There could be hope on the horizon for cat lovers who are allergic to their favorite animal.
Cat allergies are the most common animal-origin allergies in human, affecting roughly 1 in every 5 adults worldwide, according to Purina. Often an uncomfortable nuisance for humans, cat allergies can seriously effect felines. This common human health issue can keep animal lovers from adopting cats, can force some cat owners to relinquish their beloved felines, and can limit the bond other pet parents are able to form with their cats.
In an effort to eliminate these roadblocks that stand in the way of human-cat companionship, Purina scientists have been researching how to manage cat allergens. The pet company recently made a breakthrough in their research, which they think could revolutionize how humans deal with cat allergies.
The major allergen that effects those who suffer from cat allergies is Fel d1, which is found in the saliva of cats. This troublesome allergen is then spread to the cat’s fur and dander — where it is more likely to come in contact with allergy sufferers — through grooming. Purina scientists have recently demonstrated “a proactive way to significantly reduce the active levels of the major cat allergen, Fel d1, at its source in cats’ saliva.”
“Taking advantage of natural allergen-antibody interactions, Purina researchers discovered how to safely neutralize Fel d1 in hair and dander by incorporating an egg product containing anti-Fel d1 antibodies into a cat’s diet. Ultimately this will reduce active Fel d1 levels in the environment. This approach maintains normal allergen production by the cat, without affecting the cat’s overall physiology,” Purina shared in a statement.
Through adding this natural allergen-antibody to a cat’s diet, Purina scientist believe they have found a way for humans to potentially control their cat allergies, without limiting the contact they have with their cat.
“These allergens have created a huge barrier to cat ownership and may limit the loving interactions between cat lovers and cats,” immunologist Dr. Ebenezer Satyaraj, Director of Molecular Nutrition at Purina and lead investigator on the research, said in a statement. “Our discovery has the potential to transform how people manage cat allergens.”
According to a Purina study recently published in Immunity, Inflammation and Disease, Purina researchers have seen results
“When cats were fed a diet including this egg product with IgY, 97% showed decreased levels of active Fel d1 on the hair and dander. On average, there was a 47% reduction of active Fel d1 on cats’ hair after three weeks of feeding the diet. Decreasing active Fel d1 on a cat’s hair can reduce cat allergens shed into the environment on hair and dander. Reducing the allergen load in the environment has been shown to be beneficial to allergen-sensitive people,” reports Purina.
The company is currently looking into ways to bring this exciting discovery to the cat lovers of the world.