cats that their domain did not include the upstairs.

Ask Lynn - Pet Allergies

Second, prior to moving any of my furniture or rugs into his house, we had them professionally cleaned. We sold furnishings which could not be cleaned or maintained to keep the fur at bay. In addition, we sold several of his pieces to bring everything together.

Third, we scheduled regular pet grooming. It really helped a lot! Plus, I purchased pillow cases from second hand stores to use as covers for the pet beds. By changing them often, we minimized the fur and dander. HEPA filters in the vacuum, air ducts, and a portable air cleaner helped remove particles from the air. It all came together and worked well.

Next Steps

While not knowing your specific situation, I hope there are some ideas and practical solutions you can use from my own experience. Below are more suggestions that may help, along with a few resources to check out.

  1. Try the allergic pet wipes or shampoo, and keep your pets well groomed.
  2. If you have cats, switch to the hypoallergenic cat litter; it’s amazing!
  3. Have your boyfriend consider immunotherapy.
  4. Clean often and use a HEPA vacuum.
  5. Invest in a HEPA air purifier.


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