Sunday, December 2, 2007
I've just had really good look at the Allerca company and their "products". I criticized them in another article on this website for treating a cat like an inanimate product to buy and possess.
But I've changed my mind a bit. I built a page about Allerca Cats for my main website but I can say things differently here. I've also had a bit of time to think. Allerca cats are a part of LifeStyle Pets who develop dogs as well as cats (and perhaps other pets but I forgotten).
First I've got to say a thank you again to LifeStyle Pets for allowing me to use their superb photographs on their website, particularly of the Ashera GD, an absolutely stunning cat photographed extremely well.
Since posting this I have written more about this cat and the following posts provide a fuller story:
Go to Allerca Cats on the Pictures of cats.org website
Go to 2 posts about importing the Ashera into the Netherlands
The Ashera is a designer cat in the true sense and an extremely rare cat; in part because few people can afford her at $28,000. This is by far the most expensive domestic cat as far as I am aware. But she is a great cat and the entire "package", if I can call it that, is of a very high standard. A lot of things ancillary to the cat are bundled in.
The Ashera, some would say, is simply an F2 Savannah but unregistered with a cat association and with no breed standard and no background. But I think that is being unfair. We don't know exactly how she was bred except she is a cross between the wild African Serval and (I believe) the Bengal. So there is lots of wild blood in the Ashera and it shows.
She is a big cat at about 30lbs in weight. At that price it'll mean cages and runs in a large garden and leads if she wants to go for a walk. This cat will be assertive and take some management from her human carer.
Above all though she has been developed with the use of careful genetic research and control way beyond that which is normally exercised by cat breeders, which are usually small operations run by husband and wife. This has allowed Allerca cats to make her hypoallergenic by using genetic divergence. Basically in this instance it means genetic engineering to modify the gene that produces the protein in the cats saliva so that it is no longer an irritant to humans.
The people behind the Ashera GD clearly have some financial backing as it appears a lot of research went into developing this cat, which is not incidentally (formally) a new breed but a type of cat.
The corporate culture aspect of this operation unsettles me a bit. Can you mix corporate finances and profit when dealing with a living creature? I'm not sure. But if LifeStyle Pets do their bit and prioritize the cats' welfare (and charge accordingly) then they are no different to any other breeder and probably better than many.
Photograph of an Ashera GD cat copyright LifeStyle Pets Inc.
from Ashera GD to Toyger