Having a child with allergies or having them yourself means that you probably try to stay away from pets and hesitate bringing some into your house. Cat allergies are twice as frequent as dog allergies and they vary in severity. If the one present in your home is mild then that doesn’t mean that you should completely stay away from pets. Here is our guide on finding the best cats for kids with allergies and some tips on what to do to minimize the risks.
Some Facts About Cat Allergy
Cat allergies are genetic so if one of you has this problem then your children can inherit it too. The immune system makes antibodies that try to fight the substances which can harm your body and if you have an allergy then the system thinks the allergens are also something harmful so it tries to fight them off.
The dead skin of the cat can trigger this, so can the salivary glands and even their urine can give you symptoms of allergy. Since the dead skin particles are so small they can still be present in your home months after the cat was taken elsewhere and it can also linger in your clothes.
There is a protein called Fel D1 which is present in the cat’s saliva and it is one of the triggers of the allergy. As cats lick their coat the spit dries there and becomes airborne so it will eventually get into your sinuses. There are some cats which produce less of this protein and they are called hypoallergenic for this reason.
The most common symptoms are swelling and itching of the membranes around the eyes and nose which can lead to a stuffy nose and the eyes will be swollen. There are also signs of rashes on the faces, necks or upper chest in some cases and if the particles get into your lungs they can cause problems when breathing.
Among the most important factors to keep into consideration when it comes to allergies you should remember that males produce more allergenic secretions than females. Neutering a male cat will reduce the quantity of allergens. Kittens produce less allergens than adults and one very strange fact is that the light colored cats produce less than the dark colored ones!
Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
There is no such thing as a cat that doesn’t produce any allergens so if you have a serious problem with allergies then having no cat might be the only solution. For milder cases though, there are some species
of cats that are hypoallergenic and these will provide an option for cat lovers who suffer from allergy problems.
Even if you have a hypoallergenic breed, remember to take precautions such as frequent baths and brushing (preferably done by someone who isn’t allergic). Also wash the toys and the cat’s bedding often since this will reduce the allergens floating through your home.
The “long haired Siamese” as it is also known is one of the few cat breeds which produces less Fel D1 proteins and even with such a long hair they are thus a great choice for someone who has allergy problems. They were names after the dancers of the Indonesian island and they are really intelligent, agile and love to play.
The Siberian and the Balinese are the two breeds where the dreaded Fel D1 protein is produced less and thus they are great options for persons with allergies. The Siberian has a moderately long coat and there are even some studies showing that around three quarters of the people with cat allergy show no symptoms when confronted with Siberian cats so you should definitely check them out.
These spotted cats are very athletic and their short and soft coat mean that they can be good for people with allergies. Their name comes from the ocelot which they resemble and even if they look like wild cats they are actually very affectionate and intelligent.
They are a Siamese hybrid developed in England to have more variety in their color and patterns. Not as talkative as the Siamese, they still want to be in the center of attention. If this doesn’t happen they will get upset but if you offer them enough care they will definitely return the favor.
These large cats have a double coat and this is the thing that stands out the most as it shimmers with reflective light. Their eyes are yellow when they are kittens and then change into a bright green, making them very lovable. Their fur doesn’t shed in the normal way and they also produce less of the Fel D1 protein so they are great for allergies.
With medium-long coat that doesn’t mat, these are hypoallergenic because they lack an undercoat and thus have less fur. Very energetic and loyal, these cats will have you fall in love with them since day one. They are also really intelligent so you can train them to do a lot of things.
Among the two “Rex” breeds on the list this one has shorter fur and thus they are easier to groom. The pews and ears have to be cleaned frequently since oil keeps gathering there but they don’t need full baths so often. Thus this is a great choice for a low-maintenance hypoallergenic cat.
it sheds less hair than other cats but they do require a lot of maintenance. They are affectionate and bond easily but if you ignore them they will probably do some nasty things to attract your attention. They are very active and agile so you will see them all over the place.
Obviously having a cat with no hair means that there will be less allergens and thus the Sphynx breed is a perfect choice. They do require some maintenance though as oil keeps building up on their skin and the large ears also need to be cleaned frequently. They are very energetic and like to go on heights but are recommended for apartments most as the outdoors can cause them harm. The lack of fur means that they aren’t too protected from the sun and this can lead to problems.