Author Topic: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies  (Read 6237 times)

MountainTown

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Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« on: May 10, 2017, 08:27:54 PM »
Ok...so I live in a town where frickin everyone has a dog and/or a cat. It's just the cool thing to do here. I mean if you don't have a mutt, what's wrong with you? And why would you be so inhumane as to leash it....you get the idea.

Needless to say it seems almost unrealistic to hope for a house with not cat/dog living there.

We found a perfect house that is priced at 276. It's not our favorite location but it is within 2.4 miles of downtown. It checks a lot of boxes for us. It would be better if we could be in a more desirable location but the truth is we would either give up 1000 sq feet, 2 bedrooms, or $75k in price.

There are hardwood floors in almost every room. Some laminate. I did notice a cat smell and I did get a bit of a flare-up of sneezing while there. Does anyone have experience with getting this out of houses? Is it possible? I mean the cat was literally there while we were there so it wasn't ideal in that way.

I just want to know if this is something easy to cure....or am I gonna need to like sand down the floors? FYI, the house seemed really well taken care of. It's not like I walked in and it looked like cat city or something. I probably wouldn't have noticed that a cat lived there if I hadn't seen it.

It's an old house with old venting so it may be that this is an issue too. So I am just looking for the answer to the question of "How possible is it to get rid of cat dander, possible cat piss, and possible cat smells in a house?" And if so ....what are your methods? What do they cost?

Thanks!

mozar

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 09:43:59 PM »
I didn't buy a house with a prior cat, but I did with a prior dog, which I am also allergic too. I think it is possible to get the dander out, but its not so much about cost as it is effort. Airing it out will help. You will also have to wash absolutely every surface in the house, including, and especially, the walls. Also every nook and cranny in the house. But I don't think you have to re-finish the floors. Unless there is cat pee. That stuff is really really hard to get rid of and is like poison to people like us. Make sure you wear a mask if you are cleaning. I would try to see if someone else can clean for you while you supervise.

What is the venting system? I actually don't have a venting system, I just have windows. You can get air filters for those. And if I'm reading this correctly, why do you need an extra 1000 feet?

MountainTown

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2017, 10:47:08 PM »
Mozar, thanks for the feedback...

We really don't need an extra 1000 sq feet. I think what I meant to say is when we look at our most desireable location, we may love the location but end up living in a very small space. This place is about 2 miles from all the action, and 1800 sq feet. Honestly I would be happy with 1500 but no house is the perfect fit right?

So like right now we live right below the mountain. I would love to stay here but 900 sq feet houses that are 100 years old go for 330k. For us, that's too small, too expensive, and too old.

There is venting. It seems to be a pretty old school system. The house expanded into the attic and honestly I didn't thoroughly check to see if every room was vented...I kinda doubt it. I looked at the vents and they had a lot of dust(dander?) in them so I wonder if it might make sense to pay some HVAC guy to clean them? And yes I had already planned on paying a professional cleaner...

I guess I'm not sure if I thoroughly answered your question. It's forced air--what else can I add about that?

As for cat pee....ugh I dunno how to tell if that's there or not. Like I said it is hardwood floors so I guess that's a good thing. But I have heard that even that can get into the wood.

freeatlast

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2017, 10:59:20 PM »
It might be a lot of work, depending on how much urine and cat damage there is.  Hydrogen peroxide does wonders.  Also there is paint made to seal in odors and it does work.  But just know cats are way worse than dogs in this respect.  There is ammonia in cat pee. I've heard stories where people had to rip up floor boards and dry wall.....

I bought a cheap rental with cat pee/damage and was able to get the smell out without major reno. But it was nasty as I was working to do it.

Good luck!

LeRainDrop

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2017, 11:16:07 PM »
Wow, I feel like some of the earlier response is a bit overkill, but maybe that's because I only have mild-to-moderate, not strong, cat allergy.  Since you say the house looks well-maintained, I would probably just have the whole home professionally cleaned before moving in -- yes, this is standard, but I would make sure the cleaners know to do an extra thorough job because of the allergy issue.  Then, I would be sure to change the air filter in the home a bit more frequently than "normal" in the months after you first move in, and use a higher rated filter, so that it can continue to capture the leftover pet dander.  Also, just because a cat once lived there does not mean that the cat ever peed on the floor.  I've had my cats for over 8 years, and they've never had a bathroom accident.  But yeah, if you find a cat pee smell or stain, then that spot will require extra cleaning attention.

MandyM

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2017, 09:26:14 AM »
As far as allergies and dander go, I once read that about 6 months after the animal leaves a space, the dander level reduces down to what is found in a non-pet home. I know that without a link this is just the crazy ramblings of a stranger on the internet, but there you go.

I'm guessing that with a thorough cleaning and new paint in at least the most critical rooms (bedroom, living room) you will be ok.

If the smell is just overall pet smell, that should mostly be dissipated with the above too. If its urine, proceed with caution. Maybe revisit the house with a black light?

Retire-Canada

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2017, 09:39:20 AM »
Clean the house thoroughly and you'll be fine.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2017, 09:41:56 AM »
Hire a service to clean the ducts, hire a deep cleaner for sweep/mop/wipe everything (including the tops of cabinets) and then change the air filters to the allergen level filters. Open windows for a few hours if possible before moving in.

That's what I'd do anyway if I had serious pet allergies.

If there is any cat urine on wood floors or baseboards/walls, you may have to have them replaced if it's soaked in. It absolutely can ruin a floor or drywall and you'll never get the smell out because it will soak into the sides and undersides of the wood planks if the cat(s) made it a habit of peeing in the same spot. But that's the super extreme situation like with an animal hoarder or the like. If there was urine damage, you'll know PDQ because it turns the floor almost black and the scent comes back whenever there is humidity in the air.

My dad was a hoarder and some of the wood floor was just a total loss due to years of cats missing the litterbox when we were prepping the house to sell, and my mother had a zillion cats and they pee in her dining room; it's ruined the lovely wood floors in there and nothing cleaning wise has helped, never mind the fact that the wood itself is grossly discolored and visually alone would need replacing.

Spork

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2017, 09:47:02 AM »
Clean the house thoroughly and you'll be fine.

+1
Most allergies are to the dander.  Vacuum well.  If your allergies are severe, vacuum the walls/ceilings too.  The fact that you have hardwoods is a plus.  Carpet is impossible to fully clean, but hard surfaces are pretty easy.

I am fairly cat allergic and I've found that my system actually adapts.  If I am in a new cat environment, I will get allergy symptoms, but continued exposure for a couple of weeks and it goes away.  I have 6 cats and volunteer 2 days a week at a cat charity where there are 15 cats in a small 15x30 enclosed space.  If you add a new cat... I may have allergies again (or maybe not) ... but I will again adapt with continued exposure.  I'm not saying this applies to everyone... but I know it applies to me.  I've been house/pet sitting at a place where my eyes literally swelled shut the first couple of days of the gig, but by the end everything was fine.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 10:00:59 AM by Spork »

MountainTown

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2017, 09:53:17 AM »
Do all heaters have air filters? This is a 1930 built home.....it's forced air but I would wonder if there are air filters on the system. I suppose I could always replace it with an HE heater anyways right?

KCM5

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2017, 10:04:52 AM »
Do all heaters have air filters? This is a 1930 built home.....it's forced air but I would wonder if there are air filters on the system. I suppose I could always replace it with an HE heater anyways right?

If its forced air, it most likely has a filter. I'm no expert, but I live in a home built in the 1920s. Has a filter. Granted, the furnace isn't original. That house's furnace probably isn't either.

If all of the floors are hardwood/vinyl, you shouldn't have a problem. What kind of cat allergy do you have? Mine's mild to moderate, and considering sanding down the hardwood sounds crazy so I'm assuming yours must be worse than mine!

MountainTown

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2017, 07:07:36 PM »
hmmm mines pretty bad. I mean just walking around the showing I started sneezing....and that surprised me because it did seem like a clean place(though old). That being said the cat was present while I was there.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2017, 07:13:11 PM »
I've got a cat and if I am away from it for a length of time I'll sneeze and get stuffed up whenI get home. Goes away pretty fast once I have a day or two to adapt.

Papa bear

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2017, 09:46:41 PM »
Cats can ruin houses.  I'm not allergic, but family members are and are very sensitive to cat smells.

We bought our house, and I knew I was doing renovations so I wasn't terribly concerned about past pets, but that cat piss smell... I have since replaced every floor in the house, and with the subfloors, I tried bleach, h202, baking soda and vinegar, organic pet smell cleaner, and cleaner recommended from animal shelters. Soaked the walls and subfloors every time. Nothing worked. Finally painted every floor with 2 coats of primer and got rid of the smell. I was ready to tear out subfloors. 

Now I haven't gutted the basement yet - and it still smells down there on hot humid days.  Not sure what I'll get into for the concrete...

After we moved in, it was apparent to us why the previous owners were present with candles lit during showings. 

Moral of the story, tread with caution unless you know you can handle the smell or you are open to potentially doing major work.



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MountainTown

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Re: Buying a house with a cat in it---I have allergies
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2017, 11:11:34 PM »
Alas, we bid 15 over within 12 hours and didn't even get offered backup.

Thanks for all the advice. I'm sure there will be more "cathouses"