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I think her suggestion is the best, too. Mom loves them, she likes to have them around, but the stress of getting breakfast for everyone, doing laundries for all those towels and sheets, having the den closed off because of the cat, Mike* and his odd hours, and so on, really gets to her.

Greetings, Nancy, having had my parents come in from Michigan to Tucson this summer (a 3 hour time difference at this time of year), I learned some important things. Namely, never underestimate the violence of an allergy to cats!

My parents were all set to stay at my cousin's house (they are out of town for the summer and lent them their house). But my cousin's husband is a gadget guy and their house is nearly completely electronic. All would have been well except that an intense thunderstorm ensued, knocking out the power to my cousin's neighborhood for several hours and the only entrance to the house was through the garage door on an electric circuit. Meaning: no entrance!

So my parents had to drive across town to stay with us. More properly, with my fiance because I was still in the hospital. The guest room has a door that can be closed, and the second bathroom is next to the guest room, so my parents had a sort of wing of our house to themselves. Except the cat likes to sleep under the guest room bed and though the door was kept shut while my parents bunked down here, my mom's allergies came on screaming into full force and she was miserable - not to mention the time difference making it hard for her to sleep, anyway.

We have since learned that she is good for being here no more that 1-1.5 hours consecutively. It was a lucky thing that the power came back on the next morning. My parents spent every night thereafter at my cousin's where there are no cats (actually, my cousin has two cats but they were with her and her husband at their summer home and had been out of their house long enough not to bother my mother's allergies). Had the power not come back on, we would have needed to rent a hotel room for them because nobody wanted my mom to suffer.

So now I give lots of extra weight to things like allergic reactions which can ruin anybody's day!

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