Purina’s revolutionary approach to managing a major cat allergen

Feline-friendly breakthrough can bring cats and people closer together

27 December 2019, at 9:00am

As many as one in five adults worldwide suffer from sensitivities to cat allergens (Bousquet et al., 2007; Zahradnik and Raulf, 2017). The main recommendation for people with these sensitivities is to avoid cats (Davila et al., 2018). Purina scientists have discovered a new approach that can give people and cats a chance to stay closer together. This safe and proven approach uses an egg product ingredient coated on cat food to neutralise the major cat allergen, Fel d 1, at its source in cats’ saliva before it gets into the environment (Satyaraj et al., 2019a; Satyaraj et al., 2019b). This discovery can be a game-changer for people sensitised to cat allergens because the neutralised Fel d 1 no longer triggers an allergen response – bringing people and cats closer together.

Fel d 1 allergen information

“These allergens have created a huge barrier to cat ownership and may limit the loving interactions between cat lovers and cats,” says Ebenezer Satyaraj, Director of Molecular Nutrition at Purina and lead investigator on the research. “Our discovery has the potential to transform how people manage cat allergens.”

Cats also suffer consequences when people are sensitised to cat allergens because these allergens can limit people’s interactions with cats, are a common reason for relinquishing cats to shelters and may be a barrier to cat adoption or ownership (Svanes et al., 2006; Eriksson et al., 2009; American Humane Association, 2012; Coe et al., 2014; Weiss et al., 2015; Zito et al., 2016).

Cat allergens can be difficult to manage. Most methods are effort-intensive, costly and have limitations. They are all designed to manage the allergen after it gets into the environment (Dávila et al., 2018; Cosme-Blanco et al., 2018).

Fact vs Fiction - hypoallergenic cats table

A new approach to allergen management

The benefit of Purina’s discovery is that it is safe for cats and does not impact a cat’s physiology. It could simply require the cat owner to feed a nutritious cat food coated with an innovative egg product ingredient containing anti-Fel d 1 antibodies. As the cat chews the kibble, this key ingredient neutralises active Fel d 1 in the cat’s saliva, which reduces the active allergen transferred to hair and dander during grooming and ultimately reduces the active Fel d 1 in the environment.

Proven science

Purina’s published studies demonstrate this novel approach significantly reduces active Fel d 1 in cats' saliva and on their hair and dander. There was a 47 percent reduction, on average, of active Fel d 1 on cats' hair beginning with the third week of feeding the diet (Satyaraj et al., 2019).

Reducing this active allergen in the environment can have very real and positive impacts on people, who may otherwise limit their interactions with cats (Wickman, 2005; Wedner et al., 2019).

To find out more about the science behind managing cat allergens, visit Purina‘s Institute website.