ST. LOUIS — Nestlé Purina publicized a feline allergy solution June 17, which utilizes an egg product in cat food to neutralize, Fel d1, a type of protein and major allergen that originates in feline saliva and causes allergic reactions in humans. The egg product includes anti-Fel d1 antibodies to counteract the natural Fel d1 without altering the cat’s physiology or nutrition.

The anti-Fel d1 antibody, IgY, blocks certain sites on cats that produce Fel d1, according to Purina. By neutralizing the allergen in cats’ saliva, Fel d1 is less likely to spread to hair, dander and surrounding objects during grooming.

In a clinical study conducted by Purina, which was published in a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal, Immunity, Inflammation and Disease, 97% of cats that were regularly fed a diet including the egg product with IgY antibodies showed reduced levels of active Fel d1 on hair and dander, with 47% showing decreased levels of the protein after three weeks.

Purina scientist Ebenezer Satyaraj, Ph.D., director of molecular nutrition, presented this method June 4 at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress, held in Lisbon, Portugal. 

"These allergens have created a huge barrier to cat ownership and may limit the loving interactions between cat lovers and cats," Satyaraj said. "Our discovery has the potential to transform how people manage cat allergens."

According to Purina, cats of all ages, breeds, hair lengths, gender and weight produce Fel d1; nearly 20% of adults are allergic to the protein; and as much as 95% of cat-related allergic reactions are caused by Fel d1.

"At Purina, we imagine a world where nutritional innovation can be life changing," says Dan Smith, Vice President, Research and Development, Purina. "We believe pets and people are better together. This breakthrough finding has the potential to improve the lives of cats and the people who love them."

Download the full study, “Reduction of active Fel d1 from cats using an antiFel d1 egg IgY antibody.

Read more about product development, ingredients and formulation.