What You Need to Know About Hypoallergenic Cats
Pet allergies are unfortunately common. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has found that somewhere between six and 10 million people in the United States alone are allergic to cats or other pets. Many of those people still love cats despite their allergies.
Of course, depending on the severity of those cat allergies, and the treatment options people have available, this can make being a cat owner difficult, or even impossible. People who have allergies to cats will often have swollen and itchy eyes; they might start to sneeze. They could also develop hives. For those who have even more serious allergies, it could cause serious health issues, including causing your throat to feel like it’s closing.
What Causes Cat Allergies?
Why are some people allergic to cats? The main cat allergen is called Fel-D1, and it is a protein. All cats will produce this protein in their saliva. Keep in mind just how frequently cats groom themselves. This means that the Fel-D1 is spread onto their fur, and then from their fur and dander to the floor, the air, etc.
It’s not just the fur that causes the allergy, as a lot of people presume. It’s the cat’s saliva and the protein that is transported via the fur.
Are Hypoallergenic Cats Real?
People can find hypoallergenic dogs without a problem. However, it’s not quite as easy when it comes to cats. After all, the protein is produced in the saliva and all cats produce it. Unfortunately, this means that there is not any type of cat that is truly hypoallergenic, according to a study from the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The study also looked into whether there are any differences in the amount of the protein produced by different cats. It turns out that there is, and this is where some allergic cat lovers can find some hope.
They found that three to five times less Fel-D1 is produced in male cats after they have been neutered. Additionally, female cats produce less of the protein than male cats. This may be something to consider when getting a cat.
Something else you can look into will be the different types of breeds that are available and that some have considered hypoallergenic over the years. Even though they are not truly hypoallergenic, they are believed to produce less Fel-D1.
The Best Breeds for Allergic Cat Lovers
Below are some of the cab breeds that tend to have lower levels of Fel-D1. This should make these breeds more tolerable for those who have allergies.
Balinese cats tend to get along well with children and pets, and they have a lower amount of Fel-D1 than a lot of other cats. Despite having long hair, they do not shed too much.
The oriental shorthair is another potentially good option for allergy sufferers. These cats have easy-to-maintain coats, they don’t’ shed a lot, and they don’t have too much of the Fel-D1 protein. The cats tend to be outgoing and somewhat talkative. Because they are social, they are going to need to have a bit of exercise to stay happy and occupied.
Siberian Forest Cat
Siberian cats also tend to be on the furrier site. They are large cats and have a triple coat. It’s easy to maintain with some brushing each week. These cats are going to shed a bit more than the Balinese, but they are also thought to have less Fel-D1. These cats are smart, with variety colors and they tend to be good with kids and other pets, as well as people who come to visit.
The Rexes—Devon and Cornish
If you want to have an interesting-looking cat that is energetic and fun, look no further than the Devon Rex or the Cornish Rex. These cats have short hair that’s easy to groom, and they don’t shed too much. They are great for people who have allergies, and you’ll love how curious these cats can be.
You will find that Devon Rexes are friendly and have the potential to be mischievous. A lot of the Cornish Rexes will love spending time with their owners because they like to have quite a bit of attention.
Javanese cats are sometimes considered an offshoot of the Balinese. They originally came from a mix of a Colorpoint Shorthair and a Balinese. They are vocal cats, and they tend to be athletic and curious. They also have short hair and no undercoat and tend not to give allergy sufferers quite as much trouble as other breeds.
A lot of people immediately think of these “hairless” cats when they imagine a hypoallergenic cat. However, you have to remember that it’s not just the fur and dander that causes problems for people—it’s the Fel-D1. These cats still produce the protein. However, they also happen to be a good option for some allergy sufferers. Although they won’t need to be brushed like other cats, they still need to be groomed regularly. They will need to have frequent baths to remove the buildup of oil on the skin. They also need to have their ears cleaned regularly.
Sphynx cats tend to have great personalities. They are fun, smart, athletic and loving.
Where Can You Find These Cats?
When you are looking for breeds of cat that may produce less Fel-D1 than other cats, it can be difficult to find what you need. This is because these sorts of cats tend to be highly sought after and they can be expensive.
As much as you might like the idea of going to the shelter for a kitten, you will find that those cats aren’t going to be from one of the breeds discussed above. Instead, they will be the typical “alley cat”, and you are going to be highly allergic.
If you want to reduce the risk of allergies and need one of the breeds we’ve talked about, it’s going to cost more. There is no way around it. Therefore, you will want to be sure you are in it for the long haul.
What If Cat Allergies Persist?
Even though you might have a cat that is supposed to produce less Fel-D1, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to suffer from any signs or symptoms of allergies. They can still present themselves. You might want to talk with a doctor to see if there may be some prescription allergy meds that could work for you.
Hopefully, you will be able to find options that can work for you, so you can enjoy being a cat owner without having runny eyes and an itchy throat.