If you experience a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, or even breakouts of rashes or hives, you might be one of the many people allergic to something around you. It will sometimes happen that unfortunately, the allergen is your own lovely cat.
Cat allergies are very common, but just because a member of your family experiences allergy-related symptoms around cats, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are bound to not have a cat ever. If you really want to own such a cute pet then there are a few allergy treatments and even techniques like properly bathing your cat, which will limit the allergens. You can also try to pick the cat breed carefully, so that it will be almost hypoallergenic, meaning that it will cause very limited allergic reactions. And the best thing is that you can even find this type of cat in a shelter around you.
It is very important to know what will cause the allergic reaction when you’re allergic to felines. According to NBC10 Boston, the allergic reaction is usually caused by urine, tears, alive, or dander from a cat and not from her fur, although most people think that the hair is behind their symptoms. Every time a cat uses the litter box or grooms herself, she will release an allergen known as Fed D1. The allergen will travel by air and will usually land on the cat’s hair or skin. You will usually get an allergic reaction when you either touch the hair or even the dander of the cat containing the allergen or when you breathe the air containing it.
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What’s especially important to understand is that there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat because all cats will release this particular allergen. Even so, there are some cat breeds that are known to release less of this allergen than others. Usually, cats producing the most Fed D1 are those with a dark-color coat and unneutered males. When it comes to the length of the cat, this will matter because longhaired cats are known to hold the allergen for longer inside their coats, while shorthaired ones won’t.
So what is the best cat for someone allergic to felines? If you suffer from allergic reactions and are looking for a more hypoallergenic cat, then you should go for either a neutered male or a female, with long hair and a light-colored coat.
You will be able to find a hypoallergenic cat to adopt but this is a process that might take some time. Keep in mind that when I talk about hypoallergenic cats, I am referring to cats less likely to produce allergic reactions. No cat will be 100% hypoallergenic. Among breeds that will release less Fel D1 allergen will be the Siberian, Burmese, Bengal, and Balinese, although they will still prompt allergic reactions, especially in those very vulnerable.
You might be able to find a cat from one of these breeds, although they are usually rarer and are almost never found abandoned in rescues. If you really want to adopt one, then you will usually need to be very vigilant, keep an eye on all rescues and be patient. There is also a chance that you might have to travel quite a lot to a rescue that has one of these rare breeds. Your best bet would be to just look for and contact breed-specific rescues. While talking to them, don’t just ask for available cats, but also ask whether or not they can put you on the holding list for future felines. For instance, there are quite a few Bengal rescue centers all around the US. You might get lucky and find the perfect cat if you’re checking with them regularly both on the phone and by email or if you connect to their social media pages.
Considering that cats are never 100% hypoallergenic and if the breed is not important for you, you might find a cheaper alternative if you adopt a cat from a shelter instead of buying a purebred one. It might be better for you to go for a light-colored neutered male or female with long hair because these tend to release fewer allergens.
According to The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology the best way to prevent strong allergic reactions when you have a cat is to wash your hands right after you pet it, keep her away from your bedroom, run a HEPA cleaner as often as possible in your living room and bedroom, and vacuum your home periodically. As long as your cat won’t have a problem with it, you should also bathe her at least once every week to reduce the allergen released by her in your home.
If you’re allergic to cats it really doesn’t mean you have no way of socializing with these wonderful creatures. It only means that you will have to be very careful when choosing the one to adopt and then caring for her. You can even talk to your doctor about allergy shots or medication that might help you have an easier life next to the animal. When going to a shelter and trying to adopt a cat, always be direct with its staff and tell them about your problem with allergies so that they can guide you towards a specimen that is known to release less allergen. Any shelter will be more than happy to help you find the best cat to own and to make sure you’re a great fit for her, to prevent you or her from coming back.