Bioethicist Art Caplan advocates taxing cats to help fund healthcare because they can make you sick, adding to the societal burden of care. From, “A Modest Proposal: To Solve Healthcare Funding Crisis, Tax Cats” at the MSNBC:
Once a cat is in a home it is nearly impossible to get the cat allergens out of the bedding, carpets and furniture. The cost to all of us of treating cat-induced asthma, rhinitis, skin reactions and allergies is big. While there are no specific numbers for paying for the shots and drugs to treat the health problems due to cats, the overall medical cost for treating all allergies in the USA exceeds $7 billion. And that does not include time lost from work or days out of school due to allergies.
One drug that is now frequently prescribed for kids and adults with chronic asthma due to exposure to cats, omalizumab, costs anywhere from $6,000 to $24,000 a year depending on dose. One in 2,000 of those with cat allergies require a trip to the hospital in any given year due to an acute adverse reaction to shots or drugs!
Of course, Art was using absurdity to make a point against taxing the obese in the healthcare system. I have made the same point in my oft proposed advocacy for taxing promiscuity. But then again, if we can think it, someday some Obamacarian technocrat will almost surely try and do it.