Are you a cat lover and allergic to cats at the same time? Then there is hope for you. Because there are cats for allergy sufferers! Read this article to learn what you should know about cat ownership as an allergy-prone cat lover.
Can I keep a cat as an allergy sufferer?
Many people, whose nose starts running at the very sight of a cat, would so much like to have one. But is that even possible? Are there hypoallergenic cats that provide fewer allergy symptoms?
In fact, there are some cat breeds that are suitable for cat allergy sufferers. However, this does not apply across the board. Before you share your life with a feline pet, you should be well informed in advance.
How do you recognize a cat allergy?
A cat allergy is an allergic reaction of your immune system. There are several allergens that are candidates for this.
If you’re interested, here’s a good interview on the different allergens and possible cross-allergies: Cat Allergy: The Cat’s Allergens!
As a rule, the so-called“field d 1” causes the allergic reactions to your cat.
This allergen is found in cat saliva, tear fluid, and sebaceous glands, spreading it all over your cat as you groom. And through the dander also in your house. Due to its properties, you don’t even have to be near your pet to have the following reactions:
- Itching of the skin, eyes or nose
- Constant persistent sneezing and sniffles
- watery eyes
- Shortness of breath and asthma attacks
Symptoms depend on many different factors and can become more severe over time and throughout your life.
You can find out exactly what triggers your allergy symptoms by taking an allergy test at your doctor’s office.
There are ways to alleviate the symptoms so you can keep a cat after all. More on this below.
Are there cats that are more suitable for allergy sufferers than others?
Yes, there are some types of cats that are allergy friendly. This makes them more suitable for the household of a person allergic to cats than others.
These so-called hypoallergenic breeds produce or shed less fur than other breeds. Thus, the allergen does not spread so quickly around in the house. Generally, short haired cats are considered more suitable for life in an allergy household than long haired cats.
However, before getting a family cat, as an animal lover with a cat hair allergy, you should definitely do a cuddle test. Evaluate your body’s reactions honestly! Because every animal is different and no one can give you a guarantee. And what could be more terrible than having to give up your pet again?
The following cat breeds are considered hypoallergenic
- Russian Blue are considered suitable cats for allergy sufferers. These graceful animals have a dense, double coat, which predestines them to survive in their cold home in northern Russia. This ensures that the Russian Blue distributes less hair and thus allergens in the house. It is also said to produce less of the allergenic protein overall than other cat breeds.
- The Bengal cat is a very active cat. Not only because of its fur marking it is also called leopard cat. The small tomboy is also considered a cat with little hair and suitable for allergy sufferers.
- The Burmese cat has a very short coat and is a rather cozy animal.
- Another low-hair and therefore allergy-friendly cat is the Siamese cat. She has no undercoat. And since this is the one that flies through your home because of its fluffy properties, it’s another candidate you could try.
Hairless cat breeds
- Sphynx cats are a breed of cats that have no or hardly any fur. They are the result of a mutation and are indoor-only cats. They are considered allergy-free because they have no (hardly any) fur with which the allergen can spread.
- Rex cats like the Cornish Rex, Devon Rex or German Rex are a popular cat breed for cat allergy sufferers. Their coat is short and wavy due to a genetic mutation. Rex cats are a good choice for people with cat allergies because they have less fur and shed than other cat breeds. This means that fewer allergens are distributed and your immune system has less to fight against.
- Peterbald cats are more or less the Russian version of Sphynx cats. They are also suitable for people allergic to cats, because they have virtually no hair. Most Peterbalds are bald or have only very fine downy hairs. However, some have a light coat that may develop over time.
Are there also long-haired cats for allergy sufferers?
Even though it is said that mainly shorthaired cats are suitable as pets for allergy sufferers, the Siberian cat but also on this list. For it also has a decidedly dense coat and is said to produce much less “Fel d 1”. In addition, Siberian cats are considered very freedom-loving and are therefore and because of their size often kept outside. In this way, fewer allergens are distributed in the house.
What are “non-allergenic cats”?
Non-allergenic cats are cats that do not have fur or whose fur is so short that it is not enough to cause allergy. These so-called hairless cat breeds are a promising way to keep a cat even if you have problems with allergies.
To reduce the trigger of the allergy, the animal should lose as little hair as possible. So far, there is no one hundred percent non-hairing cat, but there are breeds that lose significantly less hair than others. Among others the above mentioned Bengal cat, Burmese cat, Devon Rex, Russian Blue or Sphynx and the Siberian cat.
If you are looking for a non-allergenic cat, you should contact a reputable breeder. This person can help you choose the right breed for your allergy and educate you on how to care for that breed.
Are hypoallergenic cats allergy-free cats?
First of all, we must clarify that there is no such thing as a 100% allergy-free cat. However, there are cat breeds that are more suitable for people with allergies than others. This is because they produce less “Fel d 1”.
However, this does not mean that they are completely allergy-free. There are still some people who are allergic to these animals. So if you have serious concerns about your allergies, you should get checked out by a doctor before buying a hypoallergenic cat, and definitely do a cuddle test on any pet.
If you only have a mild allergy to cats, other things can help with your allergy. This includes regular cleaning of the litter box and feeding table, and dusting of furniture and carpets.
What helps against allergy to cats?
Besides the cat breeds already mentioned above, there are a few general tips that can help you keep your cat without sneezing all the time.
- Avoid contact with allergens as much as possible. If you have petted your cat, immediately wash your hands and the affected skin areas thoroughly with soap and water. Especially before you rub your eyes ;-)
- Clean your home regularly to remove cat hair and dander. Be sure to remove dust and dirt with a damp cloth and do not stir up more than necessary.
- Wear gloves when contacting cats to protect your skin from contact with the allergen.
- Use a wet wipe or a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to avoid airborne cat allergens as much as possible.
- In some cases, air purifiers help bind allergens from the air and relieve your symptoms.
Which cats are the worst for allergy sufferers?
The answer to this question is not clear, as there are many factors that must be taken into account. First of all, it is important to understand that there are many different breeds. Some breeds are actually less allergenic than others, as we pointed out to you above.
Moreover, it is also important to note that the symptoms of cat allergy may vary from person to person. So there is no cat that is absolutely safe for all allergy sufferers.
Persians are considered one of the worst cat breeds for allergy sufferers. Maine Coon cats also have a very long and dense coat, which means they can spread a lot of allergens.
Cat allergy: what now? What can I do?
But what do you do if you want to keep a cat, but you have an allergy and none of the previous tips help?
Ignoring your allergy could cause you major health problems later. Because in very few cases the allergy disappears by itself with permanent contact . Even if there have been cases, you should not rely on it. As a rule, the symptoms get worse.
If you suffer from cat dander allergy, you should consult your doctor. There are several medications and treatment options that can help.
Medication for your allergy
- One of the treatments for cat allergies is the use of so-called antihistamines. These can help relieve allergic reactions by inhibiting histamine production in the body.
- In worse cases, corticosteroids can help relieve symptoms. They have an anti-inflammatory effect and are an effective treatment.
- Immunotherapies or desensitization can help allergy sufferers get used to allergens and thus relieve symptoms.
What works best for my cat allergy?
No two bodies are the same. And no drug is without side effects. So, if you suffer from cat allergy, you can’t avoid discussing possible treatment with your doctor. He can help you achieve the best possible result.
Keeping a cat despite an allergy is possible!
It is definitely possible to have a cat as an allergy sufferer. There are many things you need to consider, but with a little planning and forethought, it’s doable.
Above all, it is important to clean the home regularly and to take care to have little contact with the allergenic substances.
Choosing the right cat is also important – there are some breeds that are more suitable for allergy sufferers than others.
So overall, it’s totally possible to have a cat as an allergy sufferer – you just need to plan a little better and be more careful.