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Because of various circumstances, two of them my fault, we have three cats. I do not like cats because they have hair and I do not like hair on my furniture and on my floor and on my clothes and especially in my bed and in my eyes. Or in a semi-digested form anywhere in my house, several times a week, no matter what hairball remedies we try (the most likely remedy, brushing them, is out of the question because I’ve grown attached to the skin and muscle on my hands and arms). If they didn’t shed and didn’t puke, they’d be more than welcome, but they do, so they aren’t. I’ve tried various ways to keep them off of the furniture, but swearing loudly works just for the short term. They don’t commit to a favorite spot, so every time I think I have it figured out and put something down to contain the hair when they lie there, within a few days they’ll realize that I’ve discovered their little secret and so, of course, that spot has been forever destroyed as a favorite spot.

Instead, I resort to barriers. An old baby gate keeps them out of the room I’m sitting in so they don’t get hair and other cat detritus inside all of the machines humming and whirring in here (they can’t be bothered to jump over it, although they could) and, while everyone else curses the barrier, it forces me to high-step about 200 times a day to get in and out of the room, so I intend to always leave it up as another simple way to incorporate exercise into my everyday routine. I put the two barriers in the photo above on the chair this cat has decided to occupy, instead of the one next to it, the one with the nice soft fake lambswool throw designed to collect cat hair, the newest abandoned favorite spot. This is the most popular chair in the house, so anyone who sits there will be covered in cat hair if I allow this cat to stay. Because the cats jump on the chairs from the front, and because they are fat and apathetic, they won’t bother to jump up when something, like a box of Kleenex, is in the way. Until now, when it appears that this one has finally figured out that a Kleenex box is not a barrier, but one side of a cozy little fort.