It Feels Like You Have A Constant Sore Throat
Pet allergies will generally make you feel like you’re living with a cold that won’t go away, and can result in sneezing and coughing. Cat allergies can also lead to a post-nasal drip, a condition in which you produce more mucus which is also thicker in volume, causing it to slide down your throat and create the sensation of a constant sore throat.
One symptom of this type of allergic reaction is that you might also notice that it comes and goes. It could be worse in the morning and at night, or only really bad whenever you’re home. If you always feel like you have a cold, but no fever or any other symptoms, see an allergist.
Living The Cat Lifestyle
Having a cat is an investment. In return, you get a beautiful, loving friendship. Cats tend to be very independent, but they still require a lot of time and attention and they’ll likely demand it. Cats sleep a lot, it’s true, but when they’re awake, they usually want to play, snuggle or hang out with their pet parents. They’ll also want you to be at their beck and call at all times.
Sometimes, adopted cats are returned to a shelter because the pet parent wasn’t prepared for the kitty’s personality quirks or behavior, such as scratching, a reluctance to warm up to them or their family right away, and yes, even because someone in the household found out they were allergic to the cat. Some of this behavior can be easily remedied with training, time and by introducing new toys, such as a scratching post. However, as with any big change, patience is a necessary virtue when adopting a new pet.
You Notice Redness On Your Skin
Cat allergies can definitely cause an obvious rash, and even hives that leave your skin super itchy and inflamed. But you should also look out for general redness on the skin, especially on areas of your skin that have had contact with your cat. In particular, Londons Allergy and Immunology Center reports that you should especially look out for hives or a rash in the area of the face and neck.
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What Causes Cat Skin Allergies
An allergy at its root is caused by the immune system reacting inappropriately to things that are not viruses or bacteria. When your cat has an allergy, their immune system thinks that a benign protein is a virus or parasite trying to attack it, which causes inflammation.
There are three triggers for skin allergies in cats:
Many cats that go to the veterinarian for skin problems may have mites or ringworm fungus as a cause for their disease, so your veterinarian may recommend testing to rule these out.
Many cats also have bacterial infections on their skin from constantly damaging the skin, which will slow healing. Your veterinarian may recommend testing for infection and if so, will treat your cat with antibiotics.
Are Hairless Cats Hypoallergenic
You may have seen the hairless Sphynx breed on our list, but dont let it fool youjust because a cat is hairless doesnt mean it is automatically hypoallergenic. The main allergen in cats is not its fur, rather a glycoprotein found mainly in the saliva of cats, called Fel d 1.
When a cat cleans itself, Fel d 1 is left all over its fur, and the furrier the cat, the more hair that gets left around the house, spreading the allergen around. Cats that do not have fur still have Fel d 1 in their saliva, but since they have no hair, they dont spread it around the home quite so much.
Someone who is severely allergic to cats may still find they are allergic to hairless cats but they are one of the best bets.
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What Is A Hypoallergenic Cat
While no cat is truly free of allergens, breeds referred to as hypoallergenic are certain types of cats that naturally produce fewer allergens than others. The Fel D1 protein is a common allergen that is less prevalent in these breeds.
Anecdotal reports claim some breeds might be less likely to trigger allergies. This is in part thanks to their lower-than-average amount of shedding, but most importantly, it comes down to the allergenic proteins that naturally occur in their bodies. There are a variety of hypoallergenic cats with unique temperaments and appearancesso before welcoming your new pet, it’s important to learn about each breed’s traits to ensure they’re compatible with your household.
Here are ten cat breeds that are ideal for those with allergies.
Cats That Dont Shed Or Non
Getting down to the nitty gritty, we now know that the Fel d proteins secreted by cats and spread onto their coats through grooming are in fact the main cause of allergies. If this is the root of the allergies, a cat that does not shed is probably not likely to be the answer to every allergic reaction.
Truly non-shedding or 100% hypoallergenic cats do not exist, although some breeds are seen as lower shedding and less hypoallergenic. To eliminate allergens, a cat which does not produce the proteins that cause the allergies would have to be bred.
Breeders have claimed to have produced cats who produce low levels of Fel d 1, as well as those who produce none at all. After over more than 10 years, however, no evidence of truly low-allergen producing cats has been presented.
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The Top Six Cat Breeds That Trigger The Least Allergies
1. Sphynx Cats
Although hairless Sphynx cats still have Fel D1 protein, they shed less of it around the house because they dont lose fur. Sphynx cats still have Fel D1 protein on their skin and in their saliva, so those suffering from cat allergies need to be careful to wash their hands before and after touching their kitty.
2. Siberian Cats
Longhaired Siberian cats are known for being one of the most hypoallergenic cat breeds. It might surprise you that such a hirsute cat would be one of the safest for the allergy-prone, but Siberians produce one of the lowest levels of Fel D1 of any domestic cat breed.
3. Cornish and Devon Rex Cats
These cat breeds have unusual curly fur. Cat fur usually comprises three levels the outer guard hairs, middle awn hairs and inner undercoat or down. While the Cornish Rex grows only the undercoat of fur, Devon Rex cats grow some guard fur too, but both have very short soft coats. While these breeds dont produce less Fel D1 protein than other cats, they shed little and groom infrequently, which means less Fel D1 released into the surrounding atmosphere.
4. Bengal Cats
Playful and smart, cat lovers adore Bengals for their beautifully patterned sleek coats. Like Cornish and Devon Rex cats, Bengals have very fine coats that require less grooming and shed little, which means a smaller amount of Fel D1 in the air than other breeds.
5. Russian Blue Cats
6. Balinese Cats
Things You Can Do To Manage Your Cat Allergies
- Comb or brush your cat regularly or ask someone less allergic than you to do it. Regular coat maintenance means less dander in your home.
- Dont let your cat sleep on your bed. As sad as it might be not to have bedtime kitty cuddles, keeping your furry friend out of the bedroom will help keep the sniffles at bay.
- Wash your hands frequently when handling your kitty, even if you have a hypoallergenic cat breed.
- Clean your home regularly and vacuum carpets and soft furnishings frequently. Make a particular effort to wash anything your cat touches, including their bedding and toys.
- Cats can also carry other allergens, including pollen, on their fluffy coats. To avoid allergic reactions, try wiping your cat with a clean towel or cloth when they come in from outside, or keep your cat inside.
Remember to always brief your cat sitter on how to groom your kitty and take care of their luscious coat
- #cat grooming
How Does Your Vet Determine The Cause Of Your Cats Skin Allergies
It is important to note that figuring out the cause of your cats skin allergy will require multiple visits to your veterinarian. Typically, your veterinarian will want to see your cat every two to three weeks until your cat gets better. These are the steps your vet will take to determine why your cat has skin allergies.
Reducing Exposure To Cats
While medical treatment can help control cat allergies, the best approach is simple: avoid cats and their dander. Here are some tips.
- Don’t touch, hug, or kiss cats. It should be obvious, but some people think a little cat contact is OK. It isn’t.
- Beware of visitors who own cats. Even if your house guests leave their cats at home, they can bring the dander with them on their clothing and luggage. This indirect exposure can cause serious cat allergy symptoms in some people.
- Plan. If you have to stay in a house with cats, ask that the cat be kept out of the room in which you will sleep for a few weeks before you arrive. Also, start taking allergy medication a few weeks beforehand. Once an allergic reaction gets started, it can be tough to control. But taking medicine can prevent it from happening in the first place.
But what if you already own a cat? Here’s the most sensible advice: if you or a family member has cat allergies, you shouldn’t have a cat in the home.
Of course, such harsh advice may not be easy to follow. What if your kids have already fallen in love with a kitten? What if you intended to never, ever part with your cat? If the cat has to stay, there are other things you can try.
While these techniques might help, they may not be enough. As hard as it might be, if keeping your cat is putting your health — or a family member’s health — at risk, you have to consider giving it up.
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Causes Of Cat Allergies
Cat saliva contains a protein that is the primary cause of cat allergies. Cats frequently groom themselves with the tongue, and the protein spreads across the fur. It is a very small particle, and as the spit dries it will release from the coat and become airborne. Some people exposed to the protein then suffer allergy symptoms. Some breeds of cats are known to produce less of the Fel D1 protein, and these are known as hypoallergenic or low-allergen breeds.
What Are Some Symptoms
More people are allergic to cats than to any other animal. In fact, an estimated one in five people worldwide experiences allergy symptoms ranging from sneezing and itchy eyes to coughing, wheezing, and hives when exposed to cats. Many people mistakenly believe that their allergic response depends on how much fur the cat has. But studies have found that the amount of fur is irrelevant and that some of the most hypoallergenic cats actually have lush, long hair.
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Why Aren’t Cats Hypoallergenic
When something is considered hypoallergenic, that means it’s less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in those who come in contact with it. Though it’s more commonly associated with products, such as cosmetics and textiles, the term has also been used to describe certain animal breeds as well.
However, when talking about kitties, grouping breeds together as hypoallergenic cats can be misleading. That’s because all cats produce allergens, no matter how little or how much fur they have, explains International Cat Care. Unlike with body lotions or shampoos, you cannot remove all the allergens from a cat. Therefore, technically, there are no hypoallergenic cat breeds.
There are 10 cat allergens in all. According to International Cat Care, the most common allergy-producing proteins are: Fel d 4, which can be found in a cat’s saliva, urine and feces and Fel d 1, which can be found in the oil-producing glands under a cat’s skin.
This is why even hairless cats can trigger allergic reactions. These proteins cause common allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, a stuffy nose and hives.
But there’s good news: Some cat breeds produce fewer allergens and shed less than others. If you’re looking into more hypoallergenic cat breeds, these kitties may fit the bill they bring a lot of joy into your home without adding a ton of allergens into your air.
Signs And Symptoms Of Cat Allergies
According to Bryan Martin, an osteopathic doctor and president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology , cat allergy symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on an individuals sensitivity and the level of exposure to allergens. Those variables may also influence how quickly symptoms develop after exposure. Highly sensitive people can develop symptoms within minutes of touching a cat or entering a feline-occupied house.
Like most allergies, cat allergies manifest in different ways for different people, Barrack said. For some, an allergy to cat dander can cause itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion and coughing, while it may cause shortness of breath , a skin rash or hives in others.
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Immune To The Allergen
Bachmann is among the scientists who are targeting Fel d 1 in cats themselves. If the animals did not produce the protein, this should prevent allergic reactions in most people. But researchers are unsure how thoroughly the protein needs to be eliminated to have the desired effect, as well as what happens to a cat without Fel d 1.
No one knows what Fel d 1 does for felines. Some cats have a little and some have a lot, so large amounts dont seem to be necessary. And the cats breed doesnt seem to make much difference even hairless Sphynx cats make Fel d 1. On average, unneutered males have the most and females the least, suggesting the protein might carry hormones or phero-mones. But it has also been hypothesized to protect cats skin.
In 2013, Bachmann co-founded HypoPet, a spin-off company from the University of Zurich in Switzerland. The firm aims to create hypoallergenic cats by vaccinating them against their own Fel d 1, so that the cats IgG antibodies block the protein before it is sniffed up by a human.
Bachmann built the vaccine out of recombinant Fel d 1, a bit of tetanus toxin peptide and the coat from a plant virus. The immune system thinks its a virus, he says, and accordingly responds with IgG . In an early test, the level of Fel d 1 in the tears of 18 cats fell by more than half 42 days after vaccination. Every cat makes a good IgG response, he says, and the vaccine doesnt seem to cause them any problems.
Do Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds Exist
So, if all cats produce the Fel d 1 protein, what is a hypoallergenic cat? According to a study in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, theres no such thing as allergen-free or hypoallergenic cats.
The study also explains, however, that Fel d 1 production can vary greatly among different cats, noting that male cats have been shown to produce three to five times less of the protein after theyve been neutered. Similarly, female cats are known to produce less of the protein than males.
In short, while there may not be any truly hypoallergenic cat breeds, those that are considered hypoallergenic are often thought to produce less of the Fel d 1 protein therefore, they cause fewer allergy symptoms.
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Allergies & Adapting To A Cat
If you’re ready to adopt a kitty but worried about your cat allergy, the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine suggests taking these actions to help alleviate allergy-related symptoms:
- Choose hard-surface flooring over carpeting.
- Vacuum often, including over any furniture made of soft materials.
- Install a HEPA filter.
Cats With The Lowest Fel D 1 Protein Levels
To review: In order to determine which cat breed is right for you, you must start by figuring out if your allergy is related to dander, shedding, or the Fel d 1 Protein. Once you narrow down the root cause of your allergy you can choose a hypoallergenic cat breed accordingly.
Heres a summary of cat breeds that may have comparatively low levels of the Fel d 1 protein:
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Facts About Cat Dander And Allergies
Do you get sniffly, sneezy or itchy whenever your feline friend enters the room? These symptoms could, unfortunately, be signs of a cat allergy. Get all of the facts about cat dander, signs and symptoms of allergies, and how to make your home a more comfortable environment to coexist in with your furry friends, below.
Are There Any Cats That Dont Cause Allergies
Short answer – no. No cat breed is truly hypoallergenic. Well, what is the point of this article then? The first goal is to get rid of the myth that breeds like this actually exist. The second goal is to help people with allergies still manage to find a suitable pet for themselves.
This doesnt mean that the cats we picked are the only ones that are suitable for people with allergies. But it is an excellent place to start your search for the perfect pet. Some of these breeds might cause allergic reactions despite being advertised as hypoallergenic. This is because each individual can have a different and unique allergic reaction to specific cats.
Your first step when getting one of these cats should be to consult with your doctor. Then you should contact a breeder and try to spend some time with the cat youre interested in.
What follows are our picks for the best hypoallergenic cats, but dont limit yourself to just these.