If you were envious of the other kids who had pets while you couldn’t (because of your allergies to their fur and other related issues), well guess what? Now you can join the cool-Snugglykids club thanks to Lifestyle Pets, which specializes in breeding hypoallergenic cats and dogs. Honored as one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions and with a growing clientele of over 350 people, the company first opened in 2004 and has been featured on The Today Show and CBS Early Show (among others), where a live-test was performed in front of the camera, exposing individuals with allergies to their “ALLERCA GD” cats.
So how does it all work? In the case of cats, they secrete a glycoprotein known as Feld 1, which is secreted by the sebaceous glands. This is the major cat allergen that most people react to, while dogs produce Cand 1, a different allergen. Most allergy sufferers come into contact with these allergens through the pet’s saliva or skin, which then causes a variety of physical issues such as water eyes, sneezing, rashes and wheezing, to name a few. Some people invest money in medications and allergy shots, but these are often time-consuming, expensive and not always a hundred-percent effective.
Lifestyle Pets focuses on rare, naturally-occurring genetic divergences and their hypoallergenic cats and dogs are bred using proprietary methods under pending patents. They also require that all potential customers take an allergy test to determine whether or not they qualify for an ALLERCA pet. The company founder, Simon Brodie, was originally attempting to genetically engineer a low-allergen cat, but during the early testing stages he accidentally discovered that the cats he had produced were completely allergen-free.
The initial plan was to use the gene-silencing technique known as RNA interference, which would then quiet the gene that encodes Feld 1 or Cand 1, which are the proteins that trigger allergic responses in people. When testing the genetic diagnostic tools, Brodie’s team found three cats who made a slightly different protein version that did not harm allergy sufferers. The company is planning to publish their data sometime in the near future but, as of now, they have plenty of positive testimonials from former customers who claim high customer satisfaction with their allergen-free pets.
Prices for an ALLERCA cat start at $8,950 and go up from there. The cost includes delivery, completed vaccinations, a microchip, health certificate and a one-year replacement guarantee in the event that your pet dies due to an accident or illness. More information can be obtained by visiting their official website.
By: Kamala Kirk