Siberian cats have striking, semi-long haired fur with delightful personalities. The Cat Fanciers Association refers to these cats as very personable, easygoing and with a calm nature. This breed is a joy to have in your home, but if you are prone to allergies you need to take extra precautions.
Are Siberian cats hypoallergenic?
No, Siberian cats are not hypoallergenic. No cat is ever considered 100% hypoallergenic since they all produce Fel d 1 protein, the allergen that causes allergic reactions. However, scientific research claims that this breed produces less of said allergen and that the males produce only a fraction of it. There are also claims that at least 75% of allergy sufferers did not have severe reactions to the breed.
A female Siberian cat is said to produce approximately 200 micrograms per gram of Fel d 1, while the average cat produces around 63,000 micrograms per gram. Unneutered Siberian male cats produce more allergens while neutered males and females produce less.
As mentioned, the Fel d 1 protein is the allergen that triggers allergies while the hair and dander are just its transport vehicles. It is deposited on the fur by sebaceous glands and the Siberian breed only produces minimal amounts of the protein. That said, there is no guarantee that the breed cannot trigger an allergic reaction, although there are measures to lower the risk.
Here are the measures that you can take if you want to own a Siberian cat despite an allergy:
- Opt to adopt or own a female cat.
- Always have antihistamines like Benadryl with you.
- Spend at least 30 minutes with a Siberian cat and take note of whether you have an allergic reaction or not, provided that your allergy is not life-threatening.
Precautionary measures to take if you own a Siberian cat
Here are precautionary measures that you can take if you have a Siberian cat:
1. Wash clothes and bedding regularly.
Keep the allergens at bay by washing clothes and bedding regularly. It’s preferable to use cotton fabric as it does not trap many allergens compared to polyester or wool.
2. Handwashing is a must.
Always wash your hands after you pet your cat and keep sanitizers handy at all times.
3. Teach your cat other means to show love.
Cats express affection by licking their humans. However, this can be detrimental for you if you are prone to allergic reactions. If they start licking, walk away from them.
Teach them other means to show love or you may both exchange slow blinks. Reward their good behavior with treats and attention.
4. Always have Benadryl and saline nasal spray in your medicine kit.
At the onset of an allergy attack, take antihistamines like Benadryl or opt for a saline nasal spray. It helps alleviate the symptoms to avoid severe allergic reactions.
5. Apply furniture polish on surfaces.
Furniture polish is an effective way to remove dust and will keep the airborne allergens down by 95%.
6. Use air purifiers with HEPA filters.
These air purifiers are essential to use in rooms with beds or textiles that trap cat fur. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. These purifiers work by forcing air through a fine mesh, trapping particles like pollen, pet dander, smoke and dust mites.
7. Use fabrics minimally.
Fabrics trap hair and allergens so try to keep it minimal in areas where your cat usually hangs out, like the living room.
8. Vacuum your home using a HEPA vacuum with micro-filtration.
Keep dander and allergens at bay by vacuuming furniture, carpets and other areas in your home.
9. Your bedroom should be a no-cat zone.
Do not allow your cat free access to your bedroom. Your bed and pillows are fur magnets so always keep the bedroom door closed.
10. Brush your Siberian cat regularly.
Brushing your cat will keep their fur smooth and shiny while preventing the spread of dander and allergens around your home.
11. Bathe your cat with a specially-formulated shampoo.
Siberian cats have water-resistant coats and like to be around water. Bathe them at least every four weeks and use a specially-formulated hypoallergenic shampoo.
12. Give your cat Omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
Cats can be prone to dry skin and dull fur which could result in an onset of allergens. Keep your cat’s skin and fur healthy by giving them Omega 3 fatty acid supplements.
Do Siberian cats shed a lot?
No, Siberian cats do not shed a lot compared to other breeds. They shed their longer and warmer winter coats in the spring and shed their shorter summer coat during the fall season.
Are Siberian cats high maintenance?
No, Siberian cats are not high maintenance. Their coat is easy to maintain despite its dense and thick texture. It only requires weekly brushing to keep it healthy and free of mats. However, during the shedding seasons, spring and fall, their coat should be brushed daily. See to it that the tight undercoat is brushed thoroughly.
Siberian cat profile
The Siberian cat breed’s formal name is Siberian Forest Cat but it is also called the Moscow Semi- Longhair. This ancient breed weighs around eight to 17 pounds with a semi-long coat. Its lifespan is 11 to 15 years. Its colors include white, blue, red, cream, black, silver and features various patterns and shadings.
These cats originated from Russia and have nearly round eyes with shades of green, gold and copper and some have blue eyes. They have wedge-shaped heads, medium to large tufted ears, strong-boned legs and thick tails.
Siberian cats are lovable, curious, playful and very fond of their humans. These easy going furballs are independent with powerful jumping ability. They are affectionate, friendly and enjoy games like fetch. They like to play with water, are easy to train and get along well with kids and other pets.
Siberian cats are semi-long haired cats that can withstand sub zero temperatures. They produce fewer allergens but they are not hypoallergenic since no cat is 100% hypoallergenic. However, you can still adopt and own one despite being prone to allergy attacks, as long as you take the necessary precautions. Vacuum your home regularly and use air purifiers with HEPA filters. Brush your cat regularly, bathe them and always keep antihistamines handy to alleviate allergy symptoms.
Image: istockphoto.com / Volha YAKUBOVICH