Allergic To Cats?
It is an unfortunate thing to be allergic to cats as the interaction you experience with them can be marred with teary and watery eyes, sneezing, a runny nose, itchy skin, nasal congestion, a scratchy throat or mouth and the appearance of hives, red, sore and itchy patches of raised red skin.
This can be enough to put you off cats for life but if you are a cat lover and do wish to have a cat in your home, there are some breeds which may suit you.
It is important to note however that there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat and that all cats carry the protein Fel D1 which is found in a cat’s saliva, urine and skin but some cats thankfully produce less of this protein than others.
To fully understand the allergic reaction we must first understand how this comes about in the first place. As mentioned before, the allergy comes from your being allergic to the protein Fel D1 which is not on a cat’s fur as is a popular misconception but in their saliva, urine and skin and when a cat licks their fur and it dries, it then becomes airborne and as you breathe it in, you have a negative reaction to it. As cats shed their fur around the home, this is another way the protein travels around your home causing you discomfort.
No!! There are no hypoallergenic cats BUT there are cats that produce less of the offending protein than others making it much more manageable for allergy sufferers to have and enjoy a wonderful relationship with a few breeds of cats.
Let us look at some of these beauties to help you choose the right one who will suit your lifestyle and image.
This cat is also known as a long-haired Siamese with no links to Indonesia. They are a very affectionate breed with deep blue eyes and a cream body with several different colour points.
They are long to medium-haired and do not have an undercoat so therefore tend to shed less. This can help to minimise potential allergic reactions but there is no guarantee that you will not have a reaction as there are no hypoallergenic cats!! Weekly brushing and regularly cleaning the home of fur will definitely help.
Most people refer to Sphynx cats as being hairless when in actual fact they are covered in a downy fuzz that feels almost suede-like to touch. Despite having little to no hair, all cats shed some amount of dander but by bathing your Sphynx regularly, which is recommended to remove a build-up of oils, this can be minimised.
Prestigious Breeder and multiple award winner RunaSoul Cattery have been breeding the most stunning Sphynx cats for many years now and highly recommend them to those looking for a closer relationship with their cats as this breed is known for being very close to their humans and a great addition to any family home.
It is said the Siberian cats’ claim to hypoallergenic status stems from the belief that they produce very little Fel D1 but there is little scientific proof to this claim. Despite their thick coats these cats do not tend to mat, tangle or shed very much making them an ideal companion for those who can manage a good brushing once a week.
Cornish and Devon Rex
The Cornish and Devon Rex both have wavy coats that do not tend to shed very much. They have a fine undercoat and no topcoat at all making them shed less dander than other cats and making the life of an allergy sufferer that much easier. These cats are highly intelligent and active and will want to be the centre of your world.
A popular choice for people with allergies as the Russian Blue has a low shedding shimmering coat that only requires weekly brushing. Russian Blues tend to love sitting on their owners’ lap to enjoy this weekly routine so remember to invest in some sticky roll to remove excess hair on your clothing after the glamour puss is all done.
As with our other “hypoallergenic” cats, the Bengal is also single coated making them shed less than other breeds. Did you know that feeding your cat the correct diet helps their skin become more supple and the chances of their skin and hair shedding decreases with the addition of Omega 3 fatty acids? Bengals’ fur is short and similar to rabbit fur so it is easily maintained and with the right amount of care shedding is at a minimum with this beautiful breed.
Managing Allergies when living with Cats
So you have found a cat that you feel you may be able to live with despite your allergy, so how do we maintain your health and your cat’s happiness?
We need to rid the home of as many other allergens as possible.
Dust, mites and mould can all bring on reactions. Cat dander can stick to surfaces in the home and will need regular cleaning, washing and checking.
Frequently wash and vacuum curtains if you are unable to replace them with blinds.
If you have leather sofas that would be better than material covered couches that will also need regular vacuuming.
Wood, tiled or linoleum floors would be easier and more manageable to clean for allergy sufferers.
Remove scented candles, potpourri and plug-in scents which can all exacerbate any allergy symptoms.
Get tested for your allergy and invest in some medications/treatments
Visit people with cats to build up your immunity, taking your medication around 30 minutes before your visit.
Empty your hoover bag once you have removed as many allergens from your floor and upholstery as possible.
Brush your cats outside
Try to have a cat-free zone in your home
Clean out the litter tray regularly
Open windows to allow fresh air into the home to help clear out allergens
We hope we have given you some insight into how you may be able to live quite happily with your feline friend despite having an allergy and you have the chance to experience the joys that go along with having a furry companion.
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