“Don’t kiss the cat, don’t put beans in your nose, and don’t go through the neighbors’ garbage.”
I can’t count the number of times my sister and I heard that little ditty from our mom while we were growing up. It was mostly a joke – she thought proper behavior around beans and garbage went without saying, and she usually recited her advice while she was smooching one of our two extremely spoiled house cats. However, there was an undertone of seriousness. I think she was a tiny bit worried we might get germs from our pets.
It turns out that our cats should probably have done the worrying. This week, the New York Times‘ Well blog reports on an orange tabby who got H1N1 from his people. He’s an indoor cat and an only pet. A few days after his family came down with the flu, he started acting sick, too. Vets confirmed he had H1N1, and since humans are the only other animals in his world, it seems he got the bug from them.
So, if you’re feeling ill, don’t kiss the cat, don’t put beans … well, you know.