Does cat hair in your food bother you?

caflowerluverFebruary 17, 2012

I have an inside dog and have found a few hairs floating around and I am sure some of them got into my food. I just don't notice it like I do when I visit friends and family who have cats. My dog has very short hair and most of the cats have long or very long hair. I have only one dog and most cat owners have 2 or more (one has 6!), so more hair.

Just not a big fan of furry food. I try to be polite, but I find it difficult to eat any food when I have to constantly pick out cat hairs. I refuse now to eat at places with lots of cats. I prefer we meet at a restaurant. It just really turns my appetite off.

I have nothing against cats but another thing that bothers me is people who allow their cats to walk all over the kitchen counters and lay on the table. Don't they know where those paws have been and what they have been digging into. (That is why I will never have a cat.)

I should also mention that I either dust mop or vacuum every other day. It was one of the requests from DH when we got an inside only dog. It is amazing how much I pick up. I know, I should do it every day.

Just curious how others feel about this touchy subject. I apologize if I have offended any cat owners. That was not my intention nor was it to turn this into a cat vs dog thread.


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I'd find fur in my food unappetizing. I wouldn't think twice about it if it happened every now and then but if it were a regular occurrence, like you I would find somewhere else to eat.

My dog is short-haired but a moderate shedder. Fur gets on our clothes, furniture, and of course all over the floor. I've never noticed a piece of fur in my food, and since I wipe down my counters and wash my hands before I prep food so I'm not sure how it could happen.

Cats on the counter gross me out.

What's an "inside-only" dog?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 1:56PM
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I tell everyone up front my 'secret ingredient' is cat hair.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 1:58PM
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I have an inside cat who (fortunately) is extremely lazy and has to think about jumping on a chair or bed and I cant even imagine her considering the table or counters. That said, I am extremely conscious about cat hair in the kitchen (her dish is on the floor in a corner) so I make absolutely sure counters, hands, everything is cleaned before I start any food prep. I completely agree that animals do not ever belong on the counters.

That said, any sort of hair in food completely grosses me out.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:08PM
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I have a cat and a dog so it is inevitable there will be a hair. With our new dog it is much better, she doesn't shed as much as my old girl. And cats on the counters, nope, he isn't allowed. I am also a "shedder" and my hair escapes into the food more often and that really grosses me out, despite showering everyday. I also clear the counters like crazy before cooking/baking too, I think it helps a bit.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:12PM
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I have three cats. They don't go on the counters. I also always change my clothes before making food for company just in case - I've never had any problems with cat fur ending up in food when I take these precautions. I bake a lot for people and no one has ever mentioned any "secret" ingredients and I'm sure they would, or at least stop eating it and that has yet to happen!

If it's just me, I don't take nearly the precautions as it doesn't really bother me. This morning I noticed a stray piece of fur in my coffee. I fished it out but I don't go nuts. I just accept it as part of life with pets. Just like if I accidentally get my own hair in my food. I just pick it out and keep eating. Other people's hair completely freaks me out though, eww.

Actually I'm surprised the cat fur doesn't bother me as I'm OCD about germs otherwise.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:15PM
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We have a large cat family and 2 dogs, and don't have a problem with pet hair in food. There's more likely to be one of mine, which is why I try to always tie my hair back when cooking. However, the people we socialize with are usually animal people, so an occasional cat or dog hair wouldn't be a huge deal. Hasn't happened yet though. I do have a friend who is terrified of cats (and birds and rodents and pretty much every critter except for dogs), so she prefers to meet elsewhere.

Re. cats on the counter, ours are not particularly interested in jumping on counters except for our 18 year old who likes to drink from faucets and is pretty much allowed to do whatever he wants. However, I would never say the other cats don't get on the counter because I am not sure what they're up to when we're not home. :o)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:37PM
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I am an absolute germ freak and am extremely careful about which friends' cooking I eat. I don't kiss anyone on the mouth, and I insist on serving utensils when I am not eating alone. I am appalled at people who taste what they are cooking with the same spoon they are stirring the pot. I take my chances with carefully selected restaurants and would definitely send back ANY food that came with hair in my order. I have no explanation as to why I am not careful about where my cats walk, climb, sleep etc. I have no real aversion to eating my own cooked food if I find MY cats' hair in it. This makes no sense and I freely understand anyone who wants to tell me I am crazy. I do wipe counter surfaces prior to food prep and I wash my hands before I eat. However, my cats are perfect and I can live with an occasion cat hair in my food, though I do pick it out before eating that food. My cats own me and have total use of any surface in my house. We all sleep together. In the past I have owned house dogs and they were all trained to stay off food prep areas. I have no idea why I am so lax with my cats. However, I have never become sick with any cat caused disease except terrible hay fever and asthma. For that I get allergy shots and take expensive prophylactic prescription medications. Oh--I am a retired RN. Go figure ;-)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:47PM
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By "inside only dog" I meant she is inside almost all of the time and only outside to do her business or when I am outside and she is on a leash. She doesn't have a dog door to come and go on her own nor do I leave her outside without me being there. Mainly because we have coyotes and bobcats.

If it is my dog's hair that I find in my food, I just pick it out. I don't know why other people's pet hair bothers me so. I know it won't kill me. Once when at a friends place she offered me a cookie, it really was furry. It just grossed me out. I politely declined. (It was hard not to have a gag response though.)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 3:03PM
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I have never noticed cat hair in our food. We have 3 cats...a Maine Coon, one who looks like she has Maine in her, and a short-haired tabby. They shed, but not in our food.

One of the cats started sleeping on top of the frig and she has to get on the counter next to the frig to get up there. :(

It's amazing how lax we can be with the cats, when, if it were somewhere else, or finding a hair at a restaurant, I would be totally grossed.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 3:13PM
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I would not eat some where that CAT HAIR is in the food.
I have a cat he is old but don't have a hair problem in my dishes.
We also have a dog a Shih Tzu he doesn't shead like a poodle.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 3:57PM
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Even wiping down counter tops, changing clothes, vacuuming, etc, doesn't find it all(especially with 4 cats). There's bound to be some floating around in the air. There's usually a cat in my lap when I have my morning coffee or when I'm sitting at the computer with a cup of tea...who knows how many hairs I ingest(I haven't coughed up any hairballs yet). There's usually a cat on my pillow at night and there is always a cat hair in my eye just as I get into the car to go somewhere.
When I bake for friends or family(they all know we're cat people)I use my secret ingredient disclaimer...just in case. I haven't had any complaints. I think I worry more about my own hair getting into something.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 4:23PM
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Gives new meaning to the (modified) term ''.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 4:40PM
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One or two cat hairs would not bother me, but one or two dog hairs would. I think of dogs as outdoor animals and would not have a dog in the city, although I had dogs when I lived in the country. Cat hairs are finer than dog hairs (in general), and cats do not smell the way dogs do. A person's hair would bother me more than a dog hair, however, because they should know better. I'm tolerant of cats because I know that they help keep rodent populations under control.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 4:41PM
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Interesting subject. I prefer my food without hair of any variety.

Lars - dogs aren't meant to live outside. They aren't an "outside" animal. While its great for them to have fresh air and go outside to potty, they really shouldn't be kept outside 24/7. A dog is a pet. Most people consider their pets to be part of their family.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 4:50PM
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Good thing I swallowed my coffee before I came to this statement.
"(I haven't coughed up any hairballs yet)".
I grew up with pets and still have a dog so I am sure I have injested some pet hair.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 4:54PM
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"A person's hair would bother me more than a dog hair, however, because they should know better."

I do know better, but my hair is thinning faster than I would like and it does gross me out when I find it in the kitchen. I take precautions like others by tying my hair back when I cook, using a lint roller etc, but animal or human, "hair happens".

"Lars - dogs aren't meant to live outside. They aren't an "outside" animal."
Some dogs are meant to live outside, such as livestock guardian dogs. They live with the flock. But, most are pets and are members of the family.

"and cats do not smell the way dogs do."
A smelly dog is one that never gets a bath.

"I'm tolerant of cats..."
Hee, hee, hee, hee...I'm's typically the other way around...cats tolerate people...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 5:15PM
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I'm not bothered by the occasional hair from my own dog, and I'd probably feel the same way about a few select other dogs. But anything that can be described as constantly picking out hairs is definitely unacceptable.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 5:15PM
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Like Noinwi, no hair ball coughs from me either and I have always had cats and dogs. And I can't say I have ever found animal hair in my cooking either. Dylan the dog is part Maltese, so no shedding from him, and BearCat is strickly indoors. He is solid white and the risk of skin cancer is too high to let him out. When I had Skyes or GSD either, nor at anyones home.

But just in case I do, I have a large pasta bowl that has "the cook is not responible for dog hair in the food" written on the rim. Always gets a chuckle from guests at dinner.

For those that have hairball issues, 1/2 teaspoon of mineral oil in thier food solves the problem. It coats objects and lets them pass via the back way. No midnight Urps.......

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 5:20PM
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I sure don't freak out....but I don't eat at anyone's house who has more than 2 cats...and yes they get on the counters. I figure I don't see a lot of what goes on behind the scene in a restaurant, so I don't freak out about perople's houses.
And need to get a poodle. Soft, fine fur, no odor.....and I take my baby to the beauty parlor every month to get styled.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Linda, would you really turn down a dinner invitation if the host had more than 2 cats? I've never heard that before. I wonder if it's a common sentiment.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 6:49PM
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Chi - I took Linda's comment to mean none of her hosts happen to have more than two cats. But I could be wrong. :-)

I loved Mudlady's and others' responses that showed how much this stuff in really just in our minds. We'll eat off our own floors if no one is looking, but would be grossed out to eat off someone else's floor. Right?

Like I said earlier, for me the issue with pet hair - or human hair - comes down to frequency. It happens. Not nice, but it happens. If it's a recurring theme in your kitchen, then you should really do something about it. Especially when you're feeding guests.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 7:02PM
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Oooh, okay, yeah you could read it either way.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 7:14PM
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I took LindaC's comment the same way you did Chi.
I'm hoping it means that none of her friends have more than 2 cats and not the way we took it.

Cute dog, Linda!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Hot dog anyone? (Sorry if it's a bit furry.)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 8:49PM
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Yes! so much so, that I don't eat at my best friends house. Cats are on the counter there. Often. One cat used to live up on top of the top kitchen cabinets. YUCK!

Any hair in food grosses me out.

No, I don't have pets, and I won't get a pet ever! I have to many pet allergies.

Yes, I do take allergy meds when I go to my friends house.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 9:04PM
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For me it's a matter of quantity, I suppose. If I find one hair in my coffee cup, I shrug and fish it out. if I find a dozen hairs in my coffee cup it's time to get a different cup.

Cooper is a Sheltie and has long hair. I find that easier to find and fish out of my coffee cup than when Pancho, Elery's chihuahua was alive. He had that short hair that got everywhere and he shed way more than Cooper does.
o I brush Coper everyday to keep the shedding under control and vacuum daily and I'm careful about food prep, but it's going to happen. And, if you have a cat, it gets on your counter, trust me. I had an 18 pound cat who was blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. He was far too lazy and fat to jump, I was certain and I never saw him on anything, including the couch. One day, though, I came home to find him napping on the dining room table. Ashley told me that she'd caught him a couple of times too so unless he learned to nap on the table sometime after we'd had him for 12 years, he'd been on the table more than once.

As for what cats have on their feet before they walk on your counters, well, whatever is in their litter box is what's on their feet, along with anything else they've walked on or dug in. It's pretty much a given if you think about it.

Remember, though, I'm a farm girl who has kissed a horse on the mouth and ate a cricket on a dare so a stray pet hair probably isn't going to cause me too much consternation. As I said, a dozen is going to make me more careful about what I ingest at your house but it won't necessarily gross me out.

You don't even WANT to know what goes on in restaurant kitchens or you'd never eat out again!


    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 10:22PM
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Yeah....I have no friends....currently....who have more than 2 cats. One friend had 3, but one kitty went to that great cat-nip patch in the sky.
Frankly I am a lot more creeped out by people who serve boxed mashed potatoes and shake a bunch of chicken nuggets out of a bag for their kids than by any animal hair I might find floating in my coffee cup.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 10:50PM
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Uggh Lindac, so true. What is with the chicken nuggets? They've become standard fare for children. And Gerber makes those little toddler meals- same amount of sodium as McDonalds french fries, but do people know this? No. It says "toddler" on it, so it must be just right! I'm a dog person through and through. My Eskie just had a puppy and cleans up after her when she does her business. I don't know what that has to do with any of this but I would like to believe that she'll do that forever.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 1:06AM
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This is just the most amazing forum....I never know what I will find when I check in. Don't post much but read/lurk almost everyday.
I have almost always had a dog or two. Currently I am owned by one tiny Maltese. Never owned a cat but I have family and friends who do.
But the most amazing thing about this whole conversation is I have never ever even thought about animal fur getting in my food. Just never occurred to me. So I guess ignorance is bliss.
I just love all of you for bringing so much "new knowledge" and "diversity" to my life. Thank you! Thank you......:)
Oh....btw, I guess I have been more worried about the food itself and where it comes from...will have to be more diligent in the future.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 6:30AM
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It would be an ugly world if every animal and every person were hairless. ;) However, I still prefer my food to be so.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 6:51AM
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"It would be an ugly world if every animal and every person were hairless. ;) However, I still prefer my food to be so."

Amen to that!


    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 7:49AM
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Ynnej, I think she'll do it until the puppy eats food. She's trying to make sure predators don't sniff out her whelping box.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 8:26AM
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I agree with barnmom!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Big GAG here, can't even read the post with out the gag reflex.
No pets upstairs for us. 3 cats in the basement that has kitchen counter which always has cat prints, liter pieces and hair in between wipe downs. No way that a cat doesnt climb on a counter when folks are out of the house. Those critters have lots of folks fooled :)

Call me finicky!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 9:47AM
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This is a very interesting thread! !
I am amazed, as always,
At all the different (and sometimes far-fetched) ideas!

We've been animal lovers all our lives.
Almost always have one or two dogs,
And have had a cat on occasion, too.
'Furry food' has never been a problem.
An occasional dog or cat hair in my coffee or food
Doesn't bother me in the least.
Perhaps growing up on a farm amidst
cows, horses, pigs & chickens
Has something to do with this.

"Frankly I am a lot more creeped out by people who serve boxed mashed potatoes and shake a bunch of chicken nuggets out of a bag for their kids than by any animal hair I might find floating in my coffee cup."

Agreed ! ! !
One hundred percent ! ! ! !


    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:39AM
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Trudy, you keep your cats in the basement? When do they get to interact with the family?

We have two cats, both long haired and we also have a feral cat that comes in occasionally to eat but doesn't stay long.

I have had cats in the past that would get up on counters, but Abby and Monty have never been counter cats. But they do have the run of the house and sleep on our bed, guest bed, living room furniture and Abby likes to be on the computer desk with me. They are part of the family and treated as such. Needless to say, with Himalayan cats, cat hair is always a problem.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 11:27AM
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Trudy, my thinking is along the line of AnnT's when I read your post. Are they relegated to the basement with no human contact? If they aren't part of the family, why have them at all?

Our cats are allowed on the furniture, sleep with us, they can do what they want. 2 long-haired and a short-haired, cat hair is a way of life on our clothing, and the carpets. (The long-hairs are easy, just pick it up in a clump). I have however, never ever seen any in our food.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 11:51AM
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Years ago, I had a job that involved a lot of knocking on the door of strangers, and often I would be invited in while we talked.
In one house the woman was fixing dinner while I sat at the kitchen table.....and on the counter was a bowl with 2 turtles. They were front feet on the edge of the bowl obviously begging for some food. She said they got them as those tiny baby turtles several years back, and apparently cared for them well and they grew and liked to be fed a piece of hamburger now and then. All I could think of was SALMONELLA!!!
Turtles on the counter, feeding them bits of hamburger as you are making meat loaf?? EWWW!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 11:52AM
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Our cats have been(squirt bottle)trained(we like to think) to stay off the kitchen least when we're awake. Who knows where they go when we're sleeping. The counter gets wiped down every morning in any case.
One of our cats will briefly jump up on various shelves and surfaces just to get our attention...he knows it will get us out of our chairs and looking at him(negative attention is better than no attention). He either wants food, to go outside, or to play with his fishing pole(string on a stick). He will drag it around(sometimes up onto the computer desk)until one of us finally plays with him. I guess he has us trained too.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 12:01PM
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I rescue cats. At any given time I have atleast 3 in my home and a few in my sons home. I have feral colonies outside that I take care. I live on 35 acres so this is a favorite place for TNR places to relocate them too. I also have a large dog.

I can honestly tell you cat food in our food has never been a problem. I have yet to hear my husband or other family member cough up a hair ball. :) I am always the family member who is volunteered to cook holiday dinners and that usually consists of atleast 22 people. No one has ever complained and I would think if they were freaked out about the cats they would volunteer someone else to cook or go somewhere else.

I recently had someone come over to my house and after being here for a bit saw one of my cats. They exclaimed Oh my god you have cats? I would have never known had I not seen one. Your house isn't catty. I knew what she meant as I have went to rescue cats from other homes and it is very apparent that there are cats in the home.

Cats are actually very clean animals it is their owners who usually aren't. That is when you get into the smell and hair problems. If the owner isn't proactive in keeping boxes clean and cats brushed and things wiped down then you start having problems.

I will admit I know some people who have cats that I would not eat in their home. It isn't just because they have cats it is the fact that their housekeeping is not to my standard. I also have other friends who have cats that I would eat off their floors because I know there isn't anything on there that isn't already on my floor.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 12:29PM
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No cat hair in food here - and I will admit to not being the best housekeeper. I brush my cats daily and sometimes twice. They bring me the brush and are usually sitting at the top of the steps when I come home. Not all cats will jump on counters. Mine don't because cats are totally trainable. And mine also fetch whatever I toss for them. I can say "who wants to play fetch" and both cats come running. I have trained all 7 cats I have owned to play fetch just to prove to people that cats are not stupid. One of my cats - Spike - will get the leash when I say "who wants to go for a walk?" I had a Maine Coon about almost 30 years ago that would do the same thing. He would get the leash and sit by the door.

Would I be upset if I found a cat hair in my food? Hmmmmm.... I should be more upset that Wally wakes me up every morning by licking my face. For all I know he has just licked his butt.

What a funny thread this is!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 12:45PM
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I have five cats, well five and a half. Mama and uncle were feral. Four kittens are not. My cats do go outside but spend equal time inside. Some like the counters, some don't. We keep a spray bottle of lysol and a roll of paper towels out.

There is more of DBF's hair around than anything. I've gotten used to his hair. Every time he cooks there is hair on the stove and counter top. I find his hair stuck in the coffee can lid, stuck to the bathroom walls, etc. etc. etc.. But I have never once noticed a cat hair in food. We are constantly washing our hands in the kitchen.

I do not like to eat at restaurants. Have gotten sick several times from eating at restaurants. Don't remember ever getting sick from something we've cooked at home. You NEVER know what is in the food at any restaurant.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 1:25PM
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jasdip we have a family room in the basement and I also grow hosta seedlings in the basement during the winter....It's were we are at all the time. They are very well loved fur babes, and dont know they are animals! They are spoiled rotten!

Spoiled rotten but not allowed upstairs as I am allergic to the dander, but love them anyway!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 2:15PM
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Oh I'm so glad Trudy!! You failed to mentioned it was a "finished" basement! LOL

I can relate in your "don't know they are animals!"

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 2:44PM
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I went to a cat show. It was interesting there were so many visitors wearing face masks/breathing gears.

I was fascinated by Sphynx cats.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Thanks everyone for all the replies. I have learned a lot and again I apologize if I offended any cat owners. It is not the cat's fault that there is hair not only in the food but everywhere else. Obviously my friend is not the best house cleaner. She needs one of those animal hair vacuum cleaners. When I come home I have to change my clothes because I am covered in long fine cat hair.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 3:11PM
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Our cats have all been short-haired, and I don't remember ever finding their fur in our food. However, they do, occasionally, check out the kitchen counters. My mom would have been horrified, but to me, it's a losing battle and the restriction is not worth the futile effort to enforce. Maybe it *should* bother me, but it really doesn't. Anyway, I always wipe down the counter before preparing food, and I don't put food in direct contact with the counter--it's always on a cutting board or paper towels.

One time, I set the table early, and Sassy said she was ready for dinner. (Yes, I did replace that dish!)


    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 3:23PM
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I want my food free from any kind of hair. My cats (and dogs) and for that matter most everyone I know also don't allow the critters on counters & tables and for the most part, there's no problems with it.

I'm far more grossed out though by babies and purses being on food prep and serving areas. They're far dirtier than any animal's paws.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 3:42PM
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OMG Sue!! That is just Tooooo funny (and cute)!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Sue - That is funny!!! Your cat looks like my sister's (also Sue) cat called Tommy Girl.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 4:40PM
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cynic, I agree about the purses. I know a lot of people who put their purses on the floor of the car, on the floor in public bathrooms, on the floor in restaurants, on the ground, etc.

Then they take that same purse and plop it on the table or counter where they eat and prepare food and I think "why don't they just take their shoes off and stick them in the middle of the counter, they've been in many of the same places".


    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 7:59PM
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My purse stays on the floor from now on! I get so annoyed when the stall in the bathroom has no place to hang your bag.

My MIL had a Doberman and she used to say that the only spot that didn't have hair in the house was the inside of the eggs.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Cat hair on your food? Just think of it as garnish.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 8:18AM
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I have some personal issues--who doesn't?--but I am pretty scarred. The emotional comfort and the simple diversion I receive from my pets is far better than any prescription drug. I think I let my cats do almost anything they please because I am so grateful to them for being so good for me. I have never caught any illness from my cats or dogs and as long as I don't get sick from them, other than allergies, I will continue to be lax about disciplining them. If I cook for someone else, which is done only rarely, I am scrupulously clean. After all, I am a terrible germ freak when it comes to other people and their pets.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 9:32AM
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Jim - your comment made me laugh so hard my cats came running to see what was up!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 11:13AM
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April said everything that I wanted to say! For me, it's more about the owner's cleanliness than the cat(s) hair. I have a friend with just one cat and I would not want to eat at her house.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 3:13PM
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I've had cats and I have a dog, I have friends with both. I have never in my life found a pet hair in my food. Don't people know about Roombas and Swiffers?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 3:32PM
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The Princess has Italian grandparents on Dave's side,...
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I just had a tooth extracted - and I have a very sore...
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