Sunday, February 28, 2016


We took the extraordinary step of going to look at cats yesterday. The therapist says we should get a cat: that the right cat would be a comfort to the entire household, since all 3 of us are in some high-energy emotional stuff. She's probably right.

We didn't have pets growing up. The reasons varied--"dogs are too messy," "parent X is allergic to cats" (which was a lie to cover "parent X doesn't want a cat")--but came down to parents already having 3 boys and being at the ends of their ropes and unwilling to take anything else on.

I later learned, at a sleepover at my friend Vinnie's house, that I was actually allergic to cats, starting with the itching in the nose and ears, leading to the runny nose, constant sneezing, watering eyes, and I think once I've been exposed for enough hours that it affected my breathing. I have re-tested it periodically, and I've never grown out of it, and ever since dating a woman with cats in 2004, I just keep little bottles of 24-hour Claritin everywhere. I don't know if Claritin keeps working if you take it every day for years, and while it is renowned for its lack of drug interactions, I am taking several other drugs right now.

(Anna used to be allergic, but we went to two shelters, and she was fine. My ears itched and I sneezed once.)

People actively work on treatments for cat allergy. It's hard to imagine there's enough allergic people who want cats to make a real market, but a strong allergy could be a serious thing for people who already have asthma (and friends or family with cats).

There's a desensitization routine, which takes about 100 individual shots. But! There's a company starting a Phase III trial (with actual humans, the last testing step before FDA approval) and this one is only 4 shots, each a month apart, and the effect claims to last at least 2 years.

We made friends with a very nice, introvert-yet-snuggly cat. We'll have to see.

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