Questions for ‘The many efforts to lick cat allergies’

cute kitten

Up to 20 percent of people — one in every five — may be allergic to cats. But scientists are working on solutions so that these individuals can get their kitty cuddles.

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To accompany feature “The many efforts to lick cat allergies


Before Reading:

1.  What does it mean to be allergic to something? What happens when someone comes into contact with the thing to which they are allergic?

2.  Do you have any pets? What do you like about having them around? What do you not like? Do those bad aspects outweigh the good? Why?

During Reading:

1.  What does “hypoallergenic” mean?

2.  What is Fel d1? How do people get exposed to it?

3.  How do allergy shots work?

4.  What percent of people are thought to be allergic to cats?

5.  What is the “allergen-plus” treatment? What is one downside of it, as described in the story?

6.  How might the cat food being developed by researchers at Nestlé Purina help people who are allergic to cats?

7.  By how much did the vaccine given to cats reduce their secretion of Fel d1?

8.  How is Tom Lundberg producing cats that have low levels of Fel d1?

9.  What do the genes Ch1 and Ch2 do in a cat?

10. Why does the scientist from HypoPet say that he wouldn’t try any of the proposed cat allergy treatments?

After Reading:

1.  Consider the chart of allergy treatments. If you were allergic to cats but wanted a kitty friend, which approach would you take? Use evidence from the story to justify your answer.

2.  If someone is allergic to cats, the best option for their allergy is to stay away from cats. Why do people not do that? Why do some people spend thousands of dollars or endure hundreds of shots in order to be close to cats?