In 2010 we introduced a new method for collection and testing cat allergen. For the first time, it is possible to measure the amount of allergen a kittens will produce when it is mature. The majority of allergies to cats are caused by Fel d1, a very small allergen found in the saliva and on the fur. Cats produce very different amounts of this allergen. A few cats have been found that produce less than 1% of the normal levels of the Fel d1 allergen.
These tests measure the amount of Fel d 1 allergen in cat saliva using ELISA technology. Kittens tested with our methods have been placed in homes with mild to very severe cat allergies with excellent success. At this time, we are only marketing testing kits to breeders. Our tests use a special salivant and a proprietary method for obtaining saliva from cats/kittens. We stimulate allergen release in kitten saliva which allows us to measure future allergen production. Kittens can be tested starting at 10-12 weeks of age.
Six years ago, we worked with University of California Davis & Siberian Research Inc to standardize the methods that are now used for measuring Fel d1 levels in fur and saliva in adult cats. These early tests had less than half the accuracy of our current method, and could not measure allergen levels in kittens under six months of age with any level of accuracy.
We compared results from thirty different salivants at different strengths before finding one that provided stable results. The common bittering agents such as citric acid and sulfa have error rates over 500%. Citric acid is not appropriate even in adult cats, as it alters flow of androgens. Inaccurate test results can be caused by several biological reactions to induced salivation, which are far more common in kittens than adult cats.
Using our three-part test kits, we can identify most of these testing errors. These tests are accurate in 90 percent of adult cats and 80 percent in kittens. Allergen levels in saliva are reported in micrograms of allergen per milliliter saliva. (Typical cats have 4-16 mcg of salivary Fel d1 allergen, though levels as high as 34 mcg have been seen).
We documented allergic reactions in hundreds of individuals and mapped the reactions against the allergen levels to create the following chart . If an individual has severe reactions to Fel d1, they can be around a cat that has “Extremely Low” levels of Fel d1. Someone with mild reactions will be comfortable with a “Medium Low” cat. Please feel free to email with questions.
Allergic Reaction by Severity Recommended Allergen Level
Hives, swelling, severe sneezing, breathing difficulties, asthma Extremely Low 0.08–1.0 mcg Fel d1
Itchy skin, light sneezing, severe runny nose, mild asthma Very Low 1.0–1.75 mcg Fel d1
Runny nose, severe eye irritation, coughing Low 1.75–2.5 mcg Fel d1
Mild eye irritation and stuffy nose from cat allergies Medium Low 2.5–3.5 mcg Fel d1
No allergy symptoms Mild-Normal 3.5–16 mcg Fel- d1