Skip to comments.Scientists breed allergy-free cat
Posted on 06/07/2006 6:22:23 PM PDT by Daralundy
US scientists claimed today to have bred the world's first hypoallergenic kitten, opening the doors and arms of millions of pet lovers for whom cuddling a cat has, until now, been a curse.
At $US4000 ($5400) a head, the allergy-free felines will not be cheap. But the biotechnology firm behind the project believes sensitive owners will happily fork out extra for the chance to have a cat that doesn't leave them wheezing and sneezing.
In a statement, the San Diego-based company, Allerca, said it had produced the cats using a technique known as genetic divergence.
After identifying the genes of kittens with proteins that provide less of a reaction in humans, they selectively bred litters over several generations to end up with an allergy-friendly "super cat".
The company said its customers are expected to take delivery of their hypoallergenic kittens in early 2007.
"For the first time, people who have been unable to own a cat because of their allergies can now enjoy a pet of their own without the associated risks and costs of allergy treatments," Allerca CEO Megan Young.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, approximately 30 million Americans suffer from some form of cat allergy.
Ms Young said the company expected to be breeding 10,000 of the cats every year by 2009.
The American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) gave a cautious welcome to the Allerca announcement, saying it might help reduce the number of cats abandoned to shelters by allergic owners.
"But it will also be important to monitor the long term health of these cats to ensure that silencing the gene does not result in unforeseen effects on them," the ASPCA said in a statement.
What's an "expediency" fee?
Allergy Pet Wipes - they get rid of some of the substances that people are allergic to.
That's the extra charge that the suckers have to, er, pony up into the, well, kitty.
Oh, my goodness!...if I had learned your tagline 20 years ago....
And even though I believe the price of a Siberian kitten is about $700 and up (it's still a rare breed), that's STILL a lot cheaper than several thousand dollars for these genetically engineered kitties.
Other things people have told me which may help some folks:
- Bathing the cat every couple of weeks
- Using those allergy wipes on the cat
- Feeding the animal premium food instead of the cheap crap found in the supermarkets.
Last year I adopted an almost-senior cat who had been shaved down to the skin, everywhere except the head, feet, and end of the tail, because her previous owner had an allergic girlfriend. The cat is still very touchy about being groomed, thanks to that treatment.
I'm not allergic (a good thing with 6 cats!), but the other day I thought about what an autopsy would find when I die. My lungs will be full of cat fur!
You've learned it by now, I trust . . .
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