Sunday, 17 June 2012

HOMAGE: to my cats

I've always been a cat person - or just an animal person in general to be honest - I've always maintained I prefer animals to people!  As soon as I got a job, I pretty much encouraged forced Mike to give in to my demands and get us some kittens.  They were the cutest kittens I've ever seen, so pretty and absolutely bonkers! That's where the good part ended though.  

Mike developed severe cat allergies, to the extent that he would have asthma attacks in the night and you could hear his lungs wheezing and rattling when he breathed.  As he was studying from home at the time, he was pretty much confined to our bedroom - the only room the cats weren't allowed in - and even then he would be so ill.  I tried two or three times to give them back but, as selfish as it sounds now, I just couldn't! I would cry my eyes out, knowing how scared they would be if we gave them back to the rescue home, how much I would miss them and even insanely jealous of whoever got to take them to their forever home, because they would no longer be my babies.  

We ended up deciding to keep them, because neither of us could bear to give them up, and I hope the information I provide here will be of use to anyone who has allergies, or lives with someone who does.  These are a few of the changes I made to our routine, and after 6 months (a year ago), Mike barely suffered at all! Now, when we've had them for nearly 2 years, he only coughs when I miss a vacuum day, and that is probably 0.1% as bad as it used to be!

  • Hoover.  I vacuum three times a week - this will obviously get rid of most of the fur and feline skin cells on the carpet.  It is ideal if you can live somewhere that has wooden/laminate floors rather than carpet, as it is much easier to clean it up.  It would be impossible for me to get all the cat fur off the carpet, but the best I can do is to keep it at bay.
  • Buy air filters/purifiers.  These used to be on all night every night in our bedroom to allow circulation of the air, and to get rid of all the feline particles (how weird does that sound!) in the room.  Nowadays, I can't even remember the last time we had an air filter on! Mike's allergies have improved so much that we don't need them at all.
  • It is important to note that cat allergies are NOT fur allergies - it's in fact an allergy to a protein in feline saliva (FelD1 if you really want to know).  As cats clean themselves so much, FelD1 gets transferred to their skin and fur, and that is when the problem arises!  You can buy cleaning wipes for cats to remove all the proteins and dirt on the cat's coat.  My cats absolutely hated me cleaning them though, so this never really took off!
  • Have a cat-free zone.  Again, this never really took off in our two bedroom apartment, as we didn't think it was fair to restrict the cats' area any more than it was already!  In our old apartment, as I said before, we kept the cats out of our bedroom, but since moving to a smaller-but-nicer place, we let them in all rooms during the day, and shut them out our bedroom at night.
  • Patience.  This takes time.  If you are that dedicated to getting/keeping your kitties, know now that a cure won't happen overnight.  However, over time your immune system does calm down and stop basically freaking out over FelD1 so much (I won't bore you with the biology!).  You can have immunotherapy injections where they basically inject FelD1 into the blood to help your immune system to create antibodies for it.  This will happen naturally anyway, immunotherapy can (doesn't work for everyone) accelerate the process.  

We're both so glad we kept Seren and Sparrow.  They bring so much joy into our lives.  I know I do sound selfish in this post; keeping the cats in spite of Mike's suffering, but I'm much more of an animal than a children person, and I honestly feel like these two are my babies (crazy cat lady alert)!  Here's some pictures of them:

When they were wee:

Now that they're big fat cats:


Tali xxx


  1. Your kitty cats are gorgeous! they have such striking markings wow!
    I am most definitely an animal person too! people are just... not as nice. It's made me such a sap, I cry at animal cruelty at the drop of a hat.

    I'm glad you didn't get rid of your cats, I most certainly would not have been able to either. & thank you for the allergy tips, I don't suffer as I've had pets around since day 1, but my boyfriend never has so you never know!

    1. Hey Annabel haha I totally agree! I get way more upset over animal cruelty than any other abuse/poverty issues! I'm glad you said you'd have kept them too - I know a lot of my friends think it was selfish of me, but no way could I have done it! Hope you had a nice weekend xxx


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