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MCS / reactivity to kitty litter and waste -- help?

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by minerva, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. minerva

    minerva

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    I love my cats, but recently the smell of their box has been absolutely overpowering for me. Instant migraine trigger, overpowering smell (others do not smell it), nausea. This happened while using the litter we've been using for a long time (the thought-to-be-hypo-allergenic World's Best Cat Litter), still keeping the box clean (my husband does it) and not changing their food at all. The box was in a closet across from my bedroom. We switched them to crystal and then pine litter with no improvement in my symptoms. Now the box is in the living room near an often open window (we have an open kitchen / living room / dining room) and I still sometimes feel so sensitive to the odor that I can't go into the kitchen without symptoms (which is quite far from the litter box). I'm thinking that this is more hypersensitivity to odor than MCS, but it's making me live in roughly 300 square feet of my house and to wonder if this means I need to get rid of my wee beasties (which I feel like I could never do; they're family to me and sometimes the only comfort I have). It bears mention that these are awful migraines - I needed to go into the headache clinic for an infusion because one had been going on for three days today.

    It's been really dialed up lately and I've gotten some of the first several day migraines I've gotten in years as a result of overwhelming cat box smells which are not apparent to anyone else. I've always hated fragrances -- perhaps it's an extension of that? I feel like it's photosensitivity except with my nose. But it has come on really quickly -- like over a month. Honestly, though, I live on a third floor condo that's only 688 square feet. Moving is not an option: it's great in every other way (ERMI'd, no noise, no central heating duct system, etc). I'm really looking for solutions to how to control this and keep my cats in this space. Would a motorized litter box help? Are there forms of cat litter I haven't tried (I think the waste is offending me as much as the litter, unfortunately -- which is why the litter experiments haven't helped)? Is there some way to make my nose calm down? Has anybody else ever started reacting to cat litter and its contents? I'm so glad I have somebody to change it for me, or I really don't think I could keep them right now.

    Thanks.
  2. Googsta

    Googsta Doing Well

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  3. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I am bad with clay and crystal litters, and some natural litters are better than others. WBCL and other natural litters sometimes have plenty of dust which bothers me.

    Perhaps try the paper litters, they are like dried crumbles of newspaper, if the cats will tolerate it. But the paper probably will not cover the waste smell as well :(
  4. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    You may want to put an air filter or two near the box. It could help the smells from drifting as far, and being as strong. Even cheap small filters would be better than nothing.

    Also if your box doesn't already have a hood, that helps a little with odors spreading. Most cats would be okay and accept a litterbox that is covered, just make sure the box is big enough for them to be comfortable. They would want to stand up and turn around easily.
    beaker likes this.
  5. caledonia

    caledonia

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    Cat smell is basically ammonia. Here's a good article on the health effects of cat urine - http://www.ehow.com/list_6064294_effects-breathing-ammonia-cat-urine.html

    If you have MCS (sounds like it), you will be reacting to amounts of ammonia smaller than what they're describing in the article. That's why you smell it/react to it and nobody else does.

    The reason is that you're most likely depleted in glutathione in the liver. The liver removes toxins that you breathe, drink and absorb through your skin. For every toxin molecule that you take in, the liver uses up one gluathione molecule to deal with it. So if you're very low on glutathione, the liver can't deal with even tiny amounts of toxins, and voila - MCS.

    The treatment (besides avoidance) is to raise glutathione in the liver. You do this by improving the operation of your methylation cycle. You do this by taking the active forms of folic acid and B12 i.e. 5-methyltetrahydrofolate and methylcobalamin.

    i've had success greatly reducing my MCS by taking Thorne Labs multivitamin IV. The Thorne Labs multi's contain the active forms of folic acid and B12 like I mentioned above. The full dose is 6 pills a day. You should start low with maybe 1/4 to 1/8 of one pill to test the waters first. Then work up to a higher dose as tolerated. I get about 90% control of MCS with 4 pills a day.

    The reason to go slow is, as you restart methylation, you will also start detoxing, which can cause some achiness and tiredness, strange smelling sweat or whatever your detox symptoms are.

    If you want to go further with methylation, check out Rich Vank's simplified methylation protocol, which uses higher doses, and may help with energy and a host of other body functions which may be disregulated by ME/CFS.
  6. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    GREAT info!
  7. minerva

    minerva

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    This is great info! I am already taking 7.5mg of Deplin and injecting ~3mg of b12 a day (I have MTHFR), which is a recent development and may have triggered methylation overdrive and thus the MCS and intolerance of my kitties. I think it's a good thing overall, but it's rough in the beginning. My doctor has mentioned starting nebulized glutathione to supplement all this after we get me used to the b12 shots (we did just the Deplin for a looooong time before adding them), so maybe that will allow me to gain some control.

    Thanks for the insight!
  8. Adster

    Adster Senior Member

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    A small fan type activated carbon air filter in the room close to the litter tray might be worth investigating. They range in price from around $30 up to many hundreds of dollars.
  9. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    If its a reaction to ammonia I guess my suggestion wont help but maybe the following is worth a try as I know it helps with many smells (as long as it dont put the cats off of using the litter box).

    Try sprinkling the kitty litter with bicarbonate of Soda (bicarb soda).
  10. triffid113

    triffid113 Day of the Square Peg

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    I also use one of these Thorne multi's (not sure the number, but mine has the active B's and iron as I keep getting iron deficient). I developed a sensitivity to cat litter last winter and had to use a face mask to change it. It doesn't bother me otherwise. I have 3 genes that make it hard for me to make BH4, which is required to eliminate ammonia, and yet I eliminate ammonia just fine. Here is what to do to eliminate ammonia (idk about glutathione, I am sure the above is true, but here is another part of the solution): Take
    magnesium - it takes 1 magnesium molecule to eliminate 1 ammonia molecule
    u can take BH4 - it takes 2 BH4 to eliminate 1 ammonia molecule -- I have a 25mg bottle from Ecological Formulas (I get it from Dr Roberts at www.heartfixer.com)
    u can take methylfolate + Vitamin C to raise BH4
    you can avoid aspirin to retain BH4
    u can take a sauna to raise BH4
    estrogen raises BH4 (I take DHEA that makes estrogen)
    there are other things that raise BH4, these are just the main ones that I remember.

    Hang on I have to come back and edit this note with the brand of the BH4 I take
    Trif

    I also want to say that those who get migraine are must more likely to get a stroke. (I know I used to get them). I do not get them anymore and I think it is because I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and found a solution for that. You need to raise your NO (nitric oxide) levels to relax your blood vessels. To do this I take:
    calcium citrate+magnesium (Soloray) 1:1
    DHEA
    those are the main two things that do it. You could obtain or borrow a blood pressure reader and see what works for you. I just made a list of tons of things the internet studies said would work and tried them one by one and measured. Only the Cal/Mag lowered my bp significantly (30 pts) but it would go right back up if I did not take the DHEA, which stabilized it. But please note I was already taking 1 capsule methylfolate which the American Heart Assoc says will cure high bp in those with genetic high bp and I also take Olive Leaf Extract which has been proven to lower bp 10 points (I never measured what it does for me as I did not suspect it as a bp cure). These are real cures raising your NO level and thus relaxing your blood vessels.

    However migraines are usually triggered by some allergy and allergies are cumulative. I sent in to Execedrin once for a list of foods that trigger migraines and found that the one on the list that did it for me was coffee. So I would abstain from coffee for a week if I started getting migraines and then go right back to drinking it until next time it built up to a problem. So like if you are sensitive to milk products AND smelling cat ammonia, if you gave up the milk you might be able to tolerate the cat smell. Just a thought...
  11. triffid113

    triffid113 Day of the Square Peg

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    Oh, here's another idea...it's not a cure but may be handy. I think an ionizer would do it. I have an ionizer. It takes particulates out of the air. I do not use it because I am afraid to. It has a toggle button on it and with the toggle button engaged it goes into "sanitize" mode and you are supposed to leave the house when that mode is on. Trouble is, the ON direction is not marked and I can't figure out if it's ON or not. I do not like the smell of ozone. But it is better than pollen in the air I guess.

    Trif
  12. Mercy

    Mercy

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    Have you considered using sterilized sand for litter?
  13. minerva

    minerva

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    I've had an unfortunate revelation behind the sudden increase in sensitivity to my cats. It is the ammonia, which I appear to be very allergic to (the joys of MCS) -- I got red welts when I laid down on the couch and very itchy eyes. I did some investigating and suspected that the kitten we adopted 8 months ago had been spraying that couch, then caught him in the act. We think it's been going on for awhile -- he was a rescue from a feral cat organization and they often have these kinds of problems, even with help.

    After much agonizing and sadness, we're going to have to give him back to the rescue organization. Our other, older female cat is fine. If it were the litterbox, I could easily deal with it, but with my fragile health, a spraying cat is too much. The rescue organization is no kill (of course) and will take him back immediately. They were very sympathetic -- they knew about my disability when we adopted the cat and said we could return him over his whole lifetime if I worsened.

    My plan, before all this, was to finally get an iQ air filter and switch to pine litter. I think I will still do those things for my remaining kitty -- but we'll be steam cleaning the carpets and upholstery (and possibly getting rid of the couch) immediately with an MCS friendly carpet cleaning service (I'm glad I live in a big enough city to have on of those).

    A rotten end to the thread!
  14. Mercy

    Mercy

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    How sad! I am so sorry.
  15. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Sorry to hear you had to get rid of one of your kitties... that thou does sound the best solution to the issue.

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