Thank you for your inquiry.
As you can see from the abstract copied below, cross-reactivity has been demonstrated between allergens found in domestic cats and “big cats.” Thus there is at least some rational in trying immunotherapy.
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1990 Jul;86(1):107-16.
Evidence for a Fel d I-like molecule in the "big cats" (Felidae species).
de Groot H, van Swieten P, Aalberse RC.
Central Laboratory, The Netherlands Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, Amsterdam.
In this study, we investigated the cross-reactivity pattern of IgE and IgG4 antibodies to the major feline allergen, Fel d I. We studied the IgE and IgG4 response of 11 cat-allergic patients against Fel d I-like structures in eight members of the Felidae family: ocelot, puma, serval, siberian tiger, lion, jaguar, snow leopard, and caracal. Hair from these "big cats" was collected, extracted, and used in a RAST system and histamine-release test. By means of a RAST-inhibition assay with affinity-purified Fel d I from cat dander, it was established that, in the Felidae species, a Fel d I equivalent is present that reacts with IgE and IgG4 antibodies. We found that all patients had cross-reacting IgE antibodies to seven of the Felidae tested; no IgE antibodies reactive with the caracal were found. Eight of 10 patients with IgG4 antibodies directed to cat dander also had IgG4 antibodies directed to several Felidae species, including the caracal. However, the correlation between the IgE and the IgG4 antibody specificity was low, indicating that, in the case of Fel d I IgE and IgG4, antibodies do not necessarily have the same specificity.
Thank you again for your inquiry and we hope this response is helpful to you.
Phil Lieberman, M.D.