Vivre avec un chat allergique 

I am often asked about the products I use at Le Château to keep it a Catorze-compliant environment. My response is usually, “Have a seat: this could take a while.”

To be honest, we can’t guarantee that any of what we use actively helps Louis Catorze. However, given that a cat’s sense of smell is so much more sensitive than that of a human, limiting scented products can’t possibly do any harm. And when he does flare up, we can be sure that our shampoo or washing powder is unlikely to be the cause.

Skincare:

I use nothing but Dermalogica and REN on my face. Although some products do carry a faint scent, they’re not tested on animals and they’re free from all the nasty irritants that most mass-produced brands contain. If you’re going to use the hair and body products, though, bear in mind that they are more highly-scented than the face stuff. Dermalogica’s deodorant, for example, whilst marketed for “sensitive skin and allergy-prone individuals”, smells very strong. I have been using it sparingly and all is well so far, but I won’t be introducing anything else fragranced until I can be certain that Louis Catorze is ok with this.

My favourite body cream is Scent Trail’s fabulous handmade Unfragranced Body Treat, which is super-rich and lasts for ages, and soap is just plain, unfragranced Morrison’s own-label (and, unlikely though this may sound, Morrison’s own-label products are approved by the non-animal-testing organisation that use the bunny logo).

Hair products:

For my hair I use the Green People Neutral range, and Daniel Field (again, not wholly scentless but cruelty-free and crud-free).

Fragrance:

I love The Organic Pharmacy’s Rose Oud, which is free from chemical crud. I keep it at work and use once a week at the most, and it’s twice the price of Chanel but I selflessly made the sacrifice for the sake of my boy.

I used to have quite a major scented candle habit but, since Louis Catorze came to live with us, I have cut it down to twice a month at the most. He tolerates Rosy Rosie soy candles pretty well, and they’re a local company so I like supporting them. And he is curiously and irresistibly drawn to Scent Trail’s soy candles and will happily sleep in a room with them burning away; the Lime and Vetivert one, in particular, seems to have a de-stressing effect on him and, when I did a bit of research, I discovered that vetivert essential oil is sometimes used in the plug-in pheromone devices that calm down angsty pets, so perhaps this shouldn’t be so surprising.

I also like plain beeswax candles and use them between scented ones, but the ones that are truly beneficial for allergy sufferers are the 100% pure ones; read the product descriptions carefully before you buy, as there are many that claim to be “beeswax candles” but contain as little as 10% beeswax, with the rest being yucky paraffin wax. Candles Naturally are great if you’re looking for the real thing.

Household products:

In the areas of the house where Louis Catorze hangs out, we use Method products. We’re a bit less stringent about using irritant-free products in the bathroom because he doesn’t spend any time there, but we try to stick mainly to Method whenever possible. We also use Surcare washing-up liquid and laundry liquid, with occasional use of Fairy Non-Bio if we can’t get hold of Surcare. In addition, we have a Drontek electronic dust mite zapper fizzing away on each floor of the house. Cat Daddy complains that they’re “unsightly” but, when I remind him that they’re for our boy, he shuts up (usually after muttering something unpleasant about Catorze first).

Furnishings:

Carpets, curtains, cushions and fabric sofas are, apparently, the work of the devil for allergic pets, as they house dust mites. So Le Château has no carpet except for stair runners, shutters instead of curtains, and our cushions and fabric sofa are regularly sprayed with anti-bacterial spray.

All our duvets and pillows are from John Lewis’ anti-allergy range and they’re cleaned regularly, and our duvet covers and pillow cases are washed on a high heat (which annoys Cat Daddy greatly as he finds it ungreen, but a 30 degree wash isn’t as effective at killing dust mites).

All of these products and manufacturers are Google-able if you would like more information, and most are easy to order online from anywhere in the world. Even if you don’t have an allergic pet, I think they are well worth a go for the benefit of the humans in the household. If you decide to try any of them, please let me know how you and your furry overlords get on.