I am, sadly, cat allergic. Gleaned from a variety of medical sources and real life experience, symptoms can occur without ever coming into direct contact with a cat. Their allergens are light and remain air-borne for a long time but are also sticky and cling to clothing, furniture, walls, and carpet. A cat-allergic person can have symptoms when visiting a home with a cat – or one that was previously inhabited by a cat – or simply by standing next to a cat person in an elevator or sitting next to one at work or school.
Also gleaned from a variety of medical sources and real life experience, symptoms of cat allergies can include coughing and wheezing . . . hives or rash . . . red, itchy eyes . . . runny, itchy, stuffy nose . . . sneezing. Lucky me, I have them all. Unlucky me, I am a ‘cat person’ at heart. (I’m also a ‘horse person’ but that’s another blog for another day.)
None of the above cat-allergic facts were known, or would have mattered, to the little girl who named every cat in her world, cradled them, cuddled them, stuffed them in doll clothes, and yes, sneezed over them. To this day, I can hear my mama calling out the kitchen window, “Susan, put that cat down!” in response to my profusion of sneezes. Alas, moving farther afield from that kitchen window did little to save me from a scold later when my reddened eyes and itchy arms bore the tell-tale evidence of my dodge.
Fast forward to the adult who learned there were long-term consequences of that continued dodging of lessons-learned. After one too many bouts of bronchitis and a second round of allergy tests, my allergist convinced me I had to acquiesce for the sake of good health. There is no cure for cat allergies, no effective treatment, and it is the one allergy that rarely, if ever, improves with time. So I resigned myself to the fact that I must love and admire cats from afar.
This is my daughter holding Sugar Bear. He was the last cat we had before accepting I was allergic to cats.
Fortunately, about that same time, I was given an opportunity to live my love of all things cat through the extreme brilliance and humorous sarcasm of the wondrous feline, Familiar, both of which he inherited from his creator. Writing instructor and soon to become friend and mentor, Carolyn Haines (a.k.a. Caroline Burnes) had penned a witty series starring this cat detective who not only helped his human counterparts solve mysteries but frequently helped them along their path to romance.
Fast forward again past way too many ‘other’ life lessons, Carolyn recently tempted me into a brand new adventure of my own with an e-mail and a gathering of similar souls when she asked “What if Familiar had a son named Trouble, who was as smart as Familiar himself? What if he was as good at solving mysteries? And what if we . . . ”