Questions trail local entrepreneur
For allergic cat lovers, a San Diego company’s claim to have produced the world’s first kittens that are virtually free of allergy-producing proteins is nothing to sneeze at.
Allerca, a self-described biotechnology company, began soliciting cat fanciers last month to fork out an eye-watering minimum of $3,950 to â€œpre-purchaseâ€ one of its kittens. And even though Allerca says it will take up to two years to deliver the pets, the company predicts demand will soon reach 10,000 kittens a year.
Carol Barbee, president of the American Cat Fanciers Association, a leading organization for cat breeders, said Allerca’s math doesn’t add up â€“ at least in a financially viable or ethical way.
Only 45 registered breeders in the United States and overseas produced more than 75 kittens last year, according to the cat association, the world’s largest registry of pedigreed felines. The most came from an Ohio breeder who produced 322 kittens in 2005.
Average pedigreed-cat prices are about $400 to $600, with some rarer breeds commanding up to $2,000.