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Cat Crazy and Allergy Free

By: Rebecca K. O'Connor

Read By: Pet Lovers
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Are you pet crazy enough to spend $4,000 for a cat? If you have allergies that force you to keep pets from you home, but desperately want a furry companion you might want to think about it. A company called Allerca in San Diego, California has just introduced the first allergy-free cat on to the market. Although the cats have only been on the market a few weeks, preliminary testing shows that they are indeed hypoallergenic.

Approximately 30 million people suffer from cat allergies. It's one of the most common allergic reactions in humans. Some individuals suffer mildly with symptoms of a runny nose and eyes or congestion, but others have reactions so severe that they are life-threatening. A person with severe allergies may be unable to breathe and even have seizures.

Megan Young, chief executive of Allerca notes that "You're not just buying a cat; it's a medical device that replaces shots." For cat crazy people with severe allergies, this may at last be an option to have the feline friend for whom they have always longed. Cheryl Burley of New York whose allergies are severe struggled for years to try and keep a cat. Every attempt has been disastrous for her. She states, "This hypoallergenic cat would be a perfect solution for me. I'm determined to have a kitty."

The idea of genetically engineered cat has animal rights and other activists up in arms. The truth is though, that the cats aren't genetically engineered at all. They have been selectively bred for a trait that make them allergy free. This is not unlike breeding for color or any other trait. And what makes people allergic to cats might surprise you. It's not the dander or the fur. It's cat spit!

Cats lick themselves and the saliva dries on their fur, turns to dust, gets in the air and causes allergic reactions to those that are sensitive. The component of the spit that people react to is a protein called Fel d 1. As soon as they isolated this protein as the culprit, Allerca searched far and wide looking for cats that don't produce. With about 1 in 50,000 fitting this bill, it was little like searching for a needle in a haystack, but Allerca found enough to start their breeding program.

It seems that Allerca is a little cat crazy too, because they won't sell their cats to just anyone. They send a Food and Drug Administration allergy test kit before any kitten arrives to test the entire family. Another test is required to test for other allergens in the house. They want to make sure there aren't other allergy issues in the home that might be blamed on the kitty. They also require an interview that checks for motivation and warmth, making sure that the home is prepared for a cat and will treat it well.

Right now the cats being bred or domestic shorthairs, but if Allerca is open to what the next breed might be. You can go to their site www.allerca.com and vote for which breed you think should be bred to be allergy free.

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