Fur flies over cat house
- Published: February 13, 2014
My husband and I really enjoy having our friends over. Out of our group of friends, we have the only home with a cat. One of our friends has a girlfriend who is highly allergic to cats and is miserable when she comes over, even after taking Benadryl. We used to have friends over several times a month, but since the girlfriend has come around, gatherings at our place are few and far between. I’ve tried deep cleaning the house before the girlfriend comes over, but it seems to just stir the cat dander up more and makes things worse. I feel like a bad host: neither she nor I can relax and enjoy everyone else’s company. My husband and I want to have guilt-free gatherings at our house again. Is there anything we can or should do (minus getting rid of the cat)?
Dear Cat Woman,
You have come to the right place: I, too, suffer from cat allergies and so have the deepest sympathy for your friend’s girlfriend.
The bright side is that you now have a deep-cleaned house, which is more than most of us can say. Unfortunately, since all the obvious remedies have been tried, I can only offer imperfect and partial solutions.
While this won’t be useful for some time yet, once the weather improves, you can host gatherings outside. Investing in a fire circle will expand the months that this is an option, and buying some of those citronella torches will also increase your guests’ comfort during the warmer months.
Depending on the size of your house (and the intensity of the allergies, which do sound quite severe) you might also consider creating a cat-free zone and consistently keep your feline friend out of the rooms in which you’re most likely to socialize. Over time, this should reduce the cat dander in those spaces, thus making them more habitable for the lady in question.
In the meantime, remember that this is your friend’s girlfriend, not your mother-in-law. You have more than filled your social and hosting obligation through the deep cleaning, and asking you to stop hosting altogether would be unfair on the part of your friend. Have gatherings at your house as you did before, and look for other times and places to socialize with the girlfriend. Make an effort to get together at a bar or coffee shop once a month. Go bowling, ice skating, skeet shooting or any other –ing for that matter, and make sure to include your friend and his girlfriend in the plans.
If you haven’t already, you may also consider sharing your concern with your friend and asking for any input or ideas he might have. At the very least, this will communicate your goodwill, and at best it might produce another solution.
—The Village Pickle