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Whatever Became of that Allergen-Free Cat?

 by Julie Hanus

Tags: Science and Technology, health, cats, allergies, hypoallergenic, Allerca, Plenty, The Scientist,

allergy catBack in 2006, we raised a collective eyebrow when we read in now-defunct Plenty that a San Diego company had plans to breed cats with a modified Fel d 1 gene that would render them hypoallergenic. These cats were slated to cost allergy-beset consumers nearly $4,000, and while the company was taking orders, kittens were still a year out, so cat lovers had some waiting to do.

The Scientist now reports that one of the first of these cats to be delivered hasn’t turned out to be all that hypoallergenic. Murray, a gray tabby, caused an early allergic reaction in one of his owners (which eventually tapered off), but guests still can’t tolerate the feline. Allerca, the company that sells the genetically modified cats and dogs, stands behind its claims, and says it warns customers that Fel d 1 is not the only allergen cats produce. Still, here’s the hitch: To get a refund, you have to return your pet. (Murray’s owners have decided they’d rather live with him, allergens and all.)

Sources: The Scientist, Plenty (as archived on Mother Nature Network)

Image by a tai, licensed under Creative Commons.