$35,000 for a cat that doesn't make me sneeze?
May 7th 2008 10:00AM
Updated May 7th 2008 4:25PM
If you have money to burn and you're allergic to pet dander, but you'd really like to have a cat; have I got a deal for you! ABC News reported recently that a company called Allerca claimed two years ago that they had developed the world's first hypoallergenic cat. Allergic cat lovers immediately began paying deposits for ownership of the sneeze-free felines.
Selling prices range anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 for your average tabby all the way up to $35,000 for an exotic variety of "wild cat." Emergency room doctor David Avner, who has researched the key feline protein believed to cause allergic reactions, says hypoallergenic cats are a fallacy. That's where the matter becomes a bit cloak and dagger-ish.
Dr. Avner states that a businessman named Simon Brodie approached him with the idea to develop a business offering non-allergenic cats, using the doctor's research. Anver alleges that after about a year, Brodie pilfered the kitty allergy research files and took off.
Brodie however, tells a different story. He insists that he offered Anver 3% interest in his new sneeze-less cat company. The two men couldn't agree, and litigation soon ensued.
ABC News reported that Dr. Erik Viirre, an ear, nose and throat specialist in San Diego, received an Allerca cat and has been quite pleased with "Jet". However, it seems that not all Allerca's customers are quite so happy. More than one customer has reportedly paid Allerca for a cat they never received. Additionally, Brodie's company has dodged scrutiny of it's product by unaffiliated members of the scientific community. The report indicates that only one series of tests has been completed on Allerca cats, which involved one neutral scientist, one cat, and nine human test subjects.
Scientists and feline breeders agree that an allergy-free feline is certainly feasible. However, they also agree that the actual development of one is to date, unlikely. There are particular species and even individual cats which can have very strong non-allergenic characteristics, though, and the combination of one particular cat with one particular person can result in a satisfactorily allergy reduced pet relationship.
For the time being, the best method to determine if a particular cat will aggravate your allergies is still to simply rub your face in it. Getting cheek to cheek and nose to nose with kitty will always answer your questions. It's also a good way to find out about the cat's disposition. Possibly the best part of your personal kitty testing is that it won't cost $35,000 to do it.
Gary Sattler is a freelance blogger. He's a former state certified Humane Officer, and a former retailer of animal care products.