If you or your child suffer from allergies, it is most likely that you avoid pets outside and inside your home.
Strangely enough, you are twice more likely to suffer from cat related allergies than allergies from dogs, and they can range from mild to severe.
If you or your loved one has a mild case of allergies, then the wonderful news is that you may not have to deprive yourself of a feline companion.
In this article, we will try to guide you in choosing the most suitable cat for your home and will also give you a few pieces of helpful advice on reducing the risks.
What Should I Know About Cat Allergies?
Allergies from cats are hereditary, so parents can pass their allergies down to their children.
Your immune system produces antibodies whose job is to fight substances they deem harmful to the body, and if someone suffers from allergies, then their system associates allergens with something harmful and tries to destroy them.
You will pick up cat allergies from the cat’s dead skin, salivary glands and urine.
The problem with dead skin is that the cells are so tiny that you can find them in your house for months after even if the cat has left and they can remain on your clothing for quite some time.
The cat’s saliva causes allergies because of a protein known as Fe1 D1 found in the saliva.
The saliva becomes a key player in the allergy game as the cat licks her coat.
After your kitty licks her coat the saliva dries, allowing it to become airborne where it eventually makes its way into our nasal passages.
There are a few different breeds that seem to produce a reduced amount of the protein, making them hypoallergenic.
The effects of allergens
The membranes around your eyes and nose will swell and become itchy, which can cause a blocked nose and swollen eyes are among the most common symptoms.
Also, there can be a rash that forms on the face, neck or the upper chest and if allergenic elements get into the lungs, making breathing difficult.
When discussing allergens, it is very important to note that males are worse than females because males make more allergenic secretions.
What can help is neutering your male cat.
Kittens create fewer allergens than grown cats and cats lighter create fewer allergens than darker-colored cats.
What Are The Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds?
A kitty that does not have any allergens is a myth therefore if you have a very serious issue with allergies than total avoidance is potentially the only answer.
However, if you are a milder case, then there are a few hypoallergenic options.
One must remember merely choosing a hypoallergenic breed does not mean it is the end of the story, you still need to do some safety measures like regular washes and brushing (ideally by a person who is not affected by allergies).
Also, toys and the cat’s bed should be washed regularly as this will minimize the allergens present in your house.
Our first candidate is the Balinese, also called the “long-haired Siamese”:
· It produces very little Fel D1 proteins;
· It has long fur;
· They are playful, agile and intelligent; and
· Are named after the dancers of an Indonesian island.
Therefore they are an ideal option if you suffer from an allergy problem.
Next up is the Siberian:
· It produces very little of the dreaded FE1 D1 protein;
· It has reasonably long hair; and
· Recent studies show that approximately 75% of cat allergen sufferers do not display symptoms when in contact with this cat.
Therefore, this is a definite contender from a hypoallergenic point of view.
Now let’s look at the Ocicat:
· It has a spotted coat with short and soft fur;
· It is a gifted athlete;
· It is smart and loving; and
· It gets its name from the ocelot which they look a lot like but don’t be fooled by their “wild” appearance they are very gentle.
They are a good choice for allergy sufferers.
Let’s consider the oriental shorthair:
· it is a Siamese cross;
· It was bred in England to produce a wider range in the Siamese’s patterns and colors.
· It is not as vocal as the Siamese;
· It desires to be the center of attention and if it does not get that right, it will become upset.
· If you give them enough love and affection they are more than happy to return the favor.
It is a great consideration for someone looking at hypoallergenic cats.
Now let’s discuss the Russian Blue:
· It has a distinctive double coat which makes them unique as it glistens in the sun;
· It has yellow eyes when it is a kitten which changes to an emerald color when it grows up;
· It is lovable;
· It does not shed its fur as most cats do; and
· It produces very little of the FE1 D1 protein.
Therefore it can be considered an excellent example of a hypoallergenic cat.
Now let us talk about the Javanese:
· They have a tangle-free medium-long fur with no undercoat which means less fur;
· Their energy and loyalty will ensure that these cats creep into your heart right from the start.
· They are highly intelligent, which means training is a breeze and they can learn to do a variety of different activities.
Another great choice for a hypoallergenic kitty friend.
Now we have the Devon Rex:
· It has a far shorter coat than the second “Rex” we will discuss later;
· Grooming and maintenance is easy;
· The paws and ears must be cleaned regularly because of oil collecting there; and
· You do not need to give them regular baths.
This is an ideal option if you are looking for a feline friend who is low-maintenance and hypoallergenic.
Now we come to the second “Rex”, the Cornish Rex:
· They shed a smaller amount of fur than a typical cat but they need lots of upkeep.
· They are very loving and will form a bond with you easily;
· If you ignore them they will turn to some destructive behavior to get you to take notice of them; and
· They are energetic and athletic, so you will find them all over your home.
A great option if you are looking for a cat that is very energetic and you have the time to give it a lot of attention.
Last, we get the Sphynx:
· This cat has no hair so it makes sense that there will be fewer allergens;
· They do require maintenance needs as there will be a build-up of oil on their skin and frequent cleaning of their large ears is also necessary.
· They are full of energy and enjoy heights;
· Apartment living is best because of the dangers the outdoors present;
· You must be careful, as they don’t have fur and therefore don’t have protection against the sun.
Therefore the Sphynx is an ideal option when considering a hypoallergenic pet.
In this article, we have explored and discussed nine hypoallergenic cat breeds that could be wonderful additions to your home.
Every cat requires maintenance and affection, hypoallergenic or not, so please make sure you have both to give.
While the above cats have reduced allergens, you must still remember no cat is completely without allergens and should you have a severe case of allergies then, unfortunately, total avoidance may be the only option.
The above is only a guide and you must thoroughly research the different options before approaching a reputable breeder.