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Cat allergy rant...

dtbmnec
July 8th, 2006, 01:43 AM
I seem to have a cat allergy but I'm not sure yet. Nothing can be done for a few months so I guess I'm just ranting and stuff and maybe hoping that someone can come up with some brilliant plan I haven't thought of. Right now I'm trying not to find the nearest solid object and bashing my head off it in frustration.....Arrrrrrg

Symptoms: my right eye is super itchy and only my right eye; I'm sniffly and sneezy as well (more than what my other seasonal allergies could cause)

For the cat allergy:

1) For the past three weeks I've had an itchy right eye (which has never been a symptom of my seasonal allergies) and it comes and it goes (one day it'll be super itchy and the next three I'm fine)
2) Stuffy/sneezy/runny nose that goes above and beyond what I normally would have for seasonal allergies (and normally I only have allergies in the spring not in the middle of summer)
3) Aforementioned symptoms have only appeared after having Leo AND Pawz for a few weeks
4) Whenever I leave the house for a few hours or more it gets better
5) I hit the vet's today with Leo for his third set of shots and my eye flared up like you wouldn't believe!

Against it being a cat allergy:

1) The itchy eye is just one, my right eye (which I also believe is my weaker eye when I wear glasses) and most allergies would affect both eyes
2) I have lived with a cat for the past year and a bit and have been around cats consistently for at least a year and a half without any of these effects
3) These symptoms only occured after I moved out of the place I was at and in with some furniture I was not used to. (therefore maybe the walls are moldy or something or the chair I'm not used to has so much grime and other stuff on it that I'm allergic to something in the grime instead of the actual cat dander)
4) It could have been the litter I was using because as I had described it to friends "it was dustier than the Sahara in the middle of a sandstorm" so maybe that got into my eye and irritated it. I've since changed the litter (to Maxx Cat from the Arm and Hammer flushable stuff that cost me an arm and a leg)
5) I could be living near another type of plant or something that for whatever reason is causing my itchy eye/sniffly/sneezy/congested nose.

August 1st I have a doctor's appointment so I can go see him to get a referral to an allergist so nothing can actually be done until then. I went to the emerg ward at the local hospital (thinking they might have better trained "eye" staff there than a local clinic which they did) and they were kinda confused themselves on what it would be; logically if it was an allergy it would affect both eyes not the one and therefore it might be pink eye but I wasn't having the gunk in the morning when I wake up so it shouldn't be that.

I'm probably worrying for nothing but....I don't want to give up my cats and I would like to say that it isn't an option, but I am a college student already in debt up to my eyeballs and everything so far hadn't led me to believe that I had an animal allergy (had I an inkling then I wouldnt' have gotten the cats). I mean of course I want to pursue all other options (rampant cleaning of everything, shampooing the cats every week, allergy shot, allergy medicine, etc.) but if nothing works.....well I don't have a lot of choice right? And if the allergy shot works but its going to cost me $100/month or somethign crazy like that....I just can't afford that....I don't know what OHIP covers and what it doesn't....I don't know what my mom's insurance plan covers either (though I'm only eligible for that for the next year I'm in school then even that's over!)

Arrrg. I dunno....I mean I don't want to give up the cats (and because they're black I KNOW that they won't find homes if I give them to the SPCA) but I also realistically can't live with one eye itchy like crazy for the next fifteen years! I mean if they were cute little tabbies or something I'd be a little less worried but Leo is all black and would probably immediately be put down and Pawz would have to go back to the shelter (thankfully a no-kill but even so). If I gave up the cats I'd feel like I was just "giving up" and not being responsible since I shouldn't have taken them in the first place (for other reasons let alone an allergy I hadn't suspected). I love my cats and dammit I put money into them! A lot of money (which I don't mind but giving up the cats and having it all go to "waste" is kind of a bitter thought). I mean Leo I'd have to adopt out myself because Pawz can just go back to the shelter. Leo's going to be a pain to adopt out because of his coloring and I would hate to think he'd gone to a family who doesn't like his color or doesn't treat him right or doesn't play with him.

I've heard quite good things about the allergy shots: my friend's mom has a few cats and she's allergic but has been taking the shot and she's fine and so have quite a few other people stated this (even here on the forums) HOWEVER my dad took the shot for some other allergies (ragweed I think) and no matter how long he took it and how many times he got poked it STILL didn't work (of course that was several years ago in and of itself....heck more than several almost ten!). If the allergy shot doesn't work then that also means that I can't have any cats or dogs or anything like that at home to care for (which would really really suck).

I don't know how much sense all that made....The gist of it (for those of you who don't want to labor through all that) is this: I might have a cat allergy and while I am seeking help for it I'm trying to think of exactly what I'm going to have to do and where to draw the line for financially realistic expectations allll the while trying not to go crazy with worry.

Thoughts? Opinions? Calming words of happiness? anyone?

Megan

P.S. I know I talk alot about the financial aspect but that's what primarily worries me. I have incredible debts for my schooling and all that to pay back and if anything happens to one or the other cat I have no money to fall back on. I'm not trying to come across as being only interested in the money but if say the allergy shot has only a 5% likelyhood of helping me and its gonna cost me $50/month and I'm gonna have to take it every month, I just can't do it whereas if it was 95% sure of helping me then I'd take it and run. I know my own financial limitations and already they are strained however there's also nothing I can really do about it until I get out of school (this time next year) and until I get a job. I'm not all about money (if I was I'd be feeding them grocery store brand food not the Nutro/Authority I do now....I refuse to pay for the 3 oz kitten Nutro food when THAT is the same price as an equivalent "store" brand Authority 7 oz can....I checked the ingredients and they are extremely similar) and I love and care for them very much and every time I see a kitten on here or at the petstore I still want to take them home and care for them!

Of course when I win the 12 million dollar Lotto prize this all won't be a problem (I gamble like that on VERY few occassions and I did actually buy a ticket just for the heck of it....if I win and you hear about some 21 year old dying right afterwards that'll be me! :p )

glasslass
July 8th, 2006, 03:22 AM
For years I was allergic to cats. If I touched one and then touched my face, same thing, I had itchy and watery eyes and runny nose. I found taking an over the counter antihistimine helped alot. I avoided cats. After several years of no contact with cats, Puss-Puss (RIP) showed up at our door, crying and hungry, and we built her a little cathouse for outside, thinking it would limit my contact with her. After a few days, I discovered I could pet her and it didn't bother me. I evidently "grew out of it" somewhere along the line. After that, she had the run of the house. She'd sleep on my pillow, right above my head with her little nose pushed into my hair. I never regained my allergy. I don't know how I got over it, but I haven't been bothered with it since. There's hope.

mastifflover
July 8th, 2006, 06:56 AM
I grew up with dogs but cats always bothered me I would get itchy and eyes water and itch. This went on for years my best friend is a cat person. I now house sit for her and take care of the cats Tarzan cuddles with me and gives me head butts and none of it bothers me unless they lick me that will make me itch but other than that nothing else. They say your body changes every 7 years I don't know if it is an old wives tale or not but I have noticed things that once bothered me don't anymore and for a short time I developed hayfever but that has also disappeared. I think the exposure to the cats actually helped my body build a resistance to whatever it is about cats that bothered me. I know can play with them and am considering getting one Bud loves them he house sits with me and really likes the cats unfortunately only Tarzan does not hate him. I think allergy shots are covered by ohip they use to be

Stacer
July 8th, 2006, 08:29 AM
If it is allergies, do what you said about cleaning everything. The best would be if you have hardwood floors. I have bought Arm and Hammer carpet allergen reducer and sprinkled then vaccuumed, I don't know if it works as I don't have allergies, but my sister inlaw does and she doesn't seem to be affected by the cats when she visits. I don't think that the cats would appreciate weekly baths:D

Here's some stuff from a website I found:

1.No more cats sleeping on the bed.
Sorry, this is a small price to pay for allergy relief. If you get your symptoms under control by all means invite them back, but give yourself a break while you are trying to abate your symptoms.

2. Keep them out of the bedroom altogether.
Close the bedroom door to try and keep the cat allergen down in the bedroom. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary from allergens. So tempt your cats to sleep elsewhere during the day.

3. Wash all bedding in 140-degree hot water at least twice monthly.
This eliminates both dust mite and cat allergen (because we know some of you will still let them sneak up on the bed every now and then).

4. Use HEPA air filters in rooms where your cats frequent.
Since cat allergen is so difficult to remove, a good HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) air purifier is essential for cleaning the air in your home. HEPA air purifiers do require continued filter replacement, but when push comes to shove and you are in need of allergy relief, a good HEPA filter will do it for you.

5. Vacuum up cat allergen with a high grade HEPA vacuum cleaner twice weekly.
Vacuum walls, carpet, flooring, chairs, and furniture...everywhere. Use the hand tools on the vacuum. Cat allergen particles are very small and invasive so you really have to do a thorough job. Good hand tools on your vacuum cleaner are the answer here. Also, installing a central vacuum will help pick up the rest.

6. Use a vapor steam cleaner to clean your home.
In addition to vacuuming, vapor steam cleaners are now proven by research to be extremely helpful in killing off the cat proteins/dander, which are embedded in your carpets and upholstery. Steam cleaners provide a chemical-free way of cleaning and killing dust mites, bacteria, mold spores and cat allergen.

7.Wash your hands immediately after petting your cat and do not rub your eyes.
Rubbing your eyes can result in itchy eyes for hours. Use a strong anti-bacterial soap to avoid this problem.

8. Clean your cat.
Some people wash their cats to reduce the amount of cat allergen that is released from their cat into the air, but research seems to be conflicting about its effectiveness. Allerpet, a well-known brand of liquid that reduces cat allergen in the air, can be applied to your cats' coat and is available from your local veterinarian. Alternatively, you can get a micro fiber cloth and just damp rub down the cats' coats to rid it of visible dander. The majority of cats would prefer this to the highly dreaded bath.

9. Confine your cats to one area of the house.
I know this will be difficult for some people but this at least controls the cat allergens to a separate place where you can concentrate your air purifier and cleaning efforts.

10. You DO NOT have to get rid of your CAT!
If you do a good job with step numbers 1-9, your cat allergies should be significantly decreased. Keeping a cat when you have allergies takes a concerted effort, and is only for those who are nutty enough about their cats (like us), to go to all this trouble.

Hope some of these tips can help you. Good luck:fingerscr

CyberKitten
July 8th, 2006, 12:39 PM
I just recently developed an allergy to pet dander. I could hardly believe it - I am aswsuming it is a side effect of chemo but even my medical background does not allow me the luxury of knowing for certain. The effects were very nasty headaches, a very stufed nose, neuralgia like symptoms and runny, red and sore eyes - which I'd previously attributed to sinus.

I never once considered abandonning my babies. I would learn to live with it. I am taking allergy meds - which help somewhay but not entirely. My cats still sleep with me and YY likes to cuddle and I am not stopping that!! And she loves to place her paw on my face in the morning - it is her way of saying affectionaly "time to get up".

I hope it is temporary but if it is not, I will work around it. All the ideas suggested are good. I bathe my Sphynx kitties often - and YY now and then tho she is a loud meezer who is not keen on that so it is less often. Sphynx kitties need baths all the time anyway since their skin becomes oily. I have a housekeepr who comes more ferquently now to vaccum.

Talk to your doctor and get a referral to an allergy specialist or a respirologist. Even a good pharmacist can recommend some good OTC meds (Claritin and its generic equivs are good) but it is best to see a doctor. I am taking a steroid based compound for mine. (The biochemist in me figures the chemo did something to my DNA molecules and thus the allergy? or it could be just a fluke of timing?)

Whatever you do, please do not abanndon your cats!!!! It is not necessary!

dtbmnec
July 8th, 2006, 12:57 PM
Well I wasn't alll that serious about the bath thing for the cats....I do still like having my limbs you know :p

I do have hardwood flooring and only a few carpets in the house (bath mats, front door, sink to stand on, litter "catcher" at entrance to box) so that I know will help. My mom and dad also want to give me this little vacuum that they say isn't really good on carpeting but great on the hard floor. I'm sure it'll help too (and I'll finally be rid of all that litter they STILL seem to track outside of the little carpet thing). I'm already keeping them out of the bedroom (*sigh* there goes the little airflow in the house though....oh well) and so far its bit better in there. I don't know about washing my bed sheets etc. in 140 degree water because I get to use the apartment washers (which have like three settings: colors and white, semi-perm press, and perm press) and I always use the one that's most appropriate (which only happens to be colors and whites :p). I'll have to find how much one of those air purifiers are and budget for that.

I almost laughed when they told me to confine the cats to an area of the home....other than kicking them out of the bedroom and *maybe* bathroom there really isn't any other way of confining them.....the joys of a one bedroom apartment!

I'm gonna have one hell of a fight on my hands with my family though. The reigning opinion is that because its "all but obvious" that the cats are the issue that I should have to give them up, even if the other preventative measures work! Having the two cats never sat well with my family, in fact they hated the entire idea (citing financial reasons)!

The other thing I had noticed was that these symptoms hadn't appeared until AFTER I got Pawz. Well Pawz is in perfect health and all that so there's no real reason for that but maybe its his "lineage" causing it? I mean maybe his great grandmother was a long hair cat and genetically he's got some of that in him and therefore that's what I"m allergic to? I mean of course the only way I could test that theory would be to live without Pawz for a few weeks and see if it got better or not and while I do have friends who would gladly take care of him for that length of time they can't by what their landlord is saying to them. I can't board him for that long without bankrupting myself either.

Of course if I could have boarded them somewhere I"d have tried that earlier to see if the symptoms cleared up or not! If they didn't clear up then it couldn't be the cats (house maybe or something else I"m allergic to that only grows in great numbers in Hamilton) but if they did clear up then it is the cats.

The only other thing that I could possibly think of that it could be would be the air in Hamilton (we have SMOG alerts in the dead of winter). It could just be that my body's finally given up the fight against all the pollutants or something.

CK: The ONLY reason why I would abandon them would be if everything else I have tried doesn't work at all (I've still got it and we know for sure that it is the cats causing it). If there isn't any improvement in doing anything (shots, cleaning like a madwoman, etc.) then I would consider it.

I can deal with the runny nose (my boyfriend already says that I fuel the Kleenex business and it wouldn't be fair to let them down now would it? :p) its just the eye thing I'm concerned about. Even that in and of itself has no rhyme or reason to it! I mean I can sit here and pet both cats without issues and then two days later I get the eye itch. Doesn't happen after I pet them, doesnt' happen after I nuzzle them (oh do they love that!), doesn't happen when they do their cute headbutting thing....it just happens randomly. Right now it seems to be linked to the cats but it could just as well be the house or the location or maybe something leaking in from the other apartments!

Bah! Thanks for listening....I just had to get this off my chest before my brain exploded or something.....and it is sooooooo frustrating that I can't actually do anything yet!

Megan

jawert1
July 8th, 2006, 02:08 PM
My question would be do you wear contacts when you're not wearing your glasses? If so, it could be your right lens has something in it, causing itch and goo in your right eye only. My first pair of lenses, only my left ever had an issue and it turned out to be a fungal thing (not like what's sweeping through right now) that got into my left lens and wouldn't leave. A new pair fixed it right up, as well as antifungal/antibiotic drops from my eye dr. I live with pet allergies, and have done so for my entire adult life, as well as outdoor/indoor allergies to pollen and mold/dust. It is manageable, though sometimes worse than others, and I'm on a regular prescription med that keeps me breathing, and an inhaler on days where the tablet just isn't enough. I hope you can figure out the cause of this soon, and the solution winds up being simple and not involving getting rid of your kitties. I would seriously look more into an eye dr. though, since it's just one eye and most allergies will affect both. :fingerscr

Esaunders
July 8th, 2006, 08:49 PM
A couple things to consider...

Sometimes the allergies are related to the sex of the cat ... I am visibly more allergic to male cats than female cats. Unfixed males cause more reaction than fixed males. Wierd, I know, but proven time and time again. Thankfully the fixed male that I have is a lucky exception, except for if he rubs me with his nose or licks my skin.


If you need to bath the cats to minimize the cat allergies, Ren's Pet depot has a couple useful tools to help.

If the cat has claws ... they sell a mesh wash bag with a hole that the cat's head goes though and zips up around the neck witha drawstring at the bottom. Its THE funniest sight ever but it will save your arms.

If the cat is more trustworthy or declawed (not advocating just acknowledging the possibility...) they sell a harness that attaches to the tub wall with a 4" industrial suction cup. At least it would hold him still.

dtbmnec
July 9th, 2006, 03:24 PM
Jawert: No I don't wear contacts....that requires being able to afford them lol Like I said, I can deal with the sniffy nose and all that but I don't want to take chances with my eyes. There are a few things on my body I don't mess with and my eyes are one of them. I'm not going to give them up just because I have a sniffly nose but I will if they start messing with things like my vision.

I don't WANT to give them up and I would feel absolutely terrible about it and I feel worse knowing that if I have to give them up because of severe allergic reaction then I won't be able to get another animal at all. Trust me giving up the cats is what I would do as a last resort ONLY.

Esaunders: Hmmm well the boys are going in for their neutering at the end of August (no matter what the vet says). I want to do them then because they're old enough that they should be ok with the anathesia but not old enough to even think about spraying. The vet doesn't really like doing it that early (they like to do it at six months) but I want to be able to keep an eye on them to make sure everything is ok and I don't want to have to rush from school to the vet with barely any time at all (not to mention trying to fit the vet appt in with my work schedule too). So maybe it'll improve after they're neutered. Hehehe and envisioning that bag is just......wow.....oh my poor kitties.

My eye acted up the other day again and I put in one of the drops that was prescribed to me for my eye. OMG the PAIN! I actually had to wash out the eye drop it hurt so much. It made the irritation TEN times worse! I am debating getting in to see an eye doctor, though I still want to go see that allergist so I know for sure if I am allergic to cats (and maybe find out anything else I'm allergic to as well). I know that certain things with the eye doctor is covered under mom's insurance but I'm gonna have to find out what....I can't afford a non-covered visit.

I don't know what is going on with it! I hate this waiting game thing so frustrating! I guess this is just more evidence that my body hates me :p

Megan

Prin
July 9th, 2006, 10:14 PM
lol you have to put the drops in before your eye gets itchy. I did the same thing- I'd wait till I couldn't take it anymore and head for the drops and they KILLED. But if you put them in at the first sign of itchiness...

I have to say though, right now is grass pollen season, and I'm sitting here with my right eye itching like madness (too lazy to get a reactine). You can't predict when or where the grass pollen will hit you. I mean, sure, if you're in a field of long grass, you'll flare up, but otherwise in the city, there are just these inconsistent drifts that hit you in waves. It's annoying because I don't want to take pills for a whole day when I only get waves of super allergies... But I don't want to be miserable either... I only got these allergies two summers ago (very suddenly). Before that I wasn't allergic to anything environmental.

All that to say, might be grass (or some other pollen) and not the kitties at all.
(spring is tree pollen, summer- may to august- is grass season)

LibbyP
July 9th, 2006, 11:07 PM
If you go to an allergist and it comes up that you are allergic to cats, I can tell you right now what the Dr is going to tell you - to get rid of your pets! And if you tell the Dr that that's not an option they'll say - then don't replace them when they go, allergies are a funny thing some people grow into them and some grow out, I didn't have any allergies till I turned 16yrs and started volunteering in a shelter, now my daughter has sever allergies and she's only 4yrs the Dr is going to test her again in a year to see if anything has changed, like Prin said put the drops in before your eye is irritated, there are alot of over the counter meds that should be taken on a daily basis whether you are sniffly or not, usually your family Dr has to refer you to an allergist and the wait can be really really long, keep the kitties of the bedroom at all times. Good luck I have my :fingerscr for all of you

LM1313
July 10th, 2006, 12:04 AM
Hopefully it's not the cats, but something else. I have an allergy, but I don't know to what. It will strike at random times . . . indoors, outdoors, wherever, one or both of my eyes will start watering like crazy!

dtbmnec
July 19th, 2006, 12:32 PM
Mwahahahahaha

I am winning!!! Winning I tell you!!!!

I Febreezed the heck out of my house and I'm on this allegra stuff (it even says it helps with pet allergies) and well I'm a little sniffly/stuffy but NO WHERE NEAR what I was! So whether or not its the cats or some random other allergy or what my nose is thanking me profusely at the moment! I woke up this morning all sniffly and stuffy (how I can be both at the same time I haven't quite figured out yet but hey that's me!) and I had one of the Allegras and less than an hour later the sniffly and stuffy was down to nearly zip! *does a happy dance*

To be truly honest it IS a little toooo early to tell but I haven't felt this clear in a while (and now because I'm happy my nose is acting up a bit as I type this....bah!). I've only been using the Allegra for about a day or so. I have high hopes though (I used reactine and it left me quite sniffly....Aerius did NOTHING....Benadryl just didn't do what I wanted) and after using almost every other bloody allergy med on the planet (or well that I have access to anyway) I think I found it!!! Funny part was it was my first thought to take it but Mom convinced me otherwise (she wanted me to try reactine so at least if it didn't do anything for me it would do something for her....which makes sense).

On the other hand....it could just be the Febreeze.....lol My question is this: Does anyone know of something like Febreeze that does kill/eradicate/mutate/whatever pet allergen? or allergen in general? I mean those bottles are 7 bucks a shot and I'm already down to half of it. Either we have that much furniture or I've been more mad and frustrated the last few weeks than I thought (practically an obsessive cleaner when I'm in either mood).

On the other other hand it could have been something that was blooming the last month or so outside my window or somethign too. Bah. Either way, I'm happy.

My eye hasn't been too too bad but I did notice that when I was off any allergy med that the other eye would act up a bit too. Strange that...and since my fateful day of burning my eye out (hey its what it felt like!) my eye hasn't been anywhere near as bad. I haven't put any more drops in and I haven't changed anything else so I don't know. Maybe it was a combo of the allergies and something else that the burning drop of doom killed.

I'm still gonna go to the allergist just to see what I AM allergic to. I mean if it isn't the cats then its something else in the house which could be bad (this is an older building).

I think that about covers it.... :) YAY!!!!

Megan

P.S. As to keeping the kitties out of the bedroom? Easier said than done. The door closes but doesn't "lock" (really bad paint job and stupid construction) and the kitties have discovered that if they shoulderbutt the door enough it'll open. *sigh*

Esaunders
August 7th, 2006, 01:59 PM
I found the links to the bathing equipment I mentioned.

If you like the skin on your arms:
http://www.renspets.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=rpd&Product_Code=3305393&Category_Code=tubaccess

If you don't like the skin on your arms:
http://www.renspets.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=rpd&Product_Code=4400027&Category_Code=tubaccess

Enjoy

Maya
August 7th, 2006, 07:43 PM
I was a bit allergic to my cat then after he died and I moved to an older building my allergies got much worse, I think it is second hand smoke mold and dust that are the real offenders now. Anyway this article was interesting so thought I would share :) Good luck.

http://messybeast.com/allergy.htm

[edit] To add

Quote
"Of course if I could have boarded them somewhere I"d have tried that earlier to see if the symptoms cleared up or not! If they didn't clear up then it couldn't be the cats (house maybe or something else I"m allergic to that only grows in great numbers in Hamilton) but if they did clear up then it is the cats."

Was also reading, sorry can't find it now, an article saying it's really difficult to get rid of the cat allergy protien after cats are gone so you could still have symptoms for a long time afterwards, it mentioned you might need to re-carpet and get rid of furniture etc... That sounds drastic though so i'm not sure if it is true but if it is than boarding kitties to see if they were the problem might not have worked anyway:P

dtbmnec
August 8th, 2006, 12:32 AM
Update: I am taking Allegra and the eye hasn't really acted up recently....its still kind gooey but not as much as it was....the only thing that had changed (besides weather like stuff) was the fact that I (swear) burned my eye with that damn allergen drop stuff the nurse gave me....


In September I'm going to see an allergist so I soon will know all. Since the eye hasn't acted up since Summer "officially" arrived I'm wondering if maybe it was more of a seasonal deal than anything else. The place is older (the corner of the other building is actually "held together" by metal plating/siding) and while it is now a non-smoking building and while I've not had any issues with that either I"m sure at one point it was a smoking building too. The allegra seems to really help the allergies themselves (except when I forget to take it...then I really feel the difference) and it just cruds out on me when its raining out (mom uses reactine and her seasonal allergies do the same when its raining too so I suppose that's normal).

Megan

P.S. the kitties are doing well....still crazy....still psycho...they love tuna, salmon, and sleeping in the bathroom sink (both do it now not just Pawz). They're starting to get up on the counters though and I'm gonna have to get out the sticky tape or something....either that or beat the boyfriend into submission to do the dishes on a regular basis...