The following is a guest post by David Jez, owner of ihypoallergeniccats.com website, where he mainly shares his insights into hypoallergenic cats and cat allergies.
There exist a large number of cat lovers all over the world. Without any question, they are one of the most favourite animals. However, some people can’t have this pet at home due allergy to cats. Luckily, for many people who would still like to get a cat, there is one option in the form of hypoallergenic cats.
So what are the hypoallergenic cats and what’s their benefit? In this article you’ll learn more about them and what makes them so special. But first of all, it is necessary to understand the cause of cat allergies.
Cause of Allergy to Cats
Some people tend to believe the root cause of allergies to cats is the cat hair. However, this belief could not be further from the truth. In fact, there exist two closely connected causes of cat allergy.
First cause is the dander – a substance consisting of tiny dead skin cells shed by cats. These tiny particles are even smaller than dust mites, thus they cannot be seen with a human eye. Once they come loose from the cat’s skin, they float in the air and settle on furniture, bedding or clothes for example.
The second complementary cause is the protein contained in cat’s saliva and in the oils secreted from their skin. This protein is known as glycoprotein Fel d1 (shortly Felis Domesticus). If it weren’t for it, the dander itself would barely cause any problems. That’s because Fel d1 glycoprotein is the main allergen triggering allergic reactions in people.
Cats constantly groom themselves, which involves rubbing the saliva into their fur. When they do this, they spread their dander and allergens around. Once there is a lot of allergen spread over your home, the allergic symptoms will be triggered.
Uniqueness of Hypoallergenic Cats
All cats in the world produce the mentioned allergens. But some breeds tend to produce lower levels of Fel d1 protein. These are the cats referenced as hypoallergenic.
Additionally, just so you know, unsterilized cats secrete more of this glycoprotein than spayed or neutered felines.
Please do not forget it is very important to differentiate the terms hypoallergenic and non-allergenic. If there is something non-allergenic, it simply means that it does not cause any allergic reactions at all. On the other hand, hypoallergenic means either there is very little likelihood of an allergic reaction to occur or the allergy reaction would be minor in the case of its occurrence.
Unfortunately, there has never existed a non-allergenic cat. However, there is still good news for the ones who love cats. There are 14 hypoallergenic cat breeds you may choose from. The following list includes them all:
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- Oriental Shorthair
- Colorpoint Shorthair
- Russian Blue
- Canadian Sphynx
Test Before You Get One
Still, because every person is different, everyone will respond differently to each of mentioned breeds. Hence it is necessary for an allergy sufferer to spend some time with an appropriate cat in order to assess possible allergic reactions before taking it home.
You may do so by visiting a cattery or some of the breeders. Just in case you have never heard of a “cattery” term, it is a place where cats are commercially housed. Such organisations usually let you in to spend some time with the cats. I consider this to be a very pleasant way how to check for potential problems caused by allergies to cat.
To Sum Up
Unlike regular cats, hypoallergenic cats are those that tend to cause no or very little allergy reactions. That’s because they produce less of the Fel d1 protein, which is the main allergen responsible for triggering of allergy symptoms.
Should you be one of the cat allergy sufferers and still would like to own a pet, I recommend you trying out one of these low allergen cats. You will likely have less risk of sneezing or watery eyes, yet enjoy the pleasure of cat ownership.
For more information please visit my blog ihypoallergeniccats.com focusing on these allergy-friendly cats.
David Jez is blogger, dreamer and especially a cat lover. As he was found to be allergic to cats one day, he decided to create his own blog ihypoallergeniccats.com mainly related to hypoallergenic cats where he shares his own experience with them.