Purina believes pets and people are better together. Unfortunately, cat-allergic owners may be forced to spend less time with their cat.
Allergies can impair quality of life for allergy sufferers, leading to problems with social and daily activities as well as reduced productivity and concentration.1,2
Cat owners love their pets, and most consider them part of the family; for this reason, allergists’ guidelines-based recommendations to remove the cat from the home are often met with resistance.2-4 Allergies can impact the human-animal bond by limiting the quality of time with their cat.
Fel d1 is the major cat allergen, accounting for up to 95% of human allergic sensitization to cats.3,5 All cats produce Fel d1 regardless of breed, age, hair length, sex or body weight; there are no truly allergen-free or hypoallergenic cats.5-7 It is produced primarily in the salivary and sebaceous glands, spread throughout the cat’s hair during grooming and then shed into the environment with hair and dander.5,8
Allergies to cats are typically managed by
Each of these approaches has limitations.
Allergic people are often sensitized to more than one allergen and each individual has an allergic threshold above which they will show allergic symptoms.12,13 Exposure to only one allergen may not be problematic, but exposure to several allergens simultaneously may lead to a cumulative effect (total allergen load) that exceeds that individual’s allergic threshold and triggers an allergic response.12 For example, someone with multiple pollen allergies may not develop symptoms when only one of those pollens is present, but they could develop symptoms in the spring when other pollen levels rise and raise the allergen load.
If the allergen load can be reduced by avoiding or reducing exposure to one or more of the contributing allergens, the cumulative level of allergen exposure may fall below an individual’s threshold and improve or prevent their allergic symptoms.12 Efforts to reduce allergen levels result in variable success for allergy sufferers, depending on whether or not the reduction in total allergen load falls below threshold and how long these levels remain below threshold.
Figure 1: Visual representation of the effects of cumulative allergen load on an individual's allergic threshold. In this case, the individual is exposed to multiple allergens in their home. Cumulatively, these exposures don't reach the individual's threshold and therefore, don't produce allergic symptoms. However, when certain seasonal pollens peak, the individual's allergic threshold can be exceeded and allergic symptoms occur.
Purina’s transformational approach to managing allergies to cats
A new approach for reducing Fel d1 allergen load takes advantage of the antibody-allergen interaction to neutralize Fel d1 after its production by the cat but before it spreads to the environment. A diet with an egg product ingredient containing anti-Fel d1 IgY was fed to cats, resulting in significant decreases in active Fel d1 (Fel d1 that is capable of binding to IgE and triggering an allergic response in sensitized individuals) in the cats’ saliva. This will ultimately reduce active Fel d1 levels in the environment, which will reduce symptoms in allergic people.14-16