Mold Killed My Cat
by Dena Safer
Right before Christmas, my cat Bengy died. She’d been sick for months with respiratory problems and asthma. I spent almost $900 at the vet, trying to find out what was causing her problems and trying to treat them but nothing seemed to work. The vet said he’d never seen a cat with such severe asthma and he didn’t know what caused it.
I was living in a basement apartment then and I’d lived there for almost two years. Bengy had seemed perfectly healthy when I moved in and she seemed fine for the first year and a half that we lived there. I often found small amounts of slimy black mold in the bathroom, but I just cleaned it up with bleach and water. I thought I’d gotten it all and it never occurred to me that it could be causing a problem.
After Bengy died, though, I was cleaning out a closet and when I moved some boxes, I saw black mold all over the back of the boxes, the wall behind the boxes, and the floor under the boxes. I had no idea there was that much mold in my apartment and I immediately wondered if that might have been what made Bengy so sick. I called the vet the next day and asked and he said he couldn’t say for sure but it was definitely possible.
Well, about the same time I found all the mold in my closet, I adopted a new kitten. Malachi was a tiny black kitten that had been a stray. I took him to the vet as soon as I adopted him and the vet said he was in good health. However, within just a couple of weeks, he started having symptoms like Bengy had.
I had done my best to clean up all the mold I found in the closet but since then I’ve read that mold can get into the walls and under the floors and can be almost impossible to spot and clean up. Professionals have special tests for mold and special tools and know how to find all the hidden mold, but I’m sure I missed some.
When Malachi started getting sick, I just panicked. I was so scared he was going to die like Bengy had. My landlord didn’t seem concerned about the mold and didn’t want to have a professional come in and take care of it, so I decided to move. I know I shouldn’t have had to move, the landlord should have gotten the mold all cleaned up, but I didn’t want to take the time to try to fight with him about it. I just wanted to live someplace that was safe for me and for Malachi.
After we moved, Malachi’s symptoms cleared up almost right away. I’m still really sad and angry about losing Bengy, though. I just had no idea mold could make a cat that sick.