Cat Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
641 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ok so today in bio my prof brought up some interesting news I thought I'd check out instead of studying for physics. Apparently there are some scientists who are currently trying to develop some hypoallergenic cats (and were thinking of charging $5000 per cat, yikes!) so I wanted to check it out and see if it was true. All I could find was a company, who looks like they already are producing some hypoallergenic cats? Just wondering if anyone else had heard anything about this? And how reputable they are? (Not looking to purchase any hypoallergenic cats, just interested in the topic in general!) And by reputable I mean, does anyone know of any studies proving their cats are significantly more hypoallergenic than regular old felines or cats like siberians and balinese? (They have a little abstract taking about differences, but they had no statistical evidence I could find).

I know it has to do with cats producing less of a protein (Fel D 1 or something?) in their saliva, or in the case of what this company claims, producing the protein at a different molecular weight, but how does that occur? Through some sort of mutation in the genome? And how can breeders test for these sorts of traits besides testing each individual cat on someone who is allergic, especially considering people might be allergic to the other proteins? Would taking a sample of the cats saliva be a reliable way to test for decreased levels of the protein?

I just think it's be neat if breeders had an economical and reliable way to test for decreased levels of Fel D1, and try to breed for decreased levels. I mean, it'd be nice to have a super reliable hypoallergenic cat breed that almost always breeds true (I mean siberians are still pretty hit or miss right? There's just a higher chance of them being hypoallergenic) because I find a lot of people who absolutely despise cats simple do because of severe allergies.

Anyways sorry for a ton of questions, I just find the idea really interesting, especially after our immunology lecture today :p That and I really, really don't want to study physics :/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
448 Posts
I did see an evening news show that did some undercover investigating. I think the someone was advertising that they had hypoallergenic cats...but in reality were just getting regular cats and pawning them off as hypoallergenic-total scam! I think the seller was in England. It was VERY interesting. It might have been the show "The Lookout"? That's not to say there isn't a legitimate hypoallergenic cat. The investigative reporter was able to have tests run on the cat to determine if it had less allergens or something like that. It would be cool if allergies did not have to be a factor for people wanting a cat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
641 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I would take a gander that, that's exactly it! That was the company I mentioned, and that gives an answer to the question about their reputability :p. It would be interesting though to compare differences between some "hypoallergenic" breeds and regular cats. I don't know how many siberian breeders try to breed for decreased levels of Fel D1 or how they'd go about that, but it'd be nice to have cats breeding true for a trait like that, if it were even a feasible thing to do!

I'm wondering how they run tests for the allergens? Saliva samples? Fur samples? Blood samples?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
448 Posts
I think "The Lookout" talked to the person who tested in the lab and probably says what kind of sample was taken. Are you able to find the video to stream online?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
448 Posts
Just read a bit of the article and it mentions that "Indoor Biotechnologies" (company) tested hair samples from the alleged hypoallergenic cats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
641 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Aha found the video, pretty gross what people will do to make a few bucks. The kitten was adorable though, and now I want one.

And I knew Siberians had a tendency to have lower levels, I was just wondering what percentage did, and how breeders could selectively breed for that trait. It just seems like a lot of the testing has such small testing pools, they can't really show any significant evidence pointing one way or the other.

Just found this site Siberian Research Inc. A not-for-profit corporation for the Siberian Cat Testing Allergen Levels Siberian Levels of Fel d1 Fur Testing for Fel d1 Saliva Testing for Fel d1 , which is pretty cool. Though it would appear that low allergen cats don't breed true 100% of the time, which would mean that whatever causes lower levels of the protein isn't a recessive trait, correct? Or it's probably more complex than that...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I don't understand why anyone would despise cats just because they are allergic. I am allergic to cats and I love them. In fact, I went to a specialist and got myself allergy injections. A few years later and I'm doing much better...yay for kitties! :)

As for hypoallergenic cats....I think that is ridiculous. I absolutely love how people always have to play God....NOT...there are more than enough cat breeds out there...and if people are truly allergic, then they either should not own cats, own them and deal with allergies, or take injections/medications and modify their circumstances to lessen the effects....I don't see a reason to genetically create YET ANOTHER breed just for the convenience of people...and not to mention one that will likely host a whole bag of genetic health issues to boot....selfish and cruel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Breeds that people with allergies seem to tolerate more than others:

Cornish Rex, Sphynx, Devon Rex, Siberian, Russian Blue...there are probably others but these are the main ones that come to mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
641 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
That's excellent! I mean, like you, I'm sure not everyone allergic despises them I've just found most people I know with allergies don't care for/really dislike cats which I can only assume is due to the negative relationship they have with them because of their allergies.

And as for hypoallergenic cats, the mutation that causes the decrease in Fel D1 proteins (main cause of allergies) is naturally occurring. A couple breeds out there have a tendency to have increased numbers of cats that have this decreased level, Siberians being the first one's that come to mind for most (though Bengal's seem to, as well as russian blue's, and balinese, though there haven't been any real studies that have statistically proven this, a lot of owners with allergies who own these breeds report a decrease in their allergic reactions). I mean, there will obviously never be a nonallergenic cat due to the number of different proteins that can cause allergies. But yeah, the company who were "creating" this new breed of cat (i.e. selectively breeding cats who seemed to have decreased levels of this protein, or in their case "the protein was of a different molecular weight" :/) seemed to be scamming people anyways.

And I think Cornish rex and devon rex are not so much due to the protein as the low shedding, single layer coats. And I always thought the sphinx was pretty bad for people with allergies, just due to the fact that the allergen sits directly on the skin, and it's much easier for people to come into contact with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I think what helps people with the Sphynx breed is the fact that you have to bathe them once a week, so the allergen is just greatly reduced that way. The Devon Rex is a cat I am looking into, simply because I love their quirkiness and the short curly fur. I don't know how they are in terms of less/more of the protein. Most people say that their symptoms are not as significant with this breed. That's would be a bonus for me too.

Again, with that breed, and the Cornish Rex, people tend to bathe them a few times a month and with less shedding, yes you are absolutely right, the dander just isn't floating around as much.

Air filters help?!?

There are people, though, that are allergic to the actual hair and not the protein. I guess in that case, for them a Sphynx is as hypoallergenic as its going to get.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,535 Posts
Air filters help?!?
Absolutely. Using the smaller micron filters on your furnaces (I think some of them are labeled as hypoallergenic, but they're really just tighter weave). I'm not allergic, but my sister and niece are so I want it to be a pleasant place for them to visit. I also have an air cleaner that does an ionic exchange to trap airborne particulates using the parallel charged plates on the inside.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
I can speak from personal experience RE: Siberians. I have horrible cat allergies - every cat I have ever been around has given me a terrible reaction - uncontrollable sneezing, itchy/bloodshot eyes, etc. Just awful.

My wife and I read about Siberian cats having hypoallergenic qualities. So I embarked on a series of carefully planned visits with a Siberian cat breeder to test my allergic reactions (or lack thereof) to them. After multiple visits being around multiple Siberians (including a kitten), I did not have a single allergic symptom. I ended up getting a young adult Siberian (she was 1 1/2 years old when we got her) and I have had NO problems at all with allergies in the nearly 3 years we have had her.

It doesn't mean they are 100 percent hypoallergenic for everyone, but it's pretty much been a miracle for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
What makes me so sad is breeders charge an arm and a leg for these specific cats that don't trigger allergies (Spinx, Rexes etc)....When all people want to do is make a cat apart of their family. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
641 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
So while at the breeders house you had little to no allergic reactions? That's really cool to hear, and it's great to see how well it worked out!

And I don't think it's just the hypoallergenic cats that are expensive, it's purebred cats in general, just because of all the costs associated with responsible breeding. Then again, my only reference point for cat prices are kijiji so not even remotely reliable :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
What makes me so sad is breeders charge an arm and a leg for these specific cats that don't trigger allergies (Spinx, Rexes etc)....When all people want to do is make a cat apart of their family. :(
With Sphynx and Rex breeds, you'll find people are drawn to them mostly because of the personality traits. They are almost dog like creatures. Very intelligent, energetic, social, many even play fetch. The short coat, or lack of coat to some people is also an attractive bit about this breed. I myself would love to get a Devon in the future because of their personality traits, short coat, and overall look. Good breeders won't necessarily charge an arm and a leg. I believe around $400 for a Devon kitten. Correct me if I'm wrong. That's not tragic considering a what a good breeder should be putting into a litter. Health testing, vet checkups, registration, etc. I still have faith in responsible, good breeders. There aren't that many of them, but they do exist. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
This was a link someone brought up in another thread about six months ago. I don't know if this is related to what your prof was talking about.
"Allerca" is a well known scam. The scammer who did it is Simon Brodie, who also tried to resell Savannah cats for a huge premium under the new name "Ashera". His company also sold TITAN Family Protector Dog - a supposedly super-trained German Shepard for 80000. He then changed his name to Simon Carradan and sold "Carradan skis" - some special skis for 13000 made from materials never before seen in skis.

He has a long history of similar scams and a criminal record too. More about him here: THE MURKY BACKGROUND OF THE ASHERA AND ALLERCA
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
723 Posts
I tend to react to domestic long/short hairs; itching eyes, nasal issues etc.. My reaction is not anaphylactic, but is enough to make having cats undesirable.

My GF had a Balinese, and it dawned on me that I did not seem to be reacting to her at all. I did a little research which showed that Balinese naturally have about 10% of the normal level of Fel D1.

I have now had my two Bali's for over 5 years without a single sneeze.

Kyle
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,199 Posts
What makes me so sad is breeders charge an arm and a leg for these specific cats that don't trigger allergies (Spinx, Rexes etc)....When all people want to do is make a cat apart of their family. :(
You should keep in mind the cost a responsible breeder takes on before they breed those kittens - extensive health testing (more more than just a well-check at a vet, and considerably more expensive. I'm talking eye exams, x-rays, special blood tests in some cases, ect. Not small change), showing the cats (and the associated travel, entrance, and equipment fees), stud fees for the male she's chosen (I'm of the opinion that breeders should use a male from outside their lines, and that's costly no matter how you do it. There could be shipping fees of having a male sent or female shipped to him.)
Keep in mind that's ON TOP OF the regular costs of ownership and raising a litter properly!

A great breeder could easily be out thousands of dollars...and you want them to give 'great deals' on their carefully bred and monitored kittens they've put so much time effort and money into? No. You get what you pay for.

That being said, the crappy breeders who just have two cats and breed them...those guys charge the same fees and talk a good game, but if you know what to ask you can spot them from a mile away.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top