Hypoallergenic cats soon to hit the market!

A California-based company recently announced that this spring, kittens that do not trigger allergies will be available for purchase. Are you interested? Well get ready to pay through the nose, with absolutely no guarantee that your cat really is hypoallergenic!

A California-based company recently announced that this spring, kittens that do not trigger allergies will be available for purchase. Are you interested? Well get ready to pay through the nose, with absolutely no guarantee that your cat really is hypoallergenic!

Cat allergies are pervasive in North America. This fact should not come as a surprise as cats are the most common pets adopted by families. Many more households would have them, were it not for the millions of people allergic to a protein found in cat saliva, dander and hair glands secretions. Allergy symptoms include itchy, watery and swollen eyes, congestion, post-nasal drip, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and bronchial congestion. Some people sniffed out a good opportunity to make money by breeding cats that lack this protein. Two American companies are working toward this goal.

One of them claims that by spring 2007, it will be ready to deliver a new breed of cat that will not trigger allergies. The owner of this particular company claims to have selected cats from various breeds that naturally do not have the offending protein, to create a breed that is entirely free from it. The price tag for this new breed of hypoallergenic cats: $4,000 US, plus shipping and customs fees. People from over 85 countries have already ordered their cats…

The owner of a rival company is very sceptical about the so-called hypoallergenic cats discovered by his competitor. According to him, there are no cats that naturally produce little or no of the allergy-triggering protein. He says that if in fact such a cat has been discovered, his competitor should back this discovery with scientific research, which he has yet to do. He believes that his own research will prove much more promising. His company is working on a genetically modified species of cat. He is aiming to genetically modify the cat to turn off the allergen-producing gene. When this goal is reached, he will conduct studies to ensure people are no longer allergic to the cat or to other antigens it produces. According to him this is not an impossible feat, but this will take time as this is very delicate science.

For those who are allergic to their pets but do not want to part with them, veterinarians usually recommend to regularly bathe your pet to wash the allergens from the coat; to prevent access to the bedrooms; to remove carpeting, upholstered furniture, drapes and other decorative elements that accumulate hair and dust; as well as to vacuum and wash the floors regularly.

Unfortunately, cat lovers will still have to wait before being able to purchase 100% hypoallergenic cats. However, birds, reptiles and fishies may be interesting alternatives for those who want to have pets. The kids will have great fun caring for Tweety, Kaa and Nemo, while discovering lovely animals they might otherwise never get to know.

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