I began writing this blog in 2014, mostly focusing on parenting. Understandably, because that’s what I was doing. Now, in my empty nest, I write more about the little things going on in my life or about what I read in the news.
One of my joys now in my empty nest is our cat Olive. She delights us with her antics wanting us to play chase around the house. I like to watch her watch the quail through the screen door. She wants to sit on my lap every afternoon like clockwork. I remembered that time my son tried to give away the cat with a FB post and how I found out about it. This was one of my very first posts:
Robert’s asthma and allergy appointment–on his first day home from college for his four-week Christmas break–didn’t go well. The doctor said we could get rid of the cat or put Robert up in a hotel for four weeks.
We’ve only had baby Olive for a year. We’re not too attached, but still. She’s a member of our family. We rescued her from a local pet shelter and committed to be her loving family. And she’s Robert’s little sister’s cat. Not mine. I felt before we agreed to give Olive away, we needed to discuss this with little sis. Or, let Olive be an outdoor cat.
I heard that Robert had posted on FB for a new home for Olive. Of course, as his loving mother, I’m filtered from seeing his posts. Grandpa, on the other hand, has full access to Robert’s FB account. He told me about the long and lengthy post about how I love the cat more than my own son. Short and shorter: we needed to get rid of the cat. Several people had said yes to adopt the furry feline.
Am I a terrible mother for not wanting to give away our pretty little kitty, Olive Bear?
Robert said I’m infected with Toxoplasma gondii and I’m in danger of turning into a crazy cat lady. I “googled” the toxo thing. It’s different than cat scratch fever, which can cause chills and a fever. T. gondii is a protein that invades your bloodstream and makes women crazy about cats. Or, it makes men crazy in a wild way. And there’s a link to schizophrenia. It’s why my OB GYN told me not to change the litter box while I was pregnant. However, he said that if I’d been around cats my entire life, most likely I was already infected. Great.
I know about crazy cat ladies.We had one in my home town. She lived in a house filled with felines and feces. Hundreds of cats. My parents drove me to her house out in the country a few miles from town. The home badly needed paint and had broken floorboards with cats leaping in and out of the foundation. We picked an adorable calico kitten named Pansy to bring home. Pansy died a few weeks later from feline pneumonitis.
We had bad luck with cats when I was growing up. I can name the ones we owned when I was young: “Ting, Tack, Tenni-runner, No Name, Thomasina I, Thomasina II, Little Leticia, Bianco, Streshia, OJ Simpson. We lost these cats (in addition to the aforementioned Pansy) by the time I reached first grade, due to an overzealous cat-hater neighbor. He caught them in a wooden trap, dropped them in a gunnysack, then tossed them in the river.
When we moved out to the country, I adopted Saute´ when I was in second grade. I named her for the ballet term “jump.” I had her through high school — although she lost a leg early on sleeping in a truck engine. Coyotes and bears were kinder animals to our kitty than our former neighbor in town.
I was pregnant with Robert when we adopted Sherman. My son’s allergy doctor told me for years to get rid of Sherman. I didn’t. Robert was allergic to lots more things than cats. Things I couldn’t control, like rye grass and oak trees. Sherman lived from 1992 for 17 years — when the neighbor’s dog jumped a wall and killed him.
I know it’s terrible not to want to get rid of our cat. I never believed that a cat could be harmful to my child. Now, my son is living in beautiful Santa Barbara, going to college.
He’s only home for visits. Or maybe it is the toxoplasmosis that let’s me rationalize all this.
If you have suggestions on how to keep a cat when you have family members with allergies, I’d love to hear what you have to say.
“Kittens are angels with whiskers.” — Alexis Flora Hope
We bought an air filter for my son’s room and he’s been able to visit us without getting sick. It’s amazing what an air filter can do — except with the current supply chain issues, I rarely get the replacement hepa filters.
Do you have family members who have cat or dog allergies? Do you think you’d get rid of pets because of them? A doctor friend who is allergic to cats just shook his head when I told him we kept our pets despite of our son’s allergies.