1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Our TMS drop-in chat is tomorrow (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern (now on US Standard Time) . It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support, with Enrique as your host. Look for the red Chat flag on top of the menu bar!

Has anyone overcome cat allergies?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by AnitaV, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. AnitaV

    AnitaV Well known member

    Hi everyone,

    I recently recovered from years of crippling foot pain, eye pain, and wrist pain thanks to the work of Dr. Sarno (my story is up on the success stories subforum). I have also experienced allergies since I was a teenager, and those have subsided significantly since following Dr. Sarno's advice. However, I still seem to be quite allergic to cats. My cat allergies started when I was a teenager, and I am convinced that they are a tms equivalent, but I can't seem to get rid of them. Just the other day I was petting a cat and developed a horrible allergic reaction in my eye shortly afterwards. I would love to get a cat, as my husband and I both had cats growing up, but I'm afraid of the allergies. Has anyone here overcome cat allergies?

  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'd like to know too if there is a way to overcome allergic reactions to cats.
    I love them but my eyes burn and water and I choke up around them.
  3. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    I like cats too and have had four or five, all were goodist favors to friends who couldn't keep them anymore. I miss having one but I'm doing a lot of travelling now a days and it would be difficult keeping one inside a topless Jeep, if I ever graduated to a motor-home then I'd get another one for sure, they're the perfect pet for me, they take care of their own business and you can split for a week before they start nagging you.

    Spent way to much time energy, sleepless nights and money nursing a diabetic cat for a couple of years. Insulin shots, ear pricks, messes, etc. After a while the whole house became one big litter-box. I quit counting the money after the vet's bill passed 30 grand. That's not even mentioning the night she got skunked after midnight. Vets won't tell you when to let go anymore. In hindsight everyone including Pumpkin would have been better off just donating the bucks to a at rescue group. Then there was Sporty a favor to a tennis buddy who was going to the "independent living" where they didn't allow critters, who ran off for a month, found her and lived well and died of kidney stuff requiring more nursing and maybe another 10 grand.

    Back to you. It reminds me of a clinical study in one of the Good Doctor's books regarding allergies and conditioning. They had people allergic to roses in a room with roses. After a while they switched the roses to plastic roses. The people would come in the room and have allergic reactions to the phony plastic roses--TMS/Pavlovian conditioning at it's best.

    Maybe you could start with a plastic or stuffed cat and de-condition yourself from your TMS???/allergy???
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
    Lizzy, North Star and JanAtheCPA like this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Tom, you crack me up. I can't help it.:rolleyes:

    I am a big-time cat lover, and in fact I volunteer at the Seattle city shelter on what we call the "9-Lives" team. Only one cat at home. And the question about when to stop treating is a huge one. I'm a pragmatist myself - or I like to think I am.

    I love the rose study. I think you've hit the nail on the head, it has got to be a conditioned response.

    I'm a little bit allergic to cats, although I was 19 when I first lived with a cat, so who knows if I would have had any reactions as a child (a very anxious child - but we had every other animal in the house EXCEPT for cats and I never was allergic to anything). The thing is, my allergic response is getting less all the time - along with less hay fever every spring as my TMS journey continues. The difference in my hay fever BS and AS (Before and After Sarno) was significant!

    Anyway, Anita, I have found that different cats provoke more or less reaction, and in particular, I think that medium- and long-haired cats often produce less of a reaction than some shorter-haired cats. And seriously, a well-groomed medium-or long-haired cat will end up shedding a LOT less than many short-haired cats I've known, even when the "shorties" are brushed regularly, so concern about shedding just should not be an issue.

    I had one cat who was supposedly a short-hair, but she left tons of hair everywhere, I always brushed huge amounts off her - and she made me sneeze every time she sat on my chest in the mornings. My medium-haired Manx (a shelter guy) only produces a tiny amount of hair on the brush every day, doesn't leave any visible hair on the bed or furniture, and he doesn't make me sneeze or itch at all - and I got him in 2010, a full year before discovering Dr. Sarno and TMS :cat:

    What's the worst thing that could happen if you visited a shelter, talked to the staff about your allergy concerns, and maybe held one medium- or long-haired cat that doesn't seem to be shedding a lot? Well, you might have a reaction, but then you could take a Claritin or something, right? Not the end of the world. If it's a conditioned response, you just need to order your brain to back off and let you hold this cat and enjoy yourself. (like it's that easy, ha ha)(but it could be that easy!)(seriously).

    Google around about cat allergies and see what other people are saying about it - perhaps people with more allergies than me!

    Good luck, and be sure to keep us posted on this thread - I LOVE hearing about successful adoption stories!


    The Seattle Animal Shelter - with a save rate over 90% in 2013
    "Saving One Life At A Time"
  5. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Commenting so I can keep an eye on this thread as I find it curious. I am allergic to most antibiotics and I've wondered if that too can be quelled. (But I sure as heck wouldn't challenge it far from medical care!)

    I was allergic to chocolate when I was a kid (given the night time leg pains I had, it was probably another TMS thing,) but outgrew that. (Symptoms moved on?)

    My mother in law reacts to lilacs. The mere sight of them while evoke a violent sneezing fit and hand waving. Just witnessing that did convince me there IS a connection between TMS and allergies but how much and why….ah, the mysteries.

    PS I too am a cat lover. But presently we just have that little fur ball in my avatar. Part of why we chose that breed is the fact that Bichons are hypoallergenic and they don't shed.

    Good luck with your trials, Anita!
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yeah, North Star, don't go testing the antibiotic thing as I suggested that Anita try out cats - no anaphylaxis, please.

    That does remind me, though - a number of years ago I developed an allergic reaction similar to poison oak after being over-exposed to triple-antibiotic ointment, used on an incision where a mole was removed on my back. After that, the smallest amount of 3X ointment on a little cut would provoke the same over-reaction of outrageously itchy blisters. So I switched to Bactine (which is an antiseptic, as opposed to antibiotic) and have been much happier using that than the triple-threat ointments anyway.

    But it makes me wonder - should I test the theory that I am less allergic these days? It's only itchy blisters, after all. That last about a week. But I would have to go buy some ointment... Nah, you're right, I can probably borrow some from just about anyone.

    North Star likes this.
  7. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Anita,

    I think there is a difference between a true allergic reaction and allergy-like symptoms (water eyes, runny nose, sneezing), and I think that Sarno makes this distinction in one of his books. (Sarno scholars, please correct me if I'm wrong.) I have a big problem with allergy symptoms from time to time. I went to an allergist prior to learning about TMS and was tested for everything. It turned out I wasn't having any genuine allergic reactions, and was given the diagnosis of Nasal Sensitivity Syndrome. Now if that isn't a TMS diagnosis, I don't know what is. So without a doubt, my reactions are a TMS equivalent. But I think it is a good idea to get tested.

    Now I realize that even "true" allergic reactions likely contain a mindbody element that could be addressed through TMS healing techniques. But I think it may be harder.
    Bodhigirl, North Star and JanAtheCPA like this.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great answer, Ellen!

    On a side note, I don't think I'm alone in believing that anything that includes the word "Syndrome" is by definition TMS.

    I also believe, as I think you do, that TMS theory can aid in recovery from just about anything. Even if you break a bone, understanding the mind-body connection and the power of our positive brains will help you heal better and faster with fewer medications.

    North Star and Peggy like this.
  9. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Jan, the interesting thing about my drug allergies is I suspect they are TMS. Other than a overwhelming penicillin skin reaction, all the other reactions have been more in the intolerance category…rash, stomach ache, etc. The last time I had a stomach pain from an antibiotics, I remember I was scared to death before I took it that I'd be allergic to it. SURPRISE! But still…not going to mess with challenging things. WTB, I'm convinced my frequent infections when I was a kid were the results of unmet emotional needs.

    Ellen, I too heard an ENT say the same thing. Sensitivity and allergy aren't the same thing.

    What an interesting discussion you started, Anita!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  10. AnitaV

    AnitaV Well known member

    Thank you everyone for your replies! What at interesting discussion indeed!

    The study about the roses is very interesting. I am currently reading a lot about improving eyesight naturally, and I came across a similar story about someone who wore contact lenses, and was also researching natural eyesight improvement. He woke up one morning and opened his eyes, and his vision was blurry, as it always was in the morning before putting on his contacts. Then he suddenly realized that he had forgotten to take our his contacts the night before, and was currently wearing them. The blurry vision was just a conditioned response. This realization was a breakthrough for him, and his eyesight improved rapidly afterwards.

    Yesterday, after I wrote the original post on this thread, I was thinking all day about cats and allergies, and one of my eyes started getting red and itchy! Out of nowhere, just from thinking about it! I think my mind was trying to give me hints to help me along my journey.

    The animal shelter by me has a foster program, where you care for a pet in your home temporarily, while the pet is waiting to be adopted by a family. I may give this a try for a month or two with a cat, to see how it goes.
    North Star likes this.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    OMG we LOVE our foster parents! We absolute could not achieve our save rate without them! Of course, we always hope that everyone will rehabilitate the cat, send it back for adoption, and continue to take in new fosters, but we do have a certain number of what we call "failed fosters" LOL :D
    North Star likes this.
  12. AnitaV

    AnitaV Well known member

    Hi everyone,

    I've been thinking a lot about this the past week. I've realized I need to approach overcoming cat allergies the same way I approached overcoming my pain. With my pain, I had no doubt that it was caused by TMS. I was not afraid of the ups and downs of the pain during the recovery process, I knew that I could not hurt myself by increasing my activity level, and I knew that at some point, I would be pain-free. With my cat allergy, I am much more hesitant. Even though I am convinced that it is a TMS equivalent, I am afraid of what would happen if I did get a cat. If I don't get a cat, I will be just fine, and this cat allergy has very little impact on my life, unlike my crippling pain. But it still bugs me, because it is a physical weakness, and I know that I can overcome it.

    What I should really do is get a cat, and deal with the allergies just as I dealt with my pain during my recovery process, knowing that if I apply myself, I will eventually prevail. I have just gone through some major changes in my life, and I need to make time for reflection and soul-searching. But, I still hesitate! I am not sure what to do.
  13. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Anita, if you do get a cat I hope you will post about whether you overcame your allergic reaction to it.
    I am a dog guy, but love cats even though I'm allergic to them.
  14. Cheryl

    Cheryl Peer Supporter

    I believe cat allergies are TMS although my story is not a TMS story. My husband was terribly allergic to cats ever since he was a teenager. He would get the sneezing, runny nose, congestion and and often a bad asthma attack whenever he was around cats or just in someone's house that had a cat. He mostly could avoid cats so it wasn't a big deal most of the time. After my daughter got a cat we went to visit her in her apartment and spent a whole busy day not even thinking of the cat. Well as we were leaving I said to my husband hey that cat didn't seem to bother your allergies at all! Well since then he has had many encounters with cats with no allergic reaction....we even spent the night at a friend's house who has two cats and again he was fine. So although he didn't practice TMS therapy to get rid of these symptoms they are gone seemingly for good. Maybe the symptoms just didn't bother him enough for the brain to use that anymore as a distraction?!
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
    AnitaV and JanAtheCPA like this.
  15. AnitaV

    AnitaV Well known member

    Thank you for your story, Cheryl! I'm so happy to hear it. I used to have a lot of seemingly random allergies before I went through TMS recovery. I always noticed a strong psychological component. I would have days where I was miserable and allergic, but if I got busy and focused my attention on something else, the allergies would stop. As soon as I would think about them again, they would come back. I had similar experiences with abdominal pain when I was a child.

    Walt, I will definitely let you know what I do! I am not even thinking about the allergies any more now, I am thinking hard and deciding if I really want to take on the responsibility of having a pet. I am already stretched so thin with my time, but I would love to have a cat, and I think it would be wonderful for my daughter to grow up with a pet.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  16. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

  17. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I hope you can find time for a pet. I've had dogs for most of my life and adore them.
    Black Lab mixes. Annie 1s 13 and others lived for 16.5 years each.

    Cats are easier to keep... they can be indoor cats, so no walking.

    It's great for kids to grow up with a pet. They get unconditional love and learn responsibility.
  18. wondrous_v

    wondrous_v New Member

    YES, I HAVE!

    I found Dr. Sarno's work out of desperation caused by recurring insomnia as well as lingering lower back pain from a car accident (or so I thought). After doing his work for a few months, a number of chronic health issues in my life disappeared. One of them was cat allergies (some others include RSI, hypoglycemia & frequent, inexplicable headaches.)

    Prior to this, I was allergic to cats for as long as I can remember. I used to have a neighbor with a cat and I could only stay in her apartment for about 20 minutes. My eyes would gradually water and my throat would become itchy and close up after that. To make a long story short, she moved into a house and I stayed with her and her cat for about two weeks, symptom-free!

    I wish this were a total success story, but I've recently had a major relapse of the insomnia and I'm revisiting Dr. Sarno's work and reaching out to practitioners. I hope this time to resolve all of my issues for good!
    AnitaV, Ellen and JanAtheCPA like this.
  19. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Gosh, your story sounds pretty good to me Wondrous! And I have highlighted your first words because they are awesome.

    My personal theory is that the mental process that results in TMS and its equivalents are built in to our primitive brains, and it is something we must accept as part of human existence. Success comes when we can banish symptoms more quickly, when we develop a different relationship to the symptoms, and in what we do when symptoms arise, again, as they inevitably will.

    Check out the thread "It's a process.. " where Forest asks us this question: "We already have a clear sense that we need to avoid preoccupation with symptoms, calendar watching, and outcome dependence. But it's hard to focus on not doing something. What do we do instead?"

    And welcome to our forum, Wondrous!

    Ellen likes this.
  20. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Maybe you don't have INSOMNIA and your sleep pattern is normal. It's only a problem if you allow your TMS mind to make it one! Here's a great article I'll post once again. I now look forward to waking up and doing productive or un-productive things when the world is quiet.When I want to take an afternoon nap, I fix myself a nice warm cup of coffee and I'm out like a light.


    The myth of the eight-hour sleep

    Comments (321)
    By Stephanie Hegarty BBC World Service

    We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night - but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.
    In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.
    It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.
    Though sleep scientists were impressed by the study, among the general public the idea that we must sleep for eight consecutive hours persists.
    In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.
    [​IMG] Roger Ekirch says this 1595 engraving by Jan Saenredam is evidence of activity at night
    His book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern - in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.
    Much like the experience of Wehr's subjects, these references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.
    "It's not just the number of references - it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge," Ekirch says.
    During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbours. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed. Countless prayer manuals from the late 15th Century offered special prayers for the hours in between sleeps.
    And these hours weren't entirely solitary - people often chatted to bed-fellows or had sex.

    Between segments
    Some people:
    • Jog and take photographs
    • Practise yoga
    • Have dinner...
    A doctor's manual from 16th Century France even advised couples that the best time to conceive was not at the end of a long day's labour but "after the first sleep", when "they have more enjoyment" and "do it better".
    Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society.
    By the 1920s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness.
    He attributes the initial shift to improvements in street lighting, domestic lighting and a surge in coffee houses - which were sometimes open all night. As the night became a place for legitimate activity and as that activity increased, the length of time people could dedicate to rest dwindled.

    When segmented sleep was the norm
    • "He knew this, even in the horror with which he started from his first sleep, and threw up the window to dispel it by the presence of some object, beyond the room, which had not been, as it were, the witness of his dream." Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge (1840)
    • "Don Quixote followed nature, and being satisfied with his first sleep, did not solicit more. As for Sancho, he never wanted a second, for the first lasted him from night to morning." Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (1615)
    • "And at the wakening of your first sleepe You shall have a hott drinke made, And at the wakening of your next sleepe Your sorrowes will have a slake." Early English ballad, Old Robin of Portingale
    • The Tiv tribe in Nigeria employ the terms "first sleep" and "second sleep" to refer to specific periods of the night
    Source: Roger Ekirch
    In his new book, Evening's Empire, historian Craig Koslofsky puts forward an account of how this happened.
    "Associations with night before the 17th Century were not good," he says. The night was a place populated by people of disrepute - criminals, prostitutes and drunks.
    "Even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night."
    That changed in the wake of the Reformation and the counter-Reformation. Protestants and Catholics became accustomed to holding secret services at night, during periods of persecution. If earlier the night had belonged to reprobates, now respectable people became accustomed to exploiting the hours of darkness.
    This trend migrated to the social sphere too, but only for those who could afford to live by candlelight. With the advent of street lighting, however, socialising at night began to filter down through the classes.
    In 1667, Paris became the first city in the world to light its streets, using wax candles in glass lamps. It was followed by Lille in the same year and Amsterdam two years later, where a much more efficient oil-powered lamp was developed.
    [​IMG] A small city like Leipzig in central Germany employed 100 men to tend to 700 lamps
    London didn't join their ranks until 1684 but by the end of the century, more than 50 of Europe's major towns and cities were lit at night.
    Night became fashionable and spending hours lying in bed was considered a waste of time.
    "People were becoming increasingly time-conscious and sensitive to efficiency, certainly before the 19th Century," says Roger Ekirch. "But the industrial revolution intensified that attitude by leaps and bounds."
    Strong evidence of this shifting attitude is contained in a medical journal from 1829 which urged parents to force their children out of a pattern of first and second sleep.
    "If no disease or accident there intervene, they will need no further repose than that obtained in their first sleep, which custom will have caused to terminate by itself just at the usual hour.
    "And then, if they turn upon their ear to take a second nap, they will be taught to look upon it as an intemperance not at all redounding to their credit."

    Stages of sleep
    Every 60-100 minutes we go through a cycle of four stages of sleep
    • Stage 1 is a drowsy, relaxed state between being awake and sleeping - breathing slows, muscles relax, heart rate drops
    • Stage 2 is slightly deeper sleep - you may feel awake and this means that, on many nights, you may be asleep and not know it
    • Stage 3 and Stage 4, or Deep Sleep - it is very hard to wake up from Deep Sleep because this is when there is the lowest amount of activity in your body
    • After Deep Sleep, we go back to Stage 2 for a few minutes, and then enter Dream Sleep - also called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep - which, as its name suggests, is when you dream
    In a full sleep cycle, a person goes through all the stages of sleep from one to four, then back down through stages three and two, before entering dream sleep
    Source: Gregg Jacobs
    Today, most people seem to have adapted quite well to the eight-hour sleep, but Ekirch believes many sleeping problems may have roots in the human body's natural preference for segmented sleep as well as the ubiquity of artificial light.
    This could be the root of a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where people wake during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, he suggests.
    The condition first appears in literature at the end of the 19th Century, at the same time as accounts of segmented sleep disappear.
    "For most of evolution we slept a certain way," says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. "Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology."
    The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleeps and is likely to seep into waking life too.
    Russell Foster, a professor of circadian [body clock] neuroscience at Oxford, shares this point of view.
    "Many people wake up at night and panic," he says. "I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern."
    But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

    More from the Magazine
    • Margaret Thatcher was famously said to get by on four hours sleep a night
    • That put her in a group of just 1% of the population
    "Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centres where sleep is studied," he says.
    Jacobs suggests that the waking period between sleeps, when people were forced into periods of rest and relaxation, could have played an important part in the human capacity to regulate stress naturally.
    In many historic accounts, Ekirch found that people used the time to meditate on their dreams.
    "Today we spend less time doing those things," says Dr Jacobs. "It's not a coincidence that, in modern life, the number of people who report anxiety, stress, depression, alcoholism and drug abuse has gone up."
    So the next time you wake up in the middle of the night, think of your pre-industrial ancestors and relax. Lying awake could be good for you.
    Craig Koslofsky and Russell Foster appeared on The Forum from the BBC World Service. Listen to the programme here.
    Do you sleep in segments? Send us your sleep stories.
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
    Tennis Tom, May 22, 2014Report
    "...there are so many things little and big that are tms, I wouldn't have time to write about all of them" Dr. Sarno
    TheUndyingMind likes this.

Share This Page