Monday, June 12, 2006

Are you allergic to cats? Not these ones.

Howard has found an article on hypoallergenic cats. These $4000 (!!) kittens have been bred to produce a different non-allergenic form of the protein which causes an allergic reaction in humans. The company, Allerca, is set to take orders of the cats in 2007.

What exactly are people (like myself) , who are allergic to cats, allergic to? From the Allerca website:
"A glycoprotein, Fel d 1, secreted by the sebaceous glands, is the major cat allergen. The main sources of the allergen, however, are the skin and saliva. Cat allergen is so small it can remain airborne for months and is about 10 times smaller than pollen or dust particles."
and their advice:
"As with any allergy, avoidance is the main course of treatment. A cat-allergic individual should avoid being around cats at all times."
Allerca has used genetic testing to find the gene responsible for producing the allergen and found cats which produce an alternate non-allergenic form of this protein, and then selectively bred cats to produce this non-allergenic form in their population of cats. Most importantly, no cloning is involved, with its associated risks and suspect ethical implications, at least for this purpose. I wonder, did they get lucky and find a hypoallergenic cat and start breeding?

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5 comments:

whirdly said...

Guess what? I'm getting a cat! Whooo hooo!

whirdly said...

Seriously, I want a cat.

Bex said...

We have 4 cats and truly feel bad for those who want a cat but can't due to allergies. With that said, being that all of my cats are rescues (not purchased from a breeder) I would hope that Allerca would donate part of the profits from the $4000 purchase price to promoting spay/neuter programs for those non-hypoallergenic cat. Allgerca does promote the spay/neuter program for the cats they breed, on their website, but there are many kittens/cats that need homes...so, for those people who are not allergic to cats, I urge them to consider adopting one into the family. They are the BEST stress relievers around! Two words...UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

Bex said...

Hey Whirdly...get that kitty! I'm behind ya 100%.

David said...

It is clear that bex has never actually owned a cat. Unconditional love? Perhaps from the owners to the cat. I have never met a cat that demanded anything less.