Cats are a beloved family pet here in the United States, with 42.7 million households having a cat as a pet. However, cat allergy is the most common animal allergy, affecting about 1 in 5 adults worldwide.

Cat allergy can include symptoms such as: stuffy nose, hives, itchy eyes, wheezing, and asthma attacks. The best way to treat your cat allergy unfortunately is to get rid of your cat. Many households are not willing to take this step. Instead, people turn to antihistamines, medications, and immunotherapy (or allergy shots). These options focus on treating symptoms, but a new option focuses on treating the allergen instead.

Nestle’s Purina has recently released a new line of cat food, Pro Plan LiveClear. According to Nestle, this cat food will help reduce the allergy symptom causing protein, “Fel d1”.

 

More Information on Fel d1

Fel d1 is a protein that can cause major issues for those with cat allergies. It is excreted in the cat’s skin, saliva, and urine. When cats bathe themselves, this protein is deposited on their fur. The protein then spreads around with dander and hair due to shedding. Fel d1 is extremely difficult to contain because the protein is small enough to remain suspended in the air. It is also sticky and takes a while to decompose.

 

How Pro Plan LiveClear Works

The cat food is produced using eggs that contain an anti-Fel d1 antibody (anti-Fel d1 IgY). When the cat eats the kibble, the anti-Fel d1 IgY binds to Fel d1 in the cat’s saliva, neutralizing it. This leads to less allergen transfer on a cat’s skin and fur. This is done without altering the levels of Fel d1 the cat produces.

 

The Research:

There were two clinical trials created to test the ability of anti-Fel d1 IgY. One clinical trial included a control and treatment group where saliva was collected once daily. These cats were fed the control diet during a 1 week baseline period, and then fed either the control diet, or the diet which included the anti-Fel d1 IgY for a duration of 4 weeks. 82% of the treatment group cats showed a decrease in Fel d1 of at least 20% from baseline versus just 38% of control cats.

Another clinical trial focused specifically on changes in active Fel d1 in the hair of cats who had been fed the anti-Fel d1 IgY. In this study hair was collected from 105 cats over a 12-week baseline period. The hair was first collected four times over a 2-week baseline period, then weekly during the 10-week treatment period where cats consumed food containing the anti-Fel d1 IgY. The results found that after the third week, there was a reduction in mean Fel d1 with an overall average decrease of 47%.

(Satyaraj E)

 

Things to Note:

It is important to note that this will not cure a cat allergy or make symptoms disappear. This food does not block Fel d1 100%, and the difference it could make really depends on the person and their sensitivity. Also, while Fel d1 is a main driver of cat allergies, it is not the only cat protein to cause symptoms.

The best option for someone dealing with a cat allergy is to see an allergist. An allergist will provide the best treatment plan for you and your needs. Here at National Allergy & ENT, our allergists can help you create a treatment plan best fit for you. To schedule an appointment please call (843) 797-8162 or schedule an appointment online.

 

 

Sources

Goodwin, J. (2020, October 14). Nothing to Sneeze At: New Strategies for Controlling Cat Allergy. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.allergicliving.com/2020/10/13/nothing-to-sneeze-at-new-strategies-for-controlling-cat-allergy/

Satyaraj E, Gardner C, Filipi I, Cramer K, Sherrill S. Reduction of active Fel d1 from cats using an antiFel d1 egg IgY antibody. Immun Inflamm Dis. 2019 Jun;7(2):68-73. doi: 10.1002/iid3.244. Epub 2019 Mar 9. PMID: 30851084; PMCID: PMC6485700.

Satyaraj E, Li Q, Sun P, Sherrill S. Anti-Fel d1 immunoglobulin Y antibody-containing egg ingredient lowers allergen levels in cat saliva. J Feline Med Surg. 2019 Oct;21(10):875-881. doi: 10.1177/1098612X19861218. Epub 2019 Jul 16. PMID: 31310154; PMCID: PMC6764009.