Categories: hypoallergenic cats

Some individual cats are hypoallergenic for Fel d1

I’ve been reading the outline of a scientific study on whether hypoallergenic cats exist. I don’t have access to the full study but the scientists determined the level of production in normal and hypoallergenic cat breeds.

Mila – Siberian cat – photo copyright Helmi Flick

They came to the conclusion that “hypoallergenic cats secrete and distribute less Fel d1 as compared to normal cat to their fur coat. We propose that indeed, hypoallergenic cat breeds pose an attractive alternative for atopic or cat allergic patients”.

Comment: I’m not sure that these researchers understand the concept of cat breeds because my research over the years indicates that hypoallergenic cat breeds don’t truly exist. Although, there may be reasons to be optimistic about the Siberian cat as being hypoallergenic.

I also believe that there is a wide variation in the amount of Fel d1 allergen produced by individual cats. For example male, unsterilised cat produce more of the allergen. However, it goes further than that because there is natural variation between cats which is what this study appears to have concluded.

The researchers said that they “collected samples from six normal and eight hypoallergenic cats”. In other words they acquired eight hypoallergenic cats. We don’t know where they came from or what kind of cats they were. They collected the allergen by stroking the cat with absorbent cotton over the face, chest and saliva.

The difficulty, it seems to me, is knowing beforehand whether a cat is hypoallergenic or not. Just to be clear, the word “hypoallergenic” means less likely to produce an allergic reaction. It does not mean that the cat will produce no allergic reaction.

The research encourages me to think that people who sell cats namely breeders should include in their cat’s profile a test for the allergen Fel d1. That may be overcomplicated. But if a breeder is able to demonstrate that their cats are hypoallergenic they will get far more sales. At present there are no cat breeders who have any idea about the level of production of this allergen by their cats.

Breeders vaccinate their cats and prepare them for adoption. Perhaps they should also build into their marketing the results of a test for the Fel D1 allergen?

Link to this study.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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