Countless prospective cat owners are prevented from fulfilling their dreams of getting a pet because of their allergies. Is the Siamese cat the perfect answer to their woes?
Are Siamese Cats Hypoallergenic?
No, Siamese cats are not hypoallergenic. In fact, no cat can truly be considered hypoallergenic. Although there have been efforts to breed a truly hypoallergenic cat, that remains a dream for many potential cat owners.
If Siamese cats are not hypoallergenic, where does this myth stem from?
Some people believe that their allergic reaction to cats is caused by fur. And because Siamese cats have short coats and do not shed as much as long-haired breeds like the Maine Coon or the Persian, these people think that a Siamese cannot trigger an allergic reaction.
Why are some people allergic to cats?
To understand why there is no truly hypoallergenic cat breed, it is vital to understand why there are people who are allergic to cats in the first place.
If fur is not the underlying cause of an allergic reaction to cats, what is?
If you are allergic to cats, you can blame the proteins found in the saliva, dander, and urine of felines. A person that has allergies has an immune system that is overly sensitive. Things that might be harmless for some people, like the proteins cats produce, can trigger the immune system of allergic people and treat these like it would harmful organisms like viruses and bacteria.
In fact, the symptoms of an allergic reaction are the same as the body’s reaction to harmful microorganisms. These symptoms include coughing and sneezing, rashes, red and itchy eyes, and runny nose.
An allergic reaction can occur anywhere between a few minutes to several hours after exposure to cat allergens. Furthermore, there is a significant segment of asthmatics who can suffer from an attack after getting near a cat.
However, it is important to note that the proteins from cats are not the only things that can trigger an allergic reaction. Apart from the proteins that can cause allergies, cats can also carry other allergens in their coats after coming in from outside. These include pollen and molds.
It is also worthwhile to point out that if you experience an allergy attack, it does not necessarily mean that you are allergic to felines. It is possible that you are allergic to other things. And the only way to confirm if you are allergic to felines or not is to undergo a test conducted by a doctor.
How did Siamese cats earn the reputation of being hypoallergenic?
All cats produce the protein known as Fel D1 which can be found in their urine, saliva, and dander. Usually, people that experience cat allergies react to the saliva of cats. The Fel D1 in cats can be transmitted through saliva or fur after a cat licks it.
As previously mentioned, there is no truly hypoallergenic cat breed because all felines produce the Fel D1 protein. However, the Siamese as well as other Oriental cat breeds do produce less Fel D1 protein.
Additionally, Siamese cats do not shed as much fur as other cats. This means that there is less Fel D1 protein that can be dispersed into the air that can trigger an allergic reaction.
These facts have led people to believe that Siamese cats and other Oriental breeds are hypoallergenic cats when in fact, they are not. Even worse, some breeders try to market their cats as hypoallergenic.
Are Siamese cats low shedding?
Although Siamese cats do shed, they do so at a considerably lower volume compared to other breeds. This, however, does not mean that you will not experience an allergic reaction to a Siamese if you choose to adopt one.
If you bring a Siamese cat home, you can still experience allergic reactions but not as often compared to adopting other cat breeds. They still produce Fel D1 proteins and as such, they can cause you to suffer from allergies.
Is it possible to live with a cat even if you are allergic?
Before giving up on your dream of owning a Siamese, or any other cat breed for that matter, you need to confirm with a doctor if you are indeed allergic to cats. It is possible that you are allergic to something else and it just happened that you were in the presence of a cat before your allergy was triggered.
And even if you are truly allergic to felines, that does not mean that you cannot own a cat. You can fulfill your dream of owning a cat even if you are allergic to felines. You do, however, have to take a few precautionary measures to limit your allergic bouts. You will still experience allergies but you can lessen these instances.
Here are a few helpful tips that you can use to reduce the allergic symptoms.
1. Create a cat-free zone.
Although you may want to spend all of your time together with your cat, when you are allergic to felines, you just cannot.
More importantly, you should designate a cat-free zone in your home. For this, most people recommend the bedroom. Simply put, do not let your cat sleep beside you or stay in your bedroom.
According to some studies, fur can remain suspended in the air while allergens can stick to bedding and other fabrics in the bedroom.
2. Groom your cat regularly.
You can minimize the amount of allergy-inducing fur inside your home by brushing your cat’s fur regularly. However, the best place to do this is outside. If possible, you should ask someone to do this for you.
As an added bonus, you can strengthen the bond between you and your cat.
3. Wash your hands after holding your cat.
Every time you touch your cat, be sure to wash your hands. This will minimize the chances of allergens clinging to your body.
Do not rub your eyes with your hands before washing them.
4. Remove allergen traps from your home.
Allergens can cling longer on certain types of fabrics, including carpets and upholstered furniture.
If possible, replace upholstered furniture and remove carpets and rugs from your home. If this is not possible, you can steam clean your carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture regularly.
5. Invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
Although vacuuming can suck allergens, it can also disperse these microscopic elements into the air.
If you must vacuum your home, you should use a cleaner that has a HEPA filter. A HEPA filter can drastically reduce the number of allergens that can be released into the air.
6. Use moisturizers on your cat to remove dander.
Some people recommend bathing a cat regularly to remove dander and prevent causing allergies. However, this can be downright impractical because you will need to wash your cat daily. And washing your cat daily can cause undue stress to your pet.
Instead of washing your cat, there are cleansers and moisturizers that you can use to eliminate allergens that have clung to your pet’s fur and skin.
7. Clean the litter box ASAP.
If you are allergic to your cat, you will need to scoop his poop and piss every time your pet does his business inside his box.
Aside from saliva and dander, allergens can also be found in cat urine. As such, you should clean the litter box every time your cat uses it.
8. Consider immunotherapy.
Aside from using medications like antihistamines and decongestants to help you deal with the symptoms of cat allergy, you might want to consider undergoing immunotherapy.
This type of treatment can help boost your tolerance to allergens. Although this is not exactly a cure for cat allergy, it can help limit your chances of suffering from an allergy.
There are no hypoallergenic cats
Although some people tout Siamese cats as hypoallergenic pets, that is incorrect. There are no hypoallergenic cat breeds.
But due to the breed’s low shedding and comparatively lower production of Fel D1 protein, it is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction compared to other breeds.
Image: istockphoto.com / Serena Yau