No, Calico cats are not hypoallergenic just as no cat is completely hypoallergenic. However, they are less likely to trigger allergic reactions especially because most of them are females which are known to produce fewer allergens compared to male cats. Calico is not a breed but a coat color pattern among cats and cats of several breeds may be a calico.
What causes cat allergies?
Contrary to a common belief it is not a cat’s fur that causes allergies. What really triggers allergic reactions is the Fel d 1 protein, a secretoglobin protein produced by a cat’s sebaceous and salivary glands. It thrives in a cat’s saliva, urine and dander or secretions on a cat’s skin. The allergens are spread in a cat’s body each time she licks her fur and may also stick to various surfaces as well as stay in the air for a long period.
People who are prone to allergic reactions have sensitive immune systems and the moment they come in contact with allergens they start producing immunoglobulin E, an antibody that protects humans from viruses.
These are the symptoms of cat allergy:
- rashes on the chest and face
- skin redness
- eye irritation
- runny, itchy and stuffy nose
- red and itchy eyes
Can you live with a cat if you are allergic?
Yes, you can still live with a cat if you are allergic, however, you may have to think twice if you have severe allergies and asthma. Most people with mild symptoms may still be able to live with a cat with the help of over-the-counter medication like antihistamines. Those with moderate allergies may consult with their doctor for the proper prescription medication.
Calico cats: Characteristics, personality and folklore
Calico cats are domestic cats of any breed with a tri-color coat that is usually a vibrant orange or technically known as red, white and black. It may also be flaxen, blue-gray and white also called a dilute calico. Colors may also be diluted to shades of blue, chocolate, cream or fawn. No two patterns are exactly alike and each color has its separate patches but is never blended or mixed as compared to tortoiseshell cats.
Calico cats can be long- or short-haired depending on the breed. Here are the breeds that allow the calico coat color pattern:
- Maine Coon
- Scottish Fold
- Turkish Van
- Turkish Angora
- Norwegian Forest
- Arabian Mau
Calico cats are nearly always females since the genetic determination of calico coat colors is linked to the X chromosome. One of the colors is linked to the maternal X chromosome while the second color is linked to the paternal X chromosome. Male calicoes are rare and require two X chromosomes, is a chimera with two different cell types or rarely when some skin cells of the developing kitten mutate. In most cases, males have a single color as they only have one X chromosome.
Interestingly, the rare male calicoes are usually sterile and also live a shorter lifespan. Cat experts estimate that perhaps one in every 3,000 calico cats is male and only one in 10,000 of male calico cats is fertile.
Calico cats are famous for their spunky, sassy and independent personalities. They are also loving, sweet and very loyal to their owners. These cats are known for being more strong-willed and temperamental compared to cats with other color coat patterns. Calicoes are known to have more attitude which some pet owners refer to as “cattitude” and they are quirky and neurotic with a tendency for strange play habits.
Folklore about Calico cats
Calico cats are believed to bring good luck among various cultures around the world. Germans refer to a calico cat as “Gluckskatze” which means lucky cat. These cats are sometimes called money cats in the United States and the Japanese depict them as bringers of good luck and protectors against misfortunes at sea.
Calico cats are domestic cats that have a tri-color coat. They are not hypoallergenic just as there are no cats that are 100 % hypoallergenic although they may trigger lesser allergic reactions since the majority of them are females. These cats are known to have a spunky and independent personality but they are also well-loved for their sweet and loving nature.
Image: istockphoto.com / s_derevianko