A Review of Purina’s Cat Allergen Reducing Diet

If you have an allergy to cats, or know someone who does, then you know how debilitating it can be. Cat allergens are everywhere, and up to now there’s been precious little you could do except avoid cats altogether. Which for many people has not been possible.

So it was with great hope that here in Australia we awaited the arrival of Purina’s new food designed to reduce human allergies to cats and kittens. Imagine the possible benefits if it works:

  • More people being able to enjoy the company of cats
  • More cat rescue and less rehoming
  • Better relationships for allergic partners of cat owners

But could it also be too good to be true? If it encourages people who can’t keep cats to get them, surely this will be a backwards step instead. I found my first Devon Rex in an animal shelter where she’d been dumped for just this reason.

I’m going to take you through the science behind Purina LiveClear® as impartially as I can. By the end, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect if you try it.

How Purina LiveClear Works

It starts with the major cat allergen of humans: Fel d 1. This complex protein is found in the saliva, sebaceous glands, skin and fur of cats. It’s very stable, and can easily become airborne, from where it causes all the usual signs of allergy in people: sneezing, runny eyes, asthma etc

Cats probably spread most of the Fel d 1 around by licking their coat. So the people at Purina thought: what if we developed a food that blocks the Fel d 1 from the saliva?

It’s actually very clever.

They expose chickens to cat allergens and collect their eggs. These then contain high levels of anti-Fel d 1 antibody. The egg proteins are sprayed onto cat biscuits so that cats end up having antibodies to their own allergen in their saliva. Theoretically then, when they groom themselves, the Fel d 1 is taken out and inactivated.

As an aside, it’s worth noting that in the trials the food was fed continuously, which makes sense when you see how it works. However, as any vet knows, it can be hard to do this without having a fat cat.

Does Purina LiveClear Reduce Allergens?

According to Purina’s own research, cats who eat LiveClear have a 47% reduction in allergen on their coat. And this is true, if a little oversimplified.

allergen reduction cat food

The reality is the graph here. It shows the same cats divided into four groups based on how much allergen they had in their coat. You can see that the top 25% have a lot more than the rest. You can also see that the actual levels vary for all of them week by week.

In fact, a look at the original paper shows that even these data points are averages of substantial individual variation.

Of course what matters most is how this translates to its effect on people. Is an average 47% reduction enough, and does the weekly variation make a difference?

Does LiveClear Reduce Human Allergy?

To give Purina some credit, they could have stopped here, but they went on do do human trials. They exposed people affected by cat allergy to blankets from cats fed either a control food or LiveClear. The study was double-blind, meaning that neither the researchers or test subjects knew which was which.

In other words, a high-quality piece of work. Sadly for Purina and cat allergy sufferers everywhere, the results were disappointing.

The following table shows the P-values for each symptom. Values less than 0.05 are generally regarded as significant. As you can see, there were no significant differences between reaction levels to blankets from treated or untreated cats.

Difference Between LiveClear & Control Food In Allergy Symptoms

SymptomP value
Watery eyes0.91
Scratchy eyes0.23
Itchy eyes0.46
Nasal Congestion0.62
Nasal Itching0.43
Runny Nose0.88
TNSS: Total Nasal Symptom Score; TOSS: Total Ocular Symptom Score 

Hang On- Purina Said It Worked!

Actually, there were differences found when the results were compared with earlier known exposure (i.e. no longer blinded). This should be yet another demonstration of the enduring power of the placebo effect. And yet that’s not what was said.

While I honestly think that LiveClear will help some people, using an unblinded allergen exposure as a comparison is not the way to find the proof.

Well, you might say, if the subjects felt better, does it matter whether it was a placebo effect or not?* That’s an ethical discussion for another day. What we really need is a good blinded study using cats in their own homes to get closest to the real world scenario.

So Is Purina LiveClear Worth It?

The evidence so far suggests that Purina LiveClear is an unreliable way to reduce cat allergy symptoms in the home. I certainly would not recommend that allergic people plan on having cats based on this intervention alone.

Despite this, I applaud the company for such an innovative approach, and I’m not writing the food off completely either. For just as some cats will produce unacceptably high Fel 1 d levels, others are likely to respond well, especially combined with other approaches. You won’t know unless you try.

If you already live with a cat, but are allergic, or have an allergic partner, then there’s not a whole lot to lose. LiveClear is clearly as safe as any other cat or kitten food. If it doesn’t help, all you’ve done is bought a more expensive version!

Related: The Shaky Evidence For Feliway In Cats | Other Ways To Reduce Household Feline Allergens

* Strictly speaking, this is a nocebo effect, where the known allergen exposure is likely to have increased the subjects’ perception of symptoms. Then compared to the lower tested levels later, a significant difference appears. Clear? No, I didn’t think so!


Bonnet, B., Messaoudi, K., Jacomet, F., Michaud, E., Fauquert, J. L., Caillaud, D., & Evrard, B. (2018). An update on molecular cat allergens: Fel d 1 and what else? Chapter 1: Fel d 1, the major cat allergen. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, 14(1), 1-9

Pezzali, J. G., Smith, S. C., & Aldrich, C. G. (2018). An overview of the effect of diet on the allergenicity of cats to susceptible humans. SOJ Vet Sci, 4, 1-9

Ramadour, M., Birnbaum, J., Magalon, C., Lanteaume, A., Charpin, D., & Vervloet, D. (1998). Cat sex differences in major allergen production (Fel d 1). Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 101(2), 282-284

Satyaraj, E., Gardner, C., Filipi, I., Cramer, K., & Sherrill, S. (2019). Reduction of active Fel d1 from cats using an antiFel d1 egg IgY antibody. Immunity, inflammation and disease, 7(2), 68-73

Wedner, J. H., Mantia, T., Satyaraj, E., Gardner, C., Al-Hammadi, N., & Sherrill, S. (2021). Feeding cats egg product with polyclonal-anti-Fel d1 antibodies decreases environmental Fel d1 and allergic response: A proof of concept study. J Allergy Infect Dis, 2(1), 1-8

21 Replies to “A Review of Purina’s Cat Allergen Reducing Diet”

  1. Last December we rescued a kitten from a shelter nearby knowing my husband had allergies. Immediately I started to feed the kitten this purina live clear food, and brushing her daily aswell as keeping our bedroom off limits. A year later she is still on this pet food formula with minimal treats, next to no brushing as it just turns into a game to eat the hair off the brush. She now shares our bed with us every night, gets up close face snuggles from her dad with the allergies and he is symptom free. Her coat is gorgeous, she’s long haired and I’m not sure if it’s just good genetics or the food but she rarely passes hair balls and I notice little to no hair while cuddling her.

  2. Is there anything in the research study or elsewhere that you have found that mentions the long term affect on the cat’s health when given this food? My husband has developed a cat allergy and while we’re looking into ways to reduce the allergen in our home I don’t want to harm our cat’s in the process.

    1. Hi Jen. The feeding trials went reasonably well, so I wouldn’t be concerned about the food safety any more than any other cat food. It’s really not that different in composition.

  3. Thank you for the article. I have been using this food non/stop since 2021 for 4 cats. My ExH went into cardiac arrest when 17 due to cat allergies/asthma and I said I would never do that to my family. When our kids were little we paid big bucks for a Russian Siberian that we tried; but our awaiting friends got to have it 8 months later.
    New house, life, and I brought pets into our family although one of my kids has a cat allergy (although not nearly severe like his dad). I remarried and Covid brought our cat number from 0 to 4. He takes Claritin. He lived here 2 years with our 4 cats pre-liveclear and 2 years since feeding that exclusively. He said there was a definite difference, which is now negated by him living in the college dorm. So when he arrives home, he feels it anyway. I am at the point where the diy approach is here. $70 bags of cat food is just crazy when we have chickens.
    I really appreciate your article and the research. There is so little research to support the claims, and yet the market exists.
    I am hoping you might be able to direct me toward testing Fel D1? Wouldn’t it be great for me to get baseline data and test easily. Thank you again.

  4. I have cat alergies, so I’m intrigued. My son has egg allergies, so I’m concerned. No, my son would not eat the cat food, but if he touches eggs he has a reaction. Is the part of the egg that is added to the cat food the same part that he is allergic too?

    1. Hi Chris. That’s interesting question, but you’ll need to talk to the company themselves for an answer. Once you do, it would be great if you could post it back here for other people.

  5. I have mild cat allergies and a cat. When I react to her, I wash my hands and face and then use a “wound wash” to clean my nasal passages, and, if necessary, my eyes. Nasally, I put some in the palm of my hand and then snort all the way through. For my eyes, I put some on a cue-tip for my eyelashes or corner of my eye, or I may cup some in my hand and then cup my eye and tilt my head back.
    The wound wash products (e.g. Neilmed, Walgreens brand, and others) are pure salt and water with the same salinity as tears (0.9%), so they don’t don’t sting. They come in a compressed can so they don’t need or have preservatives but still last a long time if unused. Check the ingredients on the back of the can to be sure you have the right product — it should have water and salt (sodium chloride) ONLY.
    For me, they are much better products than allergy pills or nasal sprays. I do occasionally need to use an inhaler, but much less frequently if I use the above techniques as soon as I start reacting.
    For cat scratches, the problem is not just germs but an allergic reaction on my skin. I wash with soap and water for the germs, and then spray Hydrogen Peroxide for the bubbling effect, which helps lift out whatever nasty allergens were in my cat’s claws, which I assume would include fel-9. Works to prevent itching on the wound site much better than soap and water alone.

  6. Hi Andrew, have there been any updates on the science regarding this food and its effect (or lack of effect) in human allergies?

  7. Hello, You can get allergy shots that are customized by scraping your cats dander and it is integrated into the shot. You can then become immune to YOUR OWN cat but you will still have a reaction to other cats . That technique has already existed for 20-25 years but very few people even know about it.
    There is also a product called tropi-clean dander reducing shampoo ( it’s really more like a liquid that turns into a mouse as you pump it)and then you put it on the cat.
    I think your best bet if you have allergies is a COMBINATION APPROACH to get a breed that is known for low Fel D1 protein . Get it home from the breeder as a kitten. Wash it once a week for the first month. After the bath use tropi-clean dander reducer. Take an allergy med like Claritin or Benadryl every day for the first two weeks. Put the kitten on the Liveclear dander reducing food .
    A few footnotes here…… A lot of breeds that are supposed to have low dander are missing the target, because breeders are introducing new breeds to get rare exotic colours into them. For example, if you look at a lot of the Devon Rex nowadays , they look nothing like the Devon Rex used to years ago, they are loosing that true pixie face . The coat type also seems to be changed on many but they have fantastic colours that weren’t in the breed before . (Buy from a breeder that can 100 % guarantee the purity of their “hypoallergenic” breed. DNA testing may be required. ( Balinese is a great breed for allergy sufferers)
    Another thing to consider when taking home a kitten is that breeders do you have other pets. They may have dogs or chickens, or parrots other animals in their house that you will react to, that is why I suggest for the first two weeks take an antihistamine every day and bathe the kitten regularly for the first month.
    If all that doesn’t work put the money out for allergy shots tailored to your pet using it’s specific dander.
    My cousin, as a child, was always severely allergic to our cat when he came over to our house. We’re talking trouble breathing, needing to use an inhaler, bulging, puffy, eyes, runny nose, the whole 9 yards. He still begged his mom for a cat. After 5 years she caved and got him one . It was awful for the first couple months . ( they didn’t have all the products available that we do now) Little by little he became immune to his own cat but still severely allergic to other cats . ( This was an ordinary domestic cat not a hypoallergenic breed) If you get a special hypoallergenic (true pure breed) and follow my suggestions, there shouldn’t be any reason why you can’t enjoy the love of a feline.
    Ps I have mild cat allergies. If I touch a new cat and touch my eyes they swell up something awful. I’ve become immune to my own.

    1. Hi Ang. Thanks for this. I don’t agree with everything you say, but it’s an interesting perspective. I have certainly seen people self-desensitise too, but I’m wary to talk about it in case it encourages people to get cats that they later have to rehome when it doesn’t happen. I’m also not as convinced as you are that truly hypoallergenic cats exist, but I know that some breeders are trying this, especially in the USA.

  8. Thanks so much for this! Which article from the sources had the study with the blind and known blanket study?

  9. TY for sharing this. My cat has been eating Liveclear for 1 wk. Too soon, I know, but……. he has more energy and definitely feels better! He had Purina pro plan before. My allergist recommended Liveclear to help me! We’ll see. After reading your research, I wondered if I put his cat fur in our chicken coop, then feed him their egg, could I reduce his allergens?

    1. Hi Michelle. Although that’s roughly how they do it in making the food, I doubt that it’s achievable in a home setting. Still, you never know!

  10. This product has really helped me. My cat allergies were to the point that it was causing adult onset asthma.

    I would never consider dropping him at the pound.

    I had previously tried, getting him clipped and washing him more regularly with an expensive anti allergie wash.

    A couple weeks after changing his food I noticed a considerable difference.

    I get the occasional itchy eye now and then but other wise this product has been a God send to me.

  11. Finally, a real review using scientific evidence. I have been struggling to find an unbiased review of this food since it came out, so thank you!! I lost my cat last year and am desperate to get another one, but my grandson is allergic. He doesn’t visit that often, but I still don’t want him uncomfortable when he does. Do you know if I paired the food with a shampoo or topical product it would be more effective? I’m just looking for all my options. Thank you again!

    1. Hi Eileen. Thanks for the positive comments – it’s a shame that I can’t get more people to see this in advance. Regarding your question, it of course strays into an unscientific and almost certainly untested area so I really can’t say. However, in general topical products and shampoos do not go very well with cats.

  12. Thank you for the very informative article. Can you please list options for cat allergy sufferer which work?

    1. Hi Ilonka. There’s a link in the article to a page with a few ideas but I’m afraid I’m not aware of much that works very well I’m sorry.

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