Are you enamored by the sweet-tempered and affectionate Snowshoe cat? These gentle felines are mellow and enjoy the company of humans. However, if you suffer from cat allergies you may need to weigh your options first. An allergy attack can be potentially fatal if it is not treated promptly.
Are Snowshoe cats hypoallergenic?
No, Snowshoe cats are not hypoallergenic; there are no truly hypoallergenic cats. All felines, including the hairless breeds, produce the Fel d 1 protein, the allergen that triggers allergic reactions. This allergen is found in their skin, saliva, and urine, and can be transported into the air and onto other surfaces through fur and dander. While the Snowshoe breed tends to produce fewer allergens, it can still trigger an allergy attack in allergy sufferers.
What are cat allergy symptoms and how to manage them?
Some people are highly sensitive to allergens. They can develop breathing problems and rashes within minutes of entering a house with cats or touching one. These cat allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe; this will depend on a person’s level of exposure and sensitivity to allergens.
These are the most common cat allergy symptoms:
- facial pain due to nasal congestion
- runny, stuffy nose
- chest tightness
- shortness of breath
- red, itchy, and watery eyes
- hives or skin rashes (some people may also develop these after being scratched by a cat)
An allergist administers a skin-prick test to diagnose if you have a cat allergy. It is done by placing a small amount of cat allergen extract on your skin. The skin is then pricked with a small, sterile probe. It allows the liquid to seep under the skin’s surface.
You will be monitored to see if you experience swelling, redness, or other signs of a reaction. The results are usually known in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. Have yourself checked even if you are sure the symptoms are caused by a cat; similar symptoms that are caused by environmental exposure.
The best way to eliminate cat allergy is to remove the cat. However, you can still manage allergic reactions even if you have a cat at home.
Ways to manage your cat allergy:
- Do not pet, hug, or kiss your cat. Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling her.
- Bathe your cat at least once or twice a month to reduce airborne allergens.
- Restrict your cat from entering your bedroom since there is a higher chance she will spread allergens to the fabrics and bed through her fur.
- Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifier to reduce allergen levels in your home.
- You can also reduce allergen levels by regularly using a HEPA vacuum cleaner.
Treatment for cat allergy will vary depending on your symptoms. Your allergist can help determine the best treatment. Nasal symptoms are treated with oral antihistamines like Benadryl or with steroid nasal sprays. Eye symptoms are treated with antihistamine drops, and asthma symptoms are treated with bronchodilators or inhaled corticosteroids. Another effective treatment is getting an allergy shot that is meant to build tolerance over time by injecting increasing doses of an allergen.
Snowshoe cat breed: Origin, physical features and personality
This breed is considered a recent one. It was developed during the 1960s in Philadelphia by a breeder of Siamese cats, Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty. Its name comes from its distinctive markings- white feet and socks. Based on the kitten’s snowy-white “shoes,” the breed came to be known as the “Snowshoe.”
Ms. Daugherty also paired one of the white footed kittens with an American shorthair cat that sported tuxedo markings. When the kittens were born, they had inverted “V” markings on their faces. This marking has become one of the breed’s unique identifiers.
The breed’s body type is the moderate oriental or foreign type, the old style of Siamese that is now called Victorian or “applehead.” These cats are medium-sized, well-muscled, and athletic. They have blue eyes and weigh around 10 to 12 pounds with males generally larger than females.
The breed’s coats are short, plush, sleek, and soft. The coat colors are black, white, cream, and red with solid and white patterns. The points in the ears, tail, face, and sometimes legs are solid black-based colors. The seal point colors come in blue, lynx, lilac, fawn, and chocolate. They have white patterns along the face, chest, stomach, and paws with subtle shading to point color on the shoulders, back, and hips.
These cats have paw pads that may be white, flesh tone, mottled or point color. They are born white but their coats darken with age, sometimes even turning chocolate brown.
Snowshoe cats are sweet-tempered and affectionate cats that enjoy the company of humans. They tend to choose one favorite person in the family. They are social and meek but do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. They tend to be vocal (though not as loud as their Siamese cousins), and their voices are soft and melodic.
These felines are intelligent and can be trained to do tricks like fetching and opening various types of doors. They like playing with water and are not easily agitated despite being very active.
Do Snowshoe cats shed a lot?
No, Snowshoe cats do not shed a lot. Although they shed seasonally, the amount of loose hair is not excessive. They have medium to short coats and little grooming is necessary.
Snowshoe cats are affectionate, meek, and intelligent furballs. They are not hypoallergenic since no cat is truly hypoallergenic. All cats produce the Fel d 1 protein, the allergen responsible for cat allergies. However, you can still own and care for a Snowshoe cat so long as you take precautionary measures like vacuuming your home with a HEPA vacuum cleaner, restricting your cat from your bedroom, and washing your hands after handling your cat.
Image: istockphoto.com / Mik122