Hypoallergenic Cats: Do They Really Exist?

http://consciouscat.net/2013/04/08/allergic-to-kitty-dont-panic/

Cat allergies are one of the top five reasons why cats are returned to shelters. However, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, nearly 10 million people choose to share their homes with cats and dogs despite being allergic.

Being allergic to cats does not have to mean you can’t have cats

Being allergic to cats does not have to mean that you can’t share your life with cats. There are numerous things you can do to manage your cat allergies and still have all the benefits of sharing your life with cats, ranging from modifying your environment to taking allergy medication or immunotherapy allergy shots. Additionally, regularly brushing and grooming your cat, keeping her litter box clean, and feeding a species appropriate high quality diet that minimizes dander and shedding can all help manage cat allergies.

What causes cat allergies?

Contrary to what most people believe, cat allergies are not caused by cat hair, but by a protein found in a cat’s saliva, urine and dander (dried flakes of skin). People with allergies have oversensitive immune systems that react to these substances.

Is there such a thing as a hypoallergenic cat?

While there is no breed that is completely “hypoallergenic,” some breeds produce fewer allergens than others. The operative word here is “fewer” – no cat breed is completely non-allergenic.

Factors that contribute to the production of allergens are:

  • Male cats produce more allegens than females, and intact males produce evne more than neutered males
  • Darker colored cats tend to produce more allegens than light colored cats
  • Kittens produce fewer allergens than adult cats, which is why sometimes, cat allergies in guardians don’t appear until a kitten grows older

Hypoallergenic breeds

There are several breeds that produce fewer allergens. Don’t let “hypoallergenic” be the only thing that influences you when choosing a cat breed. Be sure that you don’t make the “hypoallergenic” characteristic the only criteria when selecting your new cat; take breed temperament and characteristics into consideration as well.

The following breeds tend to be less allergenic:

  • Balinese
  • Bengal
  • Burmese
  • Cornish Rex
  • Devon Rex
  • Javanese
  • Oxicat
  • Oriental Shorthair
  • Russian Blue
  • Siberian
  • Siamese
  • Sphynx

If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic cat, you don’t necessarily need to go to a breeder. Shelters often have purebred cats who were abandoned by their guardians. There are also many breed-specific rescue groups.

This article as previously published on Answers.com and is rebuplished with permission.

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The Conscious Cat is an award winning website published by writer and cat expert Ingrid King, author of Buckley's Story and Purrs of Wisdom. Here at The Conscious Cat, we're passionate about cats. Our mission is to educate cat guardians so that every cat, and every cat's human, can have a happy, healthy life together.

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On this site, you will find expert advice from a seasoned cat consultant. The Conscious Cat features articles on cat health, cat nutrition, cat behavior, cat lifestyle, pet loss, and, of course, pictures of cats. We'll bring you product and book reviews, as well as news from around the cat world.

We'll also share Purrs of Wisdom: lessons in conscious living, inspired by the cats who share our lives. Other features include our Mews and Nips; fascinating feline stories from around the globe, and Allegra's World and Ruby's Reflections; written from the perspective of Ingrid's two feline companions. After all, who better than a cat to teach us a thing or two about how to live a joyful life!

And let's not forget, we have a soft spot for tortoiseshell cats and their unique personalities, also known as "tortitude."

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