Alec Baldwin and wife Hilaria buy a Bengal cat for daughter Carmen

NEWS AND VIEWS: So what is the big deal about the title to this post? Carmen, the Baldwin's daughter expressed a wish to adopt a cat companion from the age of 2. The trouble with satisfying that perfectly good request is that Alec Baldwin is allergic to cats we are told by his wife Hilaria. So they had a dilemma. Another dilemma that they had is that Hilaria and Alec Baldwin speak up for animal rights and support PETA.

Alec Baldwin and wife Hilaria by Bengal cat for daughter Carmen
Alec Baldwin and wife Hilaria by Bengal cat for daughter Carmen. Photo: Twitter.

They probably discussed, quite extensively, adopting a rescue cat from a rescue organisation as this would support PETA and support the idea that if people want a new cat they should always go to a rescue centre first. 

But the cat allergy problem scuppered that objective, they thought. So they decided to buy a Bengal cat from a breeder. Hilaria, we are told, did a lot of research and discovered that the Bengal cat is hypoallergenic meaning that the cat does not produce the allergen, or produces less of the allergen Fel D 1, which is a protein in a domestic cat's saliva which causes the allergic reaction in 10% of the population.

I suspect that the research included a discussion with a cat breeder of Bengal cats and the breeder wanted to promote her cattery so she convinced them that Bengal cats do not contain this allergen. I'm afraid they were misled if that is a true assessment. Bengal cats are not hypoallergenic. No domestic cat is in fact. 

They gave a false reason for buying a Bengal cat rather than adopting a rescue cat, which is that Alec Baldwin is allergic to cats and therefore they were forced to go down the route that they did. Note: they knew that all rescue cats will not be hypoallergenic but they did not realise that all purebred cats are the same notwithstanding what the breeders say.

PETA are annoyed but polite because they emphasised that the Baldwins have always supported them and do good in terms of animal welfare. But they say that they have inadvertently encouraged people to purchase a purebred cat rather than adopt a rescue and possibly save that cat's life from euthanasia at a rescue centre.

Perhaps the point of the story is that the Baldwins could have found a better route to compromise. The research should have thrown up the information that Purina have made a dry cat food which masks or suppresses the feline allergen that I mention above. It is called LiveClear and it is on the shelves at the moment. The reviews are pretty good and it seems to me that it works at least well enough to help control the problem.

And there are other ways to manage having a cat companion if you are allergic to them. Quite a lot of people who love cats are allergic to them but they find a way around the problem. An alternative to what I mentioned might have been to adopt a rescue Bengal cat. There are some unwanted Bengal cats out there at rescue centres and with certain organisations such as Purebred Cat Rescue. Her research should have led her to these sorts of organisations and to the Purina food.

I suspect, therefore, that Carmen expressed a strong desire to adopt a Bengal cat and therefore they could not get around that problem. And perhaps she wanted a kitten as well. Most of the rescue animals at shelters are adults.

Therefore, I have to reluctantly conclude that the Baldwins used a false reason for purchasing a Bengal cat but we don't know the full story behind it. I am speculating. There is one final point in that the higher filial wildcat hybrids are a little bit difficult to live with in my opinion and a lot of people don't prepare themselves for it. Although, I suspect that the kitten in the photograph on this page is probably an F5 Bengal cat. I hope so because if he is he will be very much like a typical domestic cat because the wild cat component is a very small percentage of the cat's DNA.

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