A Kitten Vaccine for Pet Allergies?
Pet-loving procreators, this one's for you. Many new parents
worry that owning a dog or a cat may cause their babies to develop pet
allergies. In Friday's Claim column in The New York Times, Anahad O'Connor bats this claim to the ground like a ball of string. He cites a study that found that children who shared a home with a cat in their first year of life were about half as likely to be allergic to cats as those who had not. Baby boys who lived with dogs during infancy also showed a decreased risk of allergies, but the puppy effect wasn't as strong for girls. No reason was given for this (we surmise that it might explain the disproportionate number of cat ladies versus cat gentlemen). The researchers determined that the key to developing an allergic resistance is bringing the pet into the home during the first year of the child's life. So, pro-pet parents: Don't wait until your daughter or son starts begging for a kitten to adopt one.