When I was in 7th or 8th grade, I wanted to get a dog. By this point, I’d had a pet rat. And I think my brother and I briefly had a goldfish. But I wanted an animal who would be a companion. A pet to pet and cuddle with. A dog!

My dad offered a compromise. We could get a cat. 

I didn’t see this as a good deal, but I agreed. We got ourselves a cat. 

And we discovered that I am allergic to cats. Very allergic. Living with a cat gave me exercise induced asthma, and I would also get an asthma attack whenever I cleaned the litter box. Since our original deal had been that I would need to clean the litter box or we would send the cat back, I told my dad that we had to send the cat back, because I could not clean out the litter box. 

My goal was to send the cat back so I could regain my ability to breathe without huffing an inhaler. 

I was thwarted, because my dad had already fallen in love with the cat. And Topaz was not a nice kitty either. He showed affection my making you bleed. 

So I’ve avoided cats for most of my adult life, much to the chagrin of my friends who own cats. But when I went to visit my family recently, I was on allergy meds and decided to see how it went. Both my brother’s cat and my dad’s current cat acted like I smelled like fish and basically just demanded my attention and affection. 

And I went with the flow, and I petted the cats, especially my dad’s cat, Coco. It’s maybe a little silly, but she was my mom’s cat, too, and I felt like I was coming to peace with her death when Coco would hop up on my lap and literally snuggle up on me. Such a lovey kitty!

I pet those cats, and I played with those cats. It was fine! I got a little bit of a cough, but no symptoms otherwise. Until I got home. 

The day after I got home, I was punished for my brief kitty lifestyle with a sinus infection that I am only starting to get over now I’ve been home for over a week. 

I think, next time, I might bring nasal saline flush with me. Perhaps if I give my sinuses a nice bath every day, they won’t get stuffed with cat dander and decide to pick up an infection on the flight home. 

Because there will be a next time. Sinus infections suck, and I won’t risk them by owning a cat of my own. But I have friends and family with cats, and I’d like to figure out how to visit them without asking that the cats be locked away or threatening said cats with water should they approach me. 

Coco on my lap.

Yasha on my lap.

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