No, Norwegian Forest cats are no less hypoallergenic than the average house cat. They might even be more allergenic. Although some people report getting fewer problems with Norwegian Forest cats compared to other breeds, this is just anecdotal and should not be treated as fact. So, if you or any person in your house is allergic to cats, this breed may not be right for you.
If you plan on getting a Norwegian Forest cat but have concerns regarding your or a family member’s allergies, keep reading.
What is the Norwegian Forest cat?
The breed was first shown in the Norway cat club in 1938, and the Norwegian Forest Cat Club was created in 1975. Since then it has been a well-loved domestic breed. They are also lovingly known as “Wegies”.
It is a large cat breed, alongside the Maine Coon and the Ragdoll. It is a sturdy and well-muscled cat, but is a bit of a late bloomer. It does not reach full adult size until around five years old.
A male Norwegian Forest cat can weigh between 12 to 16 pounds, while a female is smaller at 9 to 12 pounds full grown.
Norwegian Forest cats have big, beautiful almond-shaped eyes and striking features. Their impressive coat over a substantial frame makes them larger than life.
Norwegian Forest cat personality
The Norwegian Forest cat temperament is one of royalty. They are social but only on their own terms. If you want kitty cuddles you will get them only if it wants to. But if you are sitting with a laptop on your lap, if your cat decides that it is time for attention, it will not hesitate to jump right on top of your keyboard. They can be entirely happy as an indoor cat because of their social nature and desire for company.
Norwegian Forest cat behavior
Norwegian Forest cats are very intelligent and moderately active. A home with fun toys, a tall cat tree, a sturdy scratching post, and lots of attention will keep this cat well-adjusted and happy.
They are likely to have bursts of playfulness and energy followed by long naps.
They have a reputation for climbing. They will enjoy access to high vantage points so do not be surprised to find them on top of your cupboards.
Are Norwegian Forest cats hypoallergenic?
No, they are not hypoallergenic.
All cats, including hairless and non-shedding breeds, produce a protein called Fel D1 in their saliva and skin. This protein becomes airborne when cats groom themselves because it gets onto their fur from the saliva on their tongue. Inhaling the airborne particles trigger an allergic reaction in humans who are sensitive to the Fel D1 protein.
Since all cats produce Fel D1, there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat breed. And with the breed’s long hair and tendency to shed, this breed is not ideal for anyone who has a cat allergy. This breed can be a good option for families with mild cat allergies.
Why are Norwegian Forest cats not considered hypoallergenic cats?
Norwegian Forest cats have a thick coat on its body that has medium size hair. The medium size hair can shed very aggressively if not maintained perfectly. You can expect frequent shedding from your cat which is also the reason why they are not considered as a hypoallergenic breed. Their dander with the protein allergen has a tendency to shed.
New hair needs room to grow, so the old hair needs to be shed. The Fel D1 protein found in their saliva and urine finds its way to the cat’s fur and the fur is shed in the summertime to keep their body cool, and in autumn when they need to produce new fur to layer up to keep their body warm.
What contributes to cat allergy in humans?
The two biggest causes that trigger allergic reactions to cats in humans is cat saliva and dander. These allergens usually come into contact with you when your cat scratches or rubs themselves against a piece of furniture in your house. The tiny particles attached to your cat’s dander fly into the air and spread throughout your home.
Cat urine also contains the Fel D1 protein and may also trigger an allergic reaction.
Reducing dander and allergens
Here are some tips to help prevent the spread of the allergen in your home:
- Clean all fabric furniture often. The frequency will depend on how often your Norwegian Forest cat sheds and how allergic you are. Clean your fabric furniture at least once a week with a dander removal product such as a lint roller.
- Keep your home as clean as possible to reduce the number of surfaces the hair and dander can stick to.
- Use an air purifier or filter. This may be the easiest and most effective way to significantly reduce dander in your home.
- Brush your cat’s coat twice a week to keep dander from forming as well as to lessen their shedding and matting. Their coat is lower-maintenance compared to other long-haired cats.
- Bathe your cat often. Even if your cat is not a big fan of baths, using a high-quality cat-safe shampoo will reduce the amount of dander in their coat. Never compromise with the quality of your cat’s bath products, as a cheap shampoo can cause rashes, stomach upset, and other issues. It can also dry out your cat’s skin, making the flakes on their skin more likely to become airborne.
- Feed your cat good quality cat food. Cheap cat food might make your cat break out in a rash causing them to scratch themselves more than usual getting dander into the air quicker.
- Wash your hands after petting your cat. This is so you will not be touching your nose or any part of your face with your hands that are full of the allergen.
No, Norwegian Forest cats are not hypoallergenic. Their long coats provide dander for the allergen Fel D1 protein to stick onto and become airborne. They are not ideal for people with cat allergies.
These regal cats need to be brushed twice a week and bathed frequently to get their dander under control. Make sure to vacuum and clean all fabric surfaces in your home. Wash your hands every time you touch your cat. If you can afford to, buy an air purifier to filter the dander and allergens in the air in your home.
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