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Cat Hair is Good for You

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Newly published research shows that exposure to cats and dogs within the first year of a child’s life may reduce the risk of later allergies, countering previously published studies. This is wonderful news for me because it means that I can finally stop worrying about the balls of animal hair that roll across my laminate floors like suburban tumbleweed.

Silas and Medea

Before our son was born, my husband and I were the very happy and proud parents of three cats and a dog. We loved them with all the strength of our pumping hearts, but our laziness prevented us from doing any of the standard pet grooming. Brushing? Just give the cat some “rough pets” and watch the hair fly off. Nail trimming? How about instead we take a long walk on the cement and wear those suckers down a little. Needless to say, “keeping house” is not something that either of us really took too seriously.

Then we became parents. I’d like to say that this transformation whipped us into shape and suddenly we were disinfecting our home’s hard surfaces and steam cleaning the fabrics. Instead, we’ve chosen to embrace the hygiene hypothesis with open, and cat-hair-covered, arms.

Previously, when our family members asked if we were going to cull the herd in preparation for our coming child, I mumbled something about how the commitment that we made to our four-legged friends was a commitment for life. But, now I am backed up by epidemiology. I no longer have to clean the various fibers and animal hairs from the webbing between my four-month-old’s fingers and toes in the secrecy of our home. Now I can do so in broad daylight, bite my thumb at judgmental neatniks, and explain that I’m doing my duty as a parent by preventing him from suffering from animal allergies down the road. Thank you science!

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About Courtney Cable

  • ElvisCat59

    I like this study, and I believe it! Our family always has had four felines in it, and my allergies have actually disappeared over the years.
    We now have SIX furry felines we have rescued (including a litter of three being dumped!)and would NEVER “cull the herd” because of a baby coming!
    Our three kids grew up learning how to love and respect cats, and now, are also cat lovers at heart!!

  • We would never really “cull the herd” either, as evidenced by the fact that we still have all four animals, even post baby. We really do love our furry little family members! 🙂 And I agree that it’s important for the little ones to grow up learning how to treat animals with respect.

  • Lisa

    Too Cool. I was prepared for my daughter to have awful allergies to animal dander as I do, we have four cats and a rabbit now, when she was a baby, we had one very large cat. She has no allergies to animals whatsoever. I was shocked. My allergies have gotten much milder over the years and I am just not willing to give up my beloved animals anyway…even if I am reacting. I gave it a lot of thought and decided they were worth more to me than all my allergic reactions combined. All rescues, they are part of our lives and I am so happy my little girl is allergy free…but she wouldn’t want to give up our family anymore than I would 🙂