Is this fur real! Scientists say it’s cat spit that makes you sneeze, not feline coats
- Experts day the allergic reaction is due to a protein in cat saliva called Fel d1
- One in five Britons, about 13 million people, believed to be allergic to moggies
- Last year, 1,300 cats had to be rehomed because their owners were allergic
Scientists have discovered why cats cause some people to cough and sneeze – and it’s not the felines’ fur, it’s their spit.
After ten years of research, the experts said the allergic reaction was due to a protein in cat saliva called Fel d1.
The protein coats a cat’s fur when it washes itself, causing an allergic reaction in some people that can include a rash.
There are estimated to be nine million moggies in the UK and one in five Britons is allergic – about 13 million people
Scientists have discovered why cats cause some people to cough and sneeze – and it’s not the felines’ fur, it’s their spit
Last year, some 1,300 cats had to be rehomed because their owners were allergic.
But now Dr Ebenezer Satyaraj, an immunologist and director of molecular nutrition at pet-food firm Purina, believes that he has found the solution to the problem – eggs.
Last week, Dr Satyaraj, whose own daughter Sarah is allergic to cats, said: ‘Most people believe their sensitivities to cats come from their hair, but the reality is that it is the proteins that are present on the cat’s hair… and these come from their saliva.
‘As cats groom, these proteins get transferred from their saliva on to their hair. One particular protein of interest is called Fel d1, which is produced by all cats irrespective of age, gender, length of coat or body weight.
A total of 95 per cent of people who have sensitivities to cats tend to respond to this particular protein.
‘We hypothesised that if you introduce a specific egg protein to a cat diet it could bind to Fel d1 and neutralise it in cat saliva.
‘The results were amazing. We were able to demonstrate that we could reduce the amount of active Fel d1 in cat hair by an average of 47 per cent.
‘This translates to a significant reduction of the allergen in the environment, and these studies let to the development of Purina Pro Plan LiveClear, the first and only cat food to reduce allergens on cat hair.’