Game-changing feline diet promises relief for people allergic to cats

February 18, 2020
dvm360 Staff

People suffering from cat allergies may soon find sweet relief from a breakthrough cat food from Purina Pro Plan.

Editor's note: This product is now available. For more details, go here.

About 20% of adults worldwide are allergic to cats, but a breakthrough new feline diet may help decrease the wheezing, sneezing, itching and other signs of allergy in the people who love them. After more than a decade of research, the Purina Institute has announced the imminent launch of Pro Plan LiveClear, the first and only cat food that can reduce the allergens in cat hair and dander.

How does it work?

Most people who are allergic to cats are reacting to the protein Fel d 1 that all cats produce to varying extents in their salivary and sebaceous glands. The protein is transferred to the cat’s hair and skin during grooming and eventually shed into the environment.1,2

Pro Plan LiveClear, which will be available in April, is formulated with a protein sourced from eggs that contains an anti Fel d 1 antibody, according to a company release.

A study published last year in Immunity, Inflammation and Disease revealed that 47% fewer allergens were found in the hair and dander of cats eating Pro Plan LiveClear starting in the third week of daily feeding.3 The same study also found that active Fel d 1 production decreased in 97% of cats (with individual variability).3,4

“As the cat eats the kibble coated with the specific egg powder, it neutralizes Fel d 1 in the cat’s mouth,” says Ebenezer Satyaraj, PhD, director of molecular nutrition at Purina and lead study investigator. “Rather than neutralizing 100% of the cat’s Fel d 1, or altering the cat’s production of the allergen, we’re simply lowering the levels to reduce the total allergen load in the hair and dander that is spread to the household,” he says,3,4 adding that feeding Pro Plan LiveClear should be done in conjunction with—not instead of—other allergen-reduction strategies.

Importantly, the diet doesn’t neutralize all of the Fel d 1 or alter the cat’s production of it. And based on the principle of allergen load reduction, that’s OK.

What about safety?

Cat safety was a key consideration when developing this novel diet, according to Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVN, Purina’s director of veterinary technical communication.

“Because scientists do not know precisely why cats produce Fel d 1, our goal was to neutralize the protein [without impacting the cat’s physiology] rather than inhibit its production,” Dr. Gagné says in the release.

He also noted that the egg product ingredient coating the LiveClear kibble is completely safe for cats to eat.5 “The ingredient’s action occurs in the mouth, but once swallowed, it is digested like any other protein,” he says.

Purina Pro Plan LiveClear will be sold in veterinary clinics, online and in pet specialty retail outlets in three formulas—Adult Chicken & Rice, Adult Salmon & Rice, and Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Turkey & Oat Meal.

References

1. Bonnet B, Messaoudi K, Jacomet F, et al. An update on molecular cat allergens: Fel d 1 and what else? Chapter 1: Fel d 1, the major cat allergen. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol 2018;14:14.

2. Kelly SM, Karsh J, Marcelo J, Boeckh D, et al. Fel d1 and Fel d4 levels in cat fur, saliva and urine. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2018;142(6):1990-1992.

3. Satyaraj E, Gardner C, Filipi I, et al. Reduction of active Fel d1 from cats using an antiFel d1 egg IgY antibody. Immun Inflamm Dis 2019;7(2):68-73.

4. Satyaraj E, Li Q, Sun P, Sherrill S. Anti-Fel d 1 immunoglobulin Y antibody-containing egg ingredient lowers allergen levels in cat saliva. J Feline Med Surg 2019;21(10):875-881.

5. Matulka RA, Thompson L, Corley D. Multi-level safety studies of anti Fel d 1 IgY ingredient in cat food. Front Vet Sci 2020;6:477.