Post # 1
We found a tiny kitten, my heart melted and I agreed we can keep it for now. Fpr now turns into “forever”, usually. My mother is very allergic to cats. Husband and I agreed that when she visits for holidays we will board kitty and hire a cleaning service to make our home spotless. This morning I told my mother all of this. I expected her to be fine with boarding the cat and having the place professionally cleaned every time she comes over. But no. She flipped out and said that wouldn’t be good enough, she will have an asthma attack if she comes over, that it’s not fair to her.
She won’t even visit her dearest friend’s grandchild because the family has a cat (though they are probably not willing to be as accommodating as I am). She is making me choose between her and the cat, basically. It’s like she doesn’t care that I’m trying to make this work out for everyone. I’m willing to have HEPA filters, use blankets on furniture and remove them when she comes over, dust and vacuum vigilantly even when she’s not coming to visit, boarding the cat and hiring a professional service for holidays she’ll be spending with us… I’m trying to be understanding here, but I feel like she’s not willing to be understanding on her end. I’m willing to put in effort to make my home as comfortable as possible for her when she comes over, but she needs to put in effort too, such as taking extra meds when she’s coming over. She apparently takes claritin every day because she’s allergic to just about everything.
Suggestions? It’s 2014. There have got to be ways to keep the cat and then be able to make my home not an asthmatic danger zone for her the two or three times a year she comes to visit. Our guest room is not set up yet, and won’t be for a while because there’s other stuff we need to do first. Cat or no cat, they’d be staying in a hotel. The problem is, she doesn’t think she can come into my house for a few hours or an afternoon, and I wanted the family over for Thanksgiving.
I’m putting this in The Lounge rather than pets because it’s more that I’m seeking advice on how to mitigate allergens than pet tips.
Post # 2
CorvusCorax: I don’t know much about allergy or how severe hers is but can she take allergy medicine before she gets there? Plus having the place cleaned and the cat not being around should be ok?
Or you can just agree to go visit her I guess.
Post # 3
Tell her to take some freaking Claritin. Honestly, she’s being way over dramatic and I would not give away my cat for that BS. My mom and yougest brother are very allergic to cats, but they still visit and manage to not be miserable. Here’s what we do:
1. Have a kitty-free bedroom. We have one bedroom in our house that we keep closed off to the cats at all times. For people with allergies, it helps to have a place to escape to.
2. Vacuum and dust everything (carpets, rugs, furniture, every flat surface). It also helps to minimize the amount of rugs and carpet you have. If your mom is really bad, I might remove some of the rugs when she comes over. It’s easier to get pet dander off of hardwood floors than out of carpet.
3. Have some spare sheets that the cat never touches handy to put over furniture. Since pet dander can works it way into fabrics, having a layer between the person and the fabric can help a lot. I have another friend who is pretty allergic to cats and we used to do that when he’d visit.
4. I don’t think you need to go as far as boarding your cat, but maybe keeping it in bedroom while your mom is in town might be a good idea.
Post # 4
RunsWithBears: Some people with allergies can have asthma attacks, so saying she needs to chill out and “take a freaking claritin” is pretty rude.
Personally, I do have severe cat allergies that, if I am around a cat for a long time period (Like weeks), it causes me asthma.
That being said, this is your house. I think everything you’re offering (especially deep cleaning the house, furniture, etc) is being more than accomodating. Your Mom does sound like she’s being a little over-demanding. If you want a kitty in your own home, she doesn’t have the right to dictate that you can’t, just so she can visit you on holidays.
Clean drapes, carpet, furniture, change linens, air filters, etc. All of that will significantly reduce dander. As sensitive as I am to cats, when we bought our first home (from people who previously owned cats), all we did was remove all the curtains and get the carpet cleaned and I never had a single issue with my allergies.
If there is a particular room she would sleep in while visiting, perhaps make that a cat-free zone all year long?
If she isn’t ok with that, she can stay at a hotel.
Post # 5
CorvusCorax: My only suggestion is to not have your mother over, lol. Not very helpful I know, it sounds like you are going to great lengths to accommodate her and her allergies. I am a very allergic person and if someone was offering to do all that for me I would feel so bad, I certainly wouldn’t kick up a fuss.
I would just say to my Mum that we would have to meet at her hotel and go out to lunch or dinner and if she really wanted to see my house then she would have to put up with my damn cat (who wouldn’t be there!) and my professionally cleaned house! lol
Post # 6
My mom is allergic to cats as well. I do pretty much what RunningWithBears suggested. I clean the couches well, vacum rugs, make sure floors are swept, make sure the room she is staying in is cleaned well, febreze couches and rugs, ect. I don’t board the cat, or put him in a seperat bedroom, but I try to give him a good brushing and sometimes use allergine reducing cat wipes. My mom has never complained to me about having problems. I agree your mom is probably being over dramatic. My mom was disappointed when we got our cat as well, but since she’s been over a lot since then, and has gotten used to the idea.
Post # 7
She needs to get over it. It’s your house, and your right to have any pet you choose. If she doesn’t like it, she can pay to stay in a hotel…you’re being more than reasonable with what you’re offering to do.
Post # 8
It’s your house, not hers, she doesn’t live with you and only visits, I say keep the cat.
I have severe allergies and let me tell you if hers were to the point of having an asthma attack her Dr would get on something stronger than claratin, like a prescription pill or get shots. She’s acting awful saying she won’t visit, she’s being very demanding for someone that would just be a visitor.
Tell her you are keeping the cat and she’s making the decision to not visit. You can visit them at a hotel or meet up at a restaurant. I’d also suggest she gets on something stronger than claratin if her allergies are that severe.
Post # 9
Thanks for the advice!
Our guest room is not set up yet. It probably won’t be by this coming Thanksgiving because there are other things we need to do first in our new home. However, it won’t be a problem at all to keep that door shut and the cat out at all times, plus keep clean sheets in there, once we do get a bed for there. Right now we set up a queen air mattress in the guest room for overnight guests, and my mother has a bad back so she’d prefer a hotel anyway even if the cat was not in the picture.
My concern is that she’s refusing to come over for an afternoon or a few hours! I really want to host my family in my new home, and I feel especially guilty about it because my parents helped tremendously with the purchase of it. But at the same time, she’s making me choose between her and the cat. She said on the phone this morning, “It’s me or the cat”. She won’t step foot in my house no matter how meticulously I clean (and have it cleaned) the place from top to bottom. Apparently she visited a friend back in the 1970’s and had an asthma attack not because he had a cat but because person who lived there previously had a cat. She had to sleep on the porch outside. She told me this story to point out it’s “that bad”.
I am in tears because I feel like I have to choose between two things that are very important to me. She was trying to convince me that I should give the kitten to a shelter–we called when we found kitty, they were all too full or not accepting strays/surrenders. So that’s a no go. Then she suggested that I put a “free to good home” ad on Craigslist or try to give him away out front a big store! I cannot, in good conscience, do that to any animal. I’ve heard horror stories! Then she suggested I put him in a box and punch holes in it and just leave it at the SPCA’s doorstep. I started crying on the phone and she just said, “Let me know what you decide to do, it’s me or the cat.”
There has got to be some middle ground.
Post # 10
urchin: Oh I believe that if you’re around a cat for long periods of time you can have an asthma attack – my brother is the same way. I’m not questioning that she can have an asthma attack, I’m questioning her attitude and response to the situation. The OP is trying to be accomodating but her mom isn’t having any of it, and that just screams overly dramatic to me. I don’t know, I’m in a similar position as the OP and I guess it’d really piss me off if my mom started guilt tripping me and refusing to come over.
OP, I just reread your post and realized you said your mom does take Claritin every day – maybe she needs to try a new medication? If she’s still reacting poorly, Claritin might not be the right drug for her.
ETA: Just saw your update OP. If I were you, I’d call my mom’s bluff. One of my philosphies in life is that if someone every makes you choose between two things you love, 9 times out of 10, you choose the other thing because clearly that first person has no respect for you and other aspects of your life. But I understand that’s easier said than done. *shrug* Is there anyway you can convince your mother to try it once, just to test out the situation?
Post # 11
People can be deathly allergic to anything. Saying she just needs to takes meds is rude. Also suggesting that she needs to be put on strong prescription drugs or take allergy shots is insane. Why should her health be second to your wanting a cat? Come on…If someone said they had a peanut allergy you wouldn’t be expecting them to do that and you would be understanding of the fact that they might not be willing to eat at certain places even though the owners said they “cleaned” everything so well and didn’t havr peanuts. It is her comfort level not yours.
I never understood how people could pick a pet over a person.
You know your mother has allergies and you are purposely ignoring her medical condition. She explained to you she has already had an asthmatic attack. Why would you purposely put her in that situation again? People die from asthmatic attacks. Allergens are extremely hard to remove. Considering you don’t have the issue it is easy to say she is overreacting.
You have a right to keep your pet and she has a right to not visit. Keep the cat and stop crying and deal with her not visiting. You are doing this to yourself by having the cat.
Post # 12
rbabyrolle: Honestly, I didn’t know she was THAT allergic to cats until we spoke on the phone this morning. She’s allergic to absolutely everything, including dogs, yet she still has a dog and she still goes outside a lot despite her pollen and hayfever allergies. I reasonably figured that cats were another one of those things that she was allergic to but could deal with like everything else. She never told me any of these horror stories about her cat allergy until this morning.
I was unaware of the extent of her medical condition until just recently. She had never said anything about not going into my home if I get a cat. I told her about the cat expecting her to be at least neutral about it. Then she started freaking out about never wanting to come over to my house at all. That’s when I told I would board the cat for her, have the place professionally cleaned, get HEPA filters, etc. but she would have none of it.
I am being more than reasonable here. If her allergies are truly that severe, then she should see an allergist and discuss options. Allergy treatment has come a long way, and the least she could do is look into it.
Post # 13
My mom is also pretty much allergic to everything too lol! Pretty much anything with fur (as well as a lot of food). We have 2 dogs and my mom knows this so when she comes to visit, she’ll take her allergy medication beforehand and then come in and visit for a short time then we go out and do something. I don’t know how far away your mom lives but mine just gets a hotel and we do our hanging out in the city closest to us (we live 8 hours away from family) so she gets to do some sightseeing without having bad allergy attacks.
My fiance is also allergic to cats and my dad and step mom have them. So when we go see them he takes his allergy meds, brings them with and we stay as long as we can. I honestly think the cleaning should help, especially if you deep clean fabric or carpeted areas. Or maybe get a slip cover for the couch? I actually developed an allergy to cats when I turned 25 but not severe but it does suck, especially since our daughter really wants one! lol
It also sounds like she may need to reevaluate what allergy meds work for her if she’s taking Claritin everyday and she’s still concerned with the kitten causing an attack.
Hope this helps at least a little!
Oh and you’re right, Craigslist is a horrible idea for getting rid of pets! We luckily found one of our pups on Craigslist and it makes me sad to think what could have happened to him if we didn’t snatch him up. And the poor thing was already terrified of men when we got him. 🙁
Post # 14
CorvusCorax: I would also assume, that if her allergies are really THAT severe that none of your cleaning, boarding, etc would help, that she wouldn’t even be able to be around a person that owns a cat without being affected…so I also kind of get the feeling that she’s blowing this out of proportion…
I’d also think she’d need to have asthma puffers with her at all time– does she carry this normally?
Post # 15
urchin: I remember that she used to, but she didn’t use it too terribly often. I haven’t seen her use one in eons.
My husband and I agreed to keep the house clean and have it professionally cleaned before my parents visit, and possibly boarding the cat if she’d feel more comfortable if he’s not present, since they produce more dander then dogs typically do. Then I called her to tell her we got a cat, and the conversation turned into a very upsetting one.
She keeps her own home very neat and tidy, and she has a cleaning service come in every two weeks because she’s allergic to dust and dog dander and probably everything else floating around in there. I had no reason to suspect that cleaning and boarding on our end would be insufficient.