Over 30 million Americans suffer from cat allergies, according to an a small biotechnology company that claims they have been able to isolate the gene that triggers a reaction. Allerca charges between $6,900 and $27,950 for one of their "Lifestyle Cats" that has been specially selected and bred to be appropriate for allergy sufferers.
ABC's "The Lookout" investigated Allerca after some claimed that the cats they received were no more hypoallergenic that regular cats. Some even claimed that they paid thousands of dollars for cats they never received. They had four Allerca cats tested by an independent lab, Indoor Biotechnologies, that found that they were no more hypoallergenic than regular cats.
Watch this video or go to ABC News to read more.
The Allerca Lifestyle Pets website is pretty convincing. Their information is well written, and the site looks professional with several testimonials. It warns against scammers touting their own "hypoallergenic breeds" that aren't backed by science and, of course, Allerca claims to be the only trustworthy science-based option. Allerca also has enough legitimate science in their articles to sound reliable. For example, it is true that Fel d1 is the protein found in cat saliva and sebaceous (skin) glands that causes reactions in most people.
Perhaps Allerca was able to find cats that were less allergenic at one point (because there are some breeds that do indeed have lower levels of Fel d1.) It's likely that they got lazy, let the business languish and it fell into disrepair due to greed or bad business practices. One can hope that this science could be used to develop less allergenic breeds for pet lovers in the near future without being exploitative of animals or buyers.
Tomorrow's article will cover my very own story of how I found cats that didn't exacerbate my allergies.
Have you had to give up a beloved pet due to allergies? Are there things you've tried to minimize allergic reactions that have worked for your family?