I have had allergies for as long as I can remember. I am allergic to dust mites, pollen, certain types of grasses and trees, rabbits, hamsters, cats and dogs. To deal with the year-round allergy symptoms, I take an over the counter allergy medication and have been doing so for years. Even though I may at times sneeze, have a stuffy nose or itchy eyes, I couldn’t imagine giving up having pets.
When I moved away from home and was in a position to have a pet of my own, I began researching the Devon Rex cat. This was a breed that had intrigued me ever since I saw one live at a cat show when I was nine years old. I read that sometimes allergy sufferers can cope better with a Devon Rex because of their short fur, and descriptions of how this breed is very human oriented made them very appealing to me. After a few weeks of researching and looking for breeders online I finally found one with a litter coming soon and in a few months I became the proud parent of an adorable white Devon Rex that I named Pinky.
In order to live comfortably with her, there are a few rules that I try to follow:
- Vacuum the house once a week. This is probably something that I should do even if I didn’t have a cat, but I’ve found that it is especially helpful with allergies and definitely makes the floor look cleaner. The one I have is this, and it gives me great satisfaction to see all the dust, dirt and hair that is collected in the wind tunnel when I am done.
- Shower her two to three times a month with anti-allergen cat shampoo. She smells so clean after her showers and since I started her when she was a kitten she accepts bath time without too much complaining.
- Keep her out of the bedroom when I am sleeping. As much as I love to sleep with Pinky curled up next to me under the blankets, I’ve found that keeping her outside the bedroom at night helps with my symptoms. She has a nice tall and cozy cat tree right outside the bedroom door and I give her a treat on her tree every night when it is time for her to go sleep. In the mornings she waits patiently in front of the door letting out a few meows here and there until I get up and open the door.
Although I will never be fully free of my allergy symptoms simply because I am allergic to many items that I am often exposed to, I’ve found that following the above rules diligently has helped me be able to enjoy the love and companionship that pet ownership provides.