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10 of the best pets for allergy sufferers

By: Katherine Butler on July 21, 2011, 10:55 a.m.
hairless cat on black background

Photo: RuthArt/flickr

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Sphynx cat

Most cat allergies are a result of the Fel d 1 glycoprotein, which is present in cat saliva and skin excretions. So the runny eyes, watery noses, and scratchy throats endured by most allergy sufferers are virtually unavoidable if they are exposed to cats. Southern California-based company Allerca claims to have bred a hypoallergenic cat, which was engineered to have modified versions of the Fel d 1 glycoprotein. However, as The Scientist reports, “Allerca published no scientific proof that their pets are in fact hypoallergenic, and subsequent investigations conducted by The Scientist found several disappointed customers who were essentially told that they were too allergic to receive Allerca cats.” While not hypoallergenic, the Sphynx is recommended by some breeders as better for allergy sufferers, simply because they don’t deposit allergen-laden hair.