Hypoallergenic Cats ~ Do They Exist?
Cat Breeds That Produce Less Allergens~
Some Cats Have Less Of The Bothersome Allergen ~
People who have allergies to cats outnumber those who have dog allergies by almost two to one. Dog allergies seem to get the most attention, but allergies to cats are just as troublesome, especially to people who would love to have a cat as a pet, but believe they can't do that.
There are several breeds of cats that actually make less of the allergen, a protein known as Fel d1 that shows up in cats skin, saliva and in their urine. Because cats lick themselves to groom and stay clean, this allergen is transferred to their fur through their saliva. It also comes off of the cat and goes onto things like carpeting, walls and even on furniture.
This protein found on cats is what causes those with allergies to wheeze, sneeze, get watery and itchy eyes and nasal congestion. If a cat licks an allergic person, sometimes skin welts can be the result from the cat's saliva.
So what is one to do if they have cat allergies but they would like to have one of these sweet, loving pets? In the past, many people would live without any pets to keep allergies at bay. Depending on a person's immune system, some allergy sufferers can even experience symptoms if a person near them has been touching or holding a cat. All it takes is for some of the cat's dander to be on another person's clothes and watch out!
Recently, however, it's been found that there are some breeds of cats who produce less of this allergy causing protein. As a result, some people who used to have trouble being around cats because of allergies can now have a cat and not have the symptoms they used to have. This has lead people to believe that some varieties of cats are hypoallergenic.
While there aren't any cats that you can say are 100 percent hypoallergenic, there are some who produce little enough amounts of this protein that they can be around a person with allergies and generally not cause that person to have symptoms.
The funny thing is, there are people out there who will react to a cat with very long hair but not to a shorter haired one. Other people might find they don't have any symptoms around a white cat, but a black or gray cat can cause sneezing and wheezing. Even without 100 percent positive proof, there are many people who have been able to be around one breed in particular without experiencing allergy symptoms, and that is the Siberian cat.
Discovery of these breeds has been a blessing to people who are now able to have a cat as a pet. There are at least three breeds with the reputation of being less allergenic (as opposed to completely hypoallergenic). These are the Cornish Rex, Devon Rex and the Siberian cat breeds.
There is nothing 100 percent scientifically proven to say that Siberian cats are hypoallergenic. In fact, it can be said that there probably aren't many or maybe even not any 100 percent hypoallergenic cats out there. A company called Indoor Biotechnologies has been studying allergens in animals and their effects on people for years.
Samples from Siberian cats were sent to this lab to be tested, and it was found that Siberian cats produce a lot less of the troublesome protein, Fel d1 in their saliva than other breeds of cats. There are incidents reported of people who have been allergic to cats for years who, for some reason, are able to be around Siberian cats with little or no problems.
Siberian cats are also sometimes called Siberian Forest Cats and are related to Norwegian Forest Cats. They have been around in the Soviet Union for years and are one of the most popular cat breeds there. They are perfect for the climate there, with their long, luxurious and warm fur.
Devon Rex And Cornish Rex Cats
Other Cat Breeds That Seem To Cause Less Allergy Symptoms ~
There are a couple of other breeds that don't seem to cause allergy problems for some people because of the short length of their hair and because of the natural curliness of it. These are the Devon Rex breed and the Cornish Rex breed.
With such short hair, when these cats groom themselves, they don't shed as much and don't put as many allergens into the air and on furniture or on carpeting. It's been found that some people can also handle being around the hairless Sphinx cat. Remember the movie Austin Powers? That's about all the exposure that I had to a hairless Sphinx, until I took our cats to our vet in Wisconsin one time and there was a hairless Sphinx cat walking around in the waiting room!
The technicians working that day told me it was OK to pet him. Did he ever feel different to me, though, since I was only used to our two super hairy cats. One of our cats has medium-long hair, her name is Dixie. Our other short-hair brown tabby mix cat is named Misty.
The Sphinx cat felt very warm to the touch. I guess since he had no hair I thought he might have been cold to touch, but he wasn't. It was what I imagined it would be like to touch our cats if they were to have their hair shaved off.
I've read that the hairless Sphinx cat has to be bathed and wiped down often, which gets rid of dander it may have on its skin. I can't imagine having to bathe a cat, ours would run for the hills ~ Then again, I haven't ever had an occasion when I needed to bathe them, so who knows, they might like it! I know our cat, Misty, likes to jump in the shower, but ONLY when it is turned OFF and the tub is completely dry. I have no idea why she likes that so much, but she does!
The two Rex breeds tend to be more tolerable when they are around people who have cat allergies, so they have become popular in recent years partly for that reason.
One Company Claims That It Created A Hypoallergenic Cat ~
There is one company that claims to have created or bred a hypoallergenic cat. The company was called Allerca in 2006 and is now known as Lifestyle Pets. For between $8,000 and almost $27,000, they claim that people can buy a cat that is hypoallergenic.
There have been claims that people who could never have a cat before can have one now and that the price they pay for one is worth being able to do that. There have also been claims of fraud against this company due to cats that were supposedly paid for but not delivered. The company claims that it has sold over 350 cats that were bred with a different form of the protein that was modified, so that it doesn't cause problems in people with cat allergies.
There are scientists who would like the company to allow tests to prove the claims that have been made, but that Lifestyle Pets doesn't allow the testing and says that their satisfied customers are all the proof they need that their cats really don't cause allergy symptoms.
Others have said that no cat is completely 100 percent hypoallergenic, but that sometimes the protein that causes trouble, Fel d1, is found in a lot smaller amounts on certain breeds of cats. This makes it easier, especially for people whose allergies are not very severe, to be around certain cats with little or no allergy problems.
There is another company known as Felix Pets that claims that they are attempting to remove the gene from cats that causes the allergen. Some scientists have said that this would be incredibly difficult to do. Scientists also do not know the ramifications to the health of the cat that could potentially happen if a certain gene was removed.
Some people who bought a hypoallergenic cats from Lifestyle Pets in 2007 say that the cats weren't 100 percent hypoallergenic, but that they had very few, if any bothersome symptoms from being around them. For those who suffer from cat allergies and who still love cats and would love to have them for pets, this could be a great solution.
Cats give so much affection and love and they make wonderful pets, for anyone who is able to have one for a pet. I know we have grown to love our two cats dearly and I could not imagine life without them. I am so thankful I have never had any kind of allergies. The older I've gotten, I've come to realize how incredibly blessed I have been to have no allergies.