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June 17, 2018


Lovely post, Doc, and I'm so sorry you've had to say goodbye to Sneakers.

You may know this, and/or it may not be a palatable suggestion, but the folks at www.balloon-juice.com are obsessed with and very knowledgeable about pets. If I had a question like yours about how to figure out if a possible pet is one your allergies will ignore, BJ is the first place I'd go with it. It might be worth writing to them -- they have a contact-the-front-pagers link -- and asking someone to put the question to their commenters. I have seen them chip in to fund transportation for a dog that John Cole rescued to be moved from West Virginia to (IIRC) Michigan. They seem to routinely held connect pets that need new homes with people who can provide them. Etc.

Good luck finding some new buddies.

Condolences, Dr. S.
We still miss the rescue cat Siamese that used to go for walks with us, and another that would sit on your shoulder as you brushed your teeth...

The hypoallergenic cat is a tough ask, so fate smiled on you with Sneakers:

Thanks for the post and I'm sorry about Sneakers. I've got 10 mins between classes and I feel like I can write about this without someone asking me a question that I feel I have to answer _right now_. So happy to babble about this.

Idly wondering if you try to get some shedded hair for basically an allergy test, but I see here

that the hair is not an allergen, it is other stuff. There are a number of suggestions here which could alleviate it, but not much help if the pet really hits your immune system.

Still, it's a good sign that you aren't having any (or relatively unnoticable) reactions given that Sprog #1 is volunteering at the shelter.

Here in Japan in my neighborhood, people have all sorts of dogs and these articles detail that a bit more.


Unfortunately, both articles carry that 'those crazy Japanese' rhetoric, and seem to imply that Japanese are making some sort of decision of pet or child. If that were the case, the government could simply outlaw having pets and people would be forced to procreate to entertain themselves, I suppose. So I'd turn the last question on its head and say that I suspect it is 'easier' to deal with because at least we feel some measure of control, whereas with a child, there's a lot less. Obviously, having pets is something that happens in developed countries, and it seems that people in developed countries are, in a sense, demanding that they have more control over their lives. I may be overthinking this though.

so sorry. bleh.

i still haven't sat in the seat i was in when our Tricksey passed away, on my lap, last September. can't even really look at it.

she's under a big oak tree, in the woods just down the hill from the house, with a white rock i engraved with a 't'.

allergies... my understanding, might be a folk tale, is that if you get a cat when it's a kitten then you will grow accustomed to its dander as it grows (and makes more), and lessen your allergic reaction.

My condolences too, Doc S. I still think often of my blue Burmese, Ubasti (a slightly incorrect varient of the name Bastet), who I inherited from one of my great loves when he left the country. She was 11 or 12 when I got her although I'd known her most of her life, and she too lived to 18.5. A beautiful and loving creature, dead these many years now but not forgotten. I am probably more of a dog person than a cat person, but they are all living creatures and particularly lovely ones at that. I hope your next cat brings you joy and no allergies.

I usually react to a new cat, mostly with an itch and a little rash, no breathing issues. Then after a couple of days, it goes away. So far. Maybe you could have Sprog bring a cat out to your car, and be with the cat there... if no reaction after 30 minutes or an hour, give him/her a try.

Over the past 40 years we have had nearly 20 rescue cats, usually 2-4 at a time. Only 2 right now. Some have been remarkably affectionate. A pair of old toms would compete to sneak into bed to lie across my bald pate at night, to be warm, it worked for both of us! I really miss Rufus and Harvey, they were so sweet, Rufus would walk around the farm with us, just to see what was out there.

Best of luck finding a cat that doesn't set you off. Perhaps an allergist could help with it?

So sorry about Sneakers.

My son's beautiful kitty, Chase, passed on last year. She was 19 as well.

He chose her from a shelter when he was eight years old.

I could measure my life, at least the past 47 years of it, in cats.

Since high school, approximately, I'm three cats old.

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.

As to dealing with their loss, da Nile is indeed a river in Egypt, but the swimming, in it's deeper eddies, can be restorative.

Do the backstroke.

I love the idea ..... raised by GftNC ...... of lovers leaving us in possession their pet cat as we stand on a jetty waving goodbye forlornly while their ship disappears over the horizon.

I imagine, perhaps as a New Yorker cartoon, once the ship is out of sight, the cat itself looking up at us and saying: "We'll get over him (or her) in time, I dare say. Besides, I never really like him. I'm more of a cat person myself."

The French Lieutenant's Kitty.


Thank you for the suggestion about Balloon Juice! They've suggested that I go to Petsmart, which has rescue animals but will be a less allergenic environment than a shelter. They also have a room where I can meet a cat one-on-one to evaluate how much I react to it.

Even better, I've now been reminded that there's a rescue org. in my area that ONLY does fosters, so I would meet cats only in homes where they've been living. This will be the best choice, I think.

I am very sorry for your sadness at this time. He was a lucky cat to be loved by your family.

I don't konw the answer to the first question you ask, but I have an answer to the second one, an answer that applies to me: I get more out of the love than I suffer from the loss. NOt that the loss doesn't hurt like hell. I just think that for me the bigger loss would be to not have loved my animal friends at all. I miss them, but my life would have been incomplete and inadequate without them.

I am supposed to be allergic to cats. My doctor said I was. I had four cats at the time. I started getting shots which the nurse said was basically essence of vaccum cleaner bag. The idea was to cure othe allergy by shooting me full of cat dander. I dont konw if this is normal treatment. At any rate I stopped taking the time to get the shots since Ithought that I was getting plenty of dander from my four cats. I have no cats now but I voluteer weekly at a cat sanctuary. It takesa bout five minutes of exposure to give my a head ache and clogged sinuses. But I also noticed that after an hour or so of exposure, the sympotoms recede. So I gues I need more cats in my life.

I suspect that people vary a lot in how allergies affect us.

What a sweet and sad post, Dr. Science. I'm sorry to hear about your credential, but I'm very happy you gave him a great home. I hope you find your hypoallergenic kitty soon.

I suspect that people vary a lot in how allergies affect us.

Undoubtedly true.
I have a mildish cat allergy; another family member reacts fairly severely to the same animals.

It takesa bout five minutes of exposure to give my a head ache and clogged sinuses. But I also noticed that after an hour or so of exposure, the sympotoms recede.

I used to experience a similar thing, but on a longer time scale. I would visit my mother in Phoenix, where she had a couple of cats. It would take a day or two for me to react, but after three or four days it would mostly go away. I was much younger then, so I don't know what would happen now. (Not that I'd be staying at Mom's place at this point, anyway).

Just got mine back. She is 16 and was wasting away with a liver related problem. She just quit eating and I took her in. Nothing obvious so we tried antibiotics which mostly cured the liver problem but did not get her eating and the wasting continued. Tried a drug called Prednisolone to help with the after effects of the liver problem and she is eating now, after over 2 months of nothing.

I think I got her back. she's actually gaining weight. ;)

I have to point out that you never know how long someone is going to live. And if you live long enough, you get to an age where even your children are old. You are going to face this problem and it's not all that different. If you love someone, you love them, cats, dogs, kids, even pet rats.

And we all lose our parents. Unless they lose us.

I am very old, and I have a lot of children, both born and adopted,(and pets). Several of my children have died and several more I have lost to some form of mental illness. To love is to lose, eventually.

Dr. Science,

Thanks for your moving post, and my belated condolences.

And thanks, liberal japonicus, for putting some order to the comments section. It had become quite an unlikeable place, and commenting was no more fun.

So sorry to hear about Sneakers. We had to euthanize one of our girls last year--cancer. Even when you know what's coming it's really hard losing a member of the household.

A few years back we were fostering a rescued feral kitten and our neighbor expressed an interest but "was allergic to some cats" on an apparently random basis. We loaned her the kitten for a day. They already had one cat and so knew what they were doing pet-wise. No reaction = instant home for homeless kitten.

Check your local Craigslist for pets that need new homes due to relocation or deceased owners. Most of those folks will understand that you need to rub the cat on your face before you know if he or she can come live with you, and there won't be the overwhelming environment of a shelter.

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