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Choosing a Breed

Cat Breeds for People with Allergies

Cat Allergies

About 10% of the population suffers from some sort of allergy, and cats are at the top of the list. But – contrary to popular belief – it’s not a cat’s fur that most people are allergic to. People with cat allergies are actually allergic to proteins in the cat’s saliva, urine, and dander. Someone with a cat allergy that comes in contact with a kitty may start coughing and sneezing, get itchy, watery eyes, or a runny nose.

There is a common misconception that there are certain hypoallergenic breeds. Though some breeds of cat may produce less dander (Javanese), some produce less of the protein allergen in their saliva (Russian Blue and Balinese), and some are almost completely hairless (Sphynx), no cat is truly hypoallergenic.

Sphynx cats are not actually completely hairless. They may have a small amount of fur on their noses, ears, feet, and tails. Photo credit: Brooke Arnold Photography

About.com interviewed Dr. Richard Meadows with the University of Missouri to talk about cat breeds for allergy sufferers. Here’s some of what he had to say:

Well unfortunately there are no good breeds for people with allergies. There’s one company that makes genetically engineered cats that are supposed to be allergen free. These are very expensive cats. They have genetically knocked out one gene in those cats for the one major allergen and there’s at least four of them, so they don’t knock them all out.

And here’s what Dr. Meadows recommends for those who have a cat and believe they might be allergic:

Well certainly they need to check with their allergist and follow their directions. As I said, grooming them regularly, knocking out the undercoat with one of those special combs and bathing them once in awhile if nothing else just rinsing them off with distilled water can do away with a fair amount of the allergen.

Are you allergic to cats, but share your home with them anyway? What do you do to keep your allergies at bay?

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Lori Johnson

    Jan 16, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    I worked as a vet tech for many years and am allergic to cats but was determined not to let that stop me (since I love cats!). Daily allergy medication helped keep it under control. Now that I don’t work in that environment, but still have cats in my home, I’ve found that I will suffer for about a week after getting a new cat and then my body seems to adjust to it and I don’t have any more symptoms, even with my two long-haired cats. I just can’t put my nose in their fur 🙂

  2. Amber E.

    Jan 17, 2015 at 1:53 am

    I found out I had cat allergies a couple years ago. I refused to get rid of my furbabehs, so I went to an allergist and am now on allergy shots. I’d had cats for 30 years before I found out I was allergic to them and dust mites.
    I would gladly get a shot every two weeks for the rest of my life than go one day without kitteh snorgles.

  3. Jessica

    Jul 21, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I have two Russian Blue kitties and I have to say that having that breed actually has drastically reduced my allergies. I pet sit from time to time and when I do my allergies come roaring back with any other breed even when I take allergy medicine. But with my Russian Blues I just take allergy medication and brush them regularly and I’m good to go!

  4. Nursey

    Feb 9, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I own 2 cats…I have allergies to cats ie stuffy nose, sneezing, red itchy eyes. These symptoms dissipate after about a month of getting a new cat. I take daily Claritin to make all these symptoms go away at baseline but it does take me a month even on Claritin to get used to a new cat and I can sometimes get itchy/sneeze at a friends place with cats, but it doesn’t bother me because I like cats. FyI..Claritin and other allergy meds take at least 3 weeks until you are symptom free from allergies.

  5. Tess van Dijk

    Feb 9, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I have female Siamese, that I really am not allergic to at all. But we brought a Birman in the house and I sneeze when ever he gets too close to me. His fur got matted one summer wo we shaved his body, funny looking but my allergies went away. It seems that he’s so much happier too, less fur balls and so am I .. I look forward to spring and the hair cut and so does my boy.

    • Sandra

      Dec 5, 2016 at 4:24 am

      I’ve been using Chief Architect Home Designer 9.0, which is inexpensive at around $60, and I’ve found it to be quite useful is creating a basic floor plan from which to start a coieerhpnsmve design project. Although there are many features in the product that I have not attempted to learn yet, most of the basic features are fairly intuitive and can be picked up rather quickly.

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