Just Call Me: Puffy-Itchy-Mucous OD

Having an allergy to cat dander and dust-mites makes one a tad cautious. Even though suffering is inevitable, I can’t help but reach out a hand to pet or grab at a tail with reckless abandon.

When visiting friends once, I walked down the hallway and there was a flurry of loose fur in my wake. Maybe they had no time to sweep or perhaps they had one those ‘shedders’. This was one of the first times I realized I had allergies. After a while I realized that lots of people enjoy having cats around. Not that I blame them. I would have at least two. If it were possible. There’s one problem though, it would have to involve a scheduled medication regiment.

Choking down pills is not how want to enjoy life. Neither does forcing open my eyes for a couple of drops for some much needed relief. Nor using those nose sprays that shoot straight up into the nasal cavity. It feels like drowning in a current. Instead another strategy has evolved as an alternate choice: complete avoidance by suggesting outdoor activities. At least the struggle to breathe outside is minimal. Most times anyhow.

On a particular windy day while enjoying 60 km winds coming off the Ottawa River, there was a blizzard of cotton pollen floating on the currents. Cream-colored puffs danced on the wind. Trying to catch the pollen, chasing it down the winding trails, the pollen caught in my clothes, on my skin, on my face, and eyelashes. I wiped it away. It felt good. I began to rub my eyes over and over again. Then I couldn’t stop. Within a few staggered steps, sneezing echoed across the land. This was a new discovery as a drug store up the road beckoned to me.

Yet, I endure. I still enjoy walking on windy days when the pollen index is at high. On days like this the weather network advises staying indoors if you have allergies and close all the windows. These are the same instructions that are advised during an impending zombie apocalypse. And just like anybody in these situations, I’ve got to find out how dangerous it really is out there. I get prepared: anti-histamine by the pill; nasal spray; plenty of tissue; and sneakers just in case I have to run for my life.

Friends and relatives say, Embrace it. Go beyond these limitations. Find other ways to adapt. It sounds as if they are reading an inspirational poster. It does the trick though. The internet has revealed a vicarious way to enjoy cats: by watching funny cat videos. From my on-line research, I’ve found that cats are diverse in personality yet have similar behaviors. Prior to this new information, I only heard stories about how awesome cats are and up to this point. Yet I didn’t really now for sure.

There are a few wily and lanky cats out there that can scale walls then later sneak back into their home just hoping no one noticed that they were gone. Silly cats, you might be able to scale walls like Spiderman but look whose been caught. And look who has a video with over 78 thousand visits. It’s still trending from its first upload in Twenty-Eleven. But, you’re not alone spider-kitty there’s others just like you. I’ve seen them. Strange enough is that most of them have long black fur. Unless, it’s the same cat that sneaked it’s way into other videos. I’m not quite sure though. There’s probably a ton of black cats out there.

Other cats crawl into three-foot-high elongated vases by jumping up to the edge without breaking it. It’s incredible. It’s a delicate acrobat maneuver. All these cats go in head first into the pot as their hind legs take hold of the edge with their tails swinging, finding balance on tip toes. And once that’s been achieved in they go. The videos don’t go on, I don’t know how they get out. I’m sure I would put down the camera and go scoop my ball of fur out. I would hold him high up in the air and say, ‘Pascal! Stunts like that I should have called you, Rascal.’

See if I weren’t inflicted with this allergy, I would be that person recording what their cat does much like a first time parent recording every moment of their firstborn. I might even be that person who gets to know their cat’s habits and predict when he will do something funny that I can use later for his YouTube channel, ‘Prince Pascal’s Rascally Antics.’ With the focus of a monk, I’d become dedicated with a deep understanding. Cats are explorers, connecting to their feline cousins in the wild. Such as, the cats that make these impossible feats of jumping from floors, counters, car and rooftops. I am in awe of the agility, grace, and precise measurements these cats exhibit. #feelinglikedavidattenborough

I’ve become a bit envious, wishing I could jump that high or at least wish I had a tail. That is until halfway through this twenty-minute montage. Paws slip on wooden floors or snowy windshields as feline bodies slam into walls or feet back-peddle trying to find a grip before sliding down the hood into a pile of snow. There’s a commonality between us, me and these cats: if we fall, we get up quick and saunter away like nobody noticed a thing.

Melancholy befalls me as I watch a video of a kitten blinking and mewing down at floor level. My heart actually skips a beat. I bet the kitten’s fur is super soft and all it does is play. The camera pulls out, just in time before I head out the door to the nearest pet store, to a wider focus of the mother licking the kitten’s fur and begins hacking up a hairball. Gross. I’m clicking out of there. There’s another video of floorboards and paws skidding, landing the cat against a wall. I stop laughing when I notice bunches of fur flying all around it’s body and up into the air. In an instant, I am thankful not to be in that house visiting or living in it. I’d be in a car wreck of allergic proportions.

Imagine: sneezing eighteen times in succession; followed by constant sniffles; and the dreaded nose blowing as if my nose is a dripping faucet that nobody bothered to get fixed. Believe me, it’s not fun. Nor is it attractive. Once there was this incident with gushing mucous, never again. I quit trying to be a ninja when I clear my nose. On a bus, I’m the one sucking all the mucous through a stuffy nose. It’s not the kind of attention one needs. So, I learned to get equipped. Stay stocked. Avoid running out of tissue. Buy extra when it’s on sale. And carry a pack with you at all times. It will save future embarrassment.

I admit there were a few times that I ran out of anti-histamines. This is when I have to take multiple swigs on my daughter’s allergy syrup. Yes she’s got those allergies too. Her allergies are class one though. It goes straight into asthma attack mode. Our faulty genes are to blame. Becoming weaker generation after generation. Has our resistance weakened because it’s faced with an assault of urban living and in such a big world full of possible foes? Or is resilience futile when our bodies adapt to using medication to function instead of, building immunity? What can be worst than an asthma attack? I’m not sure if I want to find out.

Staying alive is a good reason for keeping medication in stock and registering for an unlimited internet usage package. From this side of the screen, I will keep clicking on your uploads of cat videos. Just keep them flowing. And if you’re one of my friends or family, and I haven’t been by in a while. Just know it’s not you, it’s your cats (and dogs cause yeah, we’re allergic to them too). There’s a few other things to add to that list of allergies but that’s for another time. There’s a new twenty minute cat montage that’s been uploaded that I need to check out.


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