A California biotechnology company has started taking orders for a hypoallergenic cat for pet lovers prone to allergies.
The genetically engineered feline, which is expected to be available from 2007, is the first in a planned series of lifestyle pets, Los Angeles-based Allerca said in a press release.
Allerca hopes to attract customers among the millions of people worldwide who suffer from cat allergies.
Up to 10 percent of the U.S. population alone are believed to be prone to symptoms that can affect the eyes, nose, ears, throat, lungs and skin.
Many cat lovers ignore medical advice and discomfort and choose to keep the animals as pets, or use expensive medications to cope with their allergies.
Cat allergen is also one of the main causes of childhood allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases such as bronchitis.
Cat allergies are caused by a potent protein secreted by the cat’s skin and salivary glands. The allergen is so small it can remain airborne for months.
Using “gene silencing” technology, Allerca is able to suppress the production of the protein.
The first breed of hypoallergenic cats will be British Shorthairs, which are considered to be ideal pets with friendly, playful and affectionate personalities.