A smiling man holding two cats

Shhhh! Don’t Tell Anyone I Have Cats!

Four years ago I bought a new home. I made sure the home I purchased was asthma- and allergy-proof. It has all-wood floors and air conditioning. No dogs. No cats. No pets. No allergens. No asthma triggers. It's simply ideal for any person with asthma.

I was allergic to cats in the past, but an allergy test I had done a few years ago showed I was not allergic to cats anymore. The same with dogs. I was allergic to them in the past but am no longer allergic to them.

Still, dogs go outside and can bring in allergens. So, I decided I better not get a dog. And this is despite the fact I love dogs and my kids keep begging me to get one. As far as cats go, I have zero experience with them. Other than a few exceptions, I have rarely been around cats and had zero desire to get one.

So, my goal was to keep my house allergy-free, which meant no cats and no dogs.

This came in handy last summer. My youngest daughter’s friend has an allergy to cats, and she cannot visit many of her friends because they have cats. I thought it was neat that she was able to come to my home and have a sleepover with my daughter.

That was then. Now things have changed.

A few months ago my oldest daughter Callie texted me: "Dad, would you be willing to take in Tina’s 2 cats? She is moving to a smaller house and she has room for her dogs but not for her 2 cats. They are awesome cats, dad."

"No!" I said.

She persisted. And a few days later she tried again.

"No!" I said.

She persisted. A few days later she tried again. Only this time she more carefully crafted her words. She said, "Dad, Tina has always been like a grandma to me. She has done so much for us over the years. This is our opportunity to do something nice for her by giving her cats a nice home."

True, what she said.

But, this time she got me thinking. And, after mulling it over, I caved and said the word she had wanted to hear all along: "Yes!"

Now I have 2 cats: Smokey and Mazie

Smokey is a very outgoing black cat. She was quick to warm up to her new home and quick to warm up to me and my kids. She follows me wherever I go and even talks to me. Right now she is standing on an end table looking out the open window and meowing at the birds. She tries to chase a bird but realizes she cannot get out. She seems to be fine with this setup.

Mazie is not outgoing and is very shy and timid. I did not see her for the first 2 weeks she was in my house because she hid under the bathroom cabinet. She would only come out when the girls were home.

Callie said this was because she was abused by her first owner. And she hates men because of this. So, Tina adopted her and gave her a nice home. And Tina gave her the name Amazing Grace, and we call her Mazie for short. She is a very sweet cat, once she comes out of hiding.

It took a couple of weeks. But one day Mazie came out of hiding when I was home alone and sitting on the couch watching a movie. I approached her carefully and she allowed me to pet her. Now, as I enter the living room, she jumps up on the couch and gives me a very shy meow to let me know she wants to be petted.

Bringing 2 cats into the house as a person with asthma

So, what did I overlook?

It was only after I got the cats that Myles said, "Dad, what if I'm allergic!" Here I am, the ideal asthma dad, and I completely forgot my kids have allergies too. Thankfully, the cats have been here for several months and we have experienced no issues.

Another thing I forgot about was my younger daughter's friend with a cat allergy. She won't be able to stay here anymore.

The cats have certainly grown on me. It is nice having company when the kids are at school. Perhaps in a year or so I will reassess the cat situation. In the meantime, let's not tell anyone I have cats. I don't want to hear the expected, "John, I thought you were allergic to cats!"

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