American Shorthair cats are good-natured and great family companions. They are intelligent and moderately active. However, if you are prone to allergies you need to be extra careful if you want to own one of these affectionate and sociable kitties.
Are American Shorthair cats hypoallergenic?
No, American Shorthair cats are not hypoallergenic and neither is any cat breed for that matter. Some people assume that this breed is good for people with allergies because they shed less fur than longer-haired cats. However, this breed, along with other cat breeds, can trigger allergic reactions in cat-sensitive people.
What causes allergic reactions?
Allergic reactions are caused by the Fel d 1 protein, the allergen which is present in the saliva, skin and urine of cats. Each time cats groom themselves, the allergen makes its way to the fur and spreads to the environment when cats shed their fur. Dander or dry skin flakes also help spread the allergen in the air during shedding.
Symptoms of cat allergy include the following:
- Puffy and swollen eyes
- Asthma or difficulty in breathing
- Skin irritation and hives
Cat allergy attacks vary from mild to life-threatening. Some people can even experience anaphylactic shock. When this happens, your blood pressure suddenly drops and the airways become congested.
You may experience allergic reactions even if there is no visible fur to be seen. Dander and dried saliva can float in the air and are not visible.
How to reduce cat allergies?
You can reduce the occurrence of cat allergies by following these steps:
- Do not allow your cat inside your bedroom.
- Wash your beddings at least once a week and wash your hands after handling your cat.
- Invest in an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
- Bathe and groom your cat regularly to prevent the buildup of allergens.
- Vacuum daily using a brand with a HEPA filter and run a lint roller over your furnishings.
- Take antihistamines to alleviate the symptoms.
American Shorthair cat: History, physical attributes and personality
Despite their name, American Shorthair cats originated from Europe. The first record of a cat of this breed was made in 1904 and the British Shorthair, also known as the Domestic Shorthair, was one of the breed’s parent cats. This breed was originally a working cat used to control the rodent population.
Since most of these cats lived outdoors their coats were cultivated to be thick and dense to keep them warm. They were also bred to be hardy, athletic and healthy since they were working cats.
This cat breed weighs eight to 12 pounds with males generally heavier than females. Their lifespan is 15 to 20 years and their eye colors include blue, copper, green, gold, hazel and they can also be odd-eyed.
They have a thick and dense coat with colors that include white, black, blue, cream, silver, red, brown, golden, blue-cream, cameo, chinchilla and tortoiseshell.
The coat patterns include solid color, bicolor, tricolor or calico, tortoiseshell, tabby, shaded and smoke.
These cats have a medium, stocky build, are heavily-muscled and have a round, thick appearance. They have broad chests, muscular necks, wide eyes, well-developed muzzles and strong jaws. These felines have strong and thick legs and are good rodent hunters.
American Shorthair cats are good-natured, adaptable and easygoing. They are loving and attach themselves to the members of their family. They are independent and do not need much attention. They will play and interact with you on their terms but they can also entertain themselves with mentally-stimulating toys.
These good-natured cats get along well with children although they do not like being carried. They prefer to sit alongside you and enjoy playing with puzzle toys. They are easy to train and not very vocal compared to other cat breeds.
Do American Shorthair cats shed?
Yes, American Shorthair cats do shed fur like any other cat breed. As their coat grows, some of the hairs fall out and are replaced by new ones. The loose hairs are shed and either falls out or become ingested by cats when they groom themselves.
What are the worst cats for allergies?
American Shorthair cats are sociable and good-natured that you would want to have in your home. However, it may not be the best decision if you suffer from allergies. These cats are not hypoallergenic and neither are any cats since they all produce the Fel d 1 protein, the allergen that causes cat allergies.
Image: istockphoto.com / kla3950