You have always wanted to own a Maine Coon cat because of its sweet temperament, adorable appearance and huge size. However, you are prone to allergies which is why you are hesitant to own one. The good news is, you may still be able to have one so long as you follow basic guidelines that mitigate cat allergies.
Are Maine Coons hypoallergenic?
No, Maine Coons are not considered hypoallergenic. No cat is allergenic-free although some breeds like the Sphynx, Russian Blue and Siberian are considered hypoallergenic because they produce less of the allergenic Fel d 1 protein and are thus less likely to cause allergic reactions.
What causes cat allergies?
Some people believe that allergies are caused by a cat’s fur but though this may be partly true, the primary cause it is the Fel d 1 protein which is produced by a cat’s sebaceous and salivary glands. It usually exists in a cat’s saliva, urine and dander or a cat’s skin secretions. Since cats are finicky groomers, these allergens are spread across their bodies when they lick their fur.
Since these allergens are light and sticky they tend to stick to various surfaces and may also stay in the air for a long time.
People who suffer from allergic reactions have very sensitive immune systems and when they come into contact with allergens they start to produce immunoglobulin E which is an antibody that aims to protect humans from viruses.
Tips to manage and minimize cat allergies
So, you badly want a Maine Coon cat but you’re allergic? Your best bet is to follow the following tips:
1. Brush and groom your cat regularly.
This will help remove the dander and allergens from your cat’s fur.
2. Bathe your cat.
Maine Coons love the water so this is another no-fuss way to remove allergens from your cat’s fur.
3. Always wash your hands after holding your cat.
Proper handwashing after holding your cat will effectively remove the allergens from your hands.
4. Minimize stroking your cat.
This may be hard to do but minimizing direct contact with your cat through stroking or petting will lessen your chance of having allergic reactions.
5. See to it that your cat does not lick you.
The less your cat licks you, the lesser change that you will be exposed to allergens.
6. Clean your home regularly.
Regular cleaning and vacuuming ensure that there are lesser allergens in your home.
7. Do not allow your cat inside your bedroom.
Not letting your cat spend sleepovers in your bedroom will significantly reduce exposure to allergens.
8. Always wear gloves when gardening.
Cat urine in the soil may also trigger allergic reactions so in case your cat has access to the garden always wear gloves when you tinker there.
Aside from these tips mentioned above, other measures that you can do to minimize cat allergies include taking an anti-allergy medication, using cat wipes and anti-allergen sprays, using a HEPA air purifier and changing the heating and air filters regularly.
Are there cats that are more hypoallergenic than others?
Yes, some cats are more hypoallergenic than others and produce less Fel d 1 protein. As mentioned above, the Sphynx and Siberian are considered hypoallergenic. Other cat breeds that produce less allergens include the Balinese, Russian Blue, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex and Javanese.
Also, studies show that male cats produce more Fel d 1 protein compared to female cats while neutered males produce less of the protein as opposed to intact ones. Needless to say, Fel d 1 production is based on the release of hormones.
Maine Coons are not hypoallergenic and in fact no cat is considered to be totally allergenic-free. There are certain breeds though that are commonly referred to as hypoallergenic since they produce less Fel d 1 protein which is responsible for the allergic reactions. Your best change of having a Maine Coon despite being prone to allergies is taking precautions like washing your hands after holding your cat, using anti-allergen sprays and cat wipes as well as cleaning and vacuuming your home regularly.
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