Alec Baldwin, the well-known actor, and his wife Hilaria Baldwin, have in my considered opinion given a false reason for failing to adopt a rescue cat when gifting a kitten to their daughter. Their daughter is Carmen and she’s seven years old. She has wanted a cat companion since she was 2. The Baldwins had struggled they said to find a way to satisfy their daughter’s desire because Hilaria said that “Alec is allergic” to cats.
Hilaria Baldwin claimed that they did lots of research and searching before buying a Bengal cat for Carmen who has named the kitten Emilio. The reason they state for adopting a wildcat hybrid companion cat over a rescue cat is because Hilaria’s research told them that the Bengal cat was hypoallergenic. I sense that a breeder of Bengal cats told them this to promote her cattery – just a guess. And that Carmen wanted a Bengal so perhaps her parents sought a reason to buy one and played the cat allergy card.
However, I can say with a high degree of confidence that Hilaria’s research resulted in the wrong conclusion because the Bengal cat is not hypoallergenic. In fact, no domestic cat is hypoallergenic. There’s lots of talk about this because is the holy grail of domestic cats: trying to find one which is genuinely hypoallergenic but it’s a myth.
So, sadly, the Baldwins could have adopted a rescue cat and found some ways around Alec’s allergy by, for example, purchasing Purina’s new dry cat food (LiveClear) which has been found to be successful in preventing cat owners being exposed to the feline allergen Fel D 1.
Because they bought a Bengal rather than adopting a rescue cat they’ve been criticised by PETA. And regrettably, it is doubly difficult for them because the Baldwins are long-time supporters of PETA, an organisation, which encourages people to adopt pets from shelters and not buy from breeders, particularly wildcat hybrids.
The problem with wildcat hybrids is that the high filial variants are arguably problematic in terms of cat companions because they are more intelligent and more active. They require a certain type of individual to look after them and not everybody is suitable both in terms of their attitude and their accommodation. That doesn’t apply in this instance because I believe that the Bengal cat adopted by the Baldwins is an F5 which is more or less a domestic cat like any other but, as stated, they are not hypoallergenic. Therefore the reason for buying this cat is false.
Hilaria and Alec Baldwin have made their daughter's dream come true by getting her a kitten. She's named it Emilio Cookie Baldwin. pic.twitter.com/6eMOFuOMuG
— GeorgeArliss1868 (@arliss1868) April 28, 2021
Moira Colley, a PETA spokesperson was generous in stating that the Baldwins do a lot of good in speaking out against animal cruelty but did not appear to realise the kind of impact that buying a cat from a breeder might have on the general public wishing to adopt a cat. She stated that if they had realised they would have gone to an animal shelter to provide an unwanted cat with a new home and possibly save her life.
However, this thoughtful statement is undermined by the fact that Hilaria and her husband spent a lot of time researching the matter. It should have crossed her mind that high profile celebritys like themselves are highly likely to influence others on such a delicate matter. It is so important for celebrities to adopt rescue cats. An added issue is that their daughter now owns a beautiful Bengal cat and she knows that it was bought for her. It would be better if Carmen knew that her cat had been rescued and saved. The children are the future of animal welfare.
There was an alternative method, in any case, if they really believed that Bengal cats are hypoallergenic. They could have adopted this purebred cat from an organisation dedicated to rehoming Bengal cats. There are some unwanted Bengal cats in American looking for new homes.
I think we will have to watch this space because if I’m correct about Bengal cats not being hypoallergenic (and I know I’m correct) we should hear some further news on this because Alec is going to feel the effects of his allergy to cats. We sincerely hope that they do not have to give up their new cat. That would be almost impossible bearing in mind that Carmen is bound to have fallen in love with Emilio.
P.S. I think too that the face of the Emilio, the Bengal cat in question, is not quite right for this breed. It is too pointed. Normally the muzzle is squarer.
Some pages on ‘hypoallergenic’…