Tibetan cats are naturally curious and playful. They have elegant looks and are very communicative toward their humans. It is no wonder that it is gaining recognition as a breed, even though it is a relatively new one. If you are planning to own one, have yourself checked for allergies to ensure that your life won’t be endangered by a cat.
Are Tibetan cats hypoallergenic?
No, Tibetan cats are not hypoallergenic; no cat is truly hypoallergenic. All felines produce the Fel d 1 protein, the allergen responsible for cat allergies. Although Tibetan cats only shed a little because they have no undercoat, they still produce allergens and are likely to trigger allergy attacks among cat allergy sufferers.
What is a cat allergy and what are the symptoms?
People who suffer from a cat allergy are allergic to Fel d 1, the allergen found in a cat’s urine, saliva, and dander (dried skin flakes).
These are the typical symptoms of a cat allergy:
- swollen, red, itchy, and watery eyes
- nasal congestion
- itchy nose
- ear pain similar to the pain caused by ear infections
- itchy or chronic sore throat
- rashes or hives on the face and chest
Here are the treatment options for a cat allergy:
- Over-the-counter medications including antihistamines like Benadryl and Claritin.
- Immunotherapy injections: a periodic injection therapy meant to suppress the body’s natural immune responses to cat allergens
- Corticosteriod nasal sprays like Flonase and over-the-counter decongestant sprays
- Leukotriene inhibitors like Singulair and cromolyn sodium that prevent the release of immune system chemicals
How to Control Your Cat Allergy
While you cannot completely eliminate your allergy, there are measures you can take to reduce and manage your cat allergy.
- Do not allow your cat to go in or stay in your bedroom.
- Always wash your hands after touching or petting your cat.
- Opt for wood or tiled flooring and clean walls instead of upholstered furniture and wall-to-wall carpeting to reduce allergens.
- Wash rugs and furniture covers regularly with hot water.
- Cover air conditioning and heating vents with a cheesecloth to filter dust and allergens.
- Bathe your cat at least every four to six weeks to minimize allergens.
- Use an air cleaner or purifier in your room.
- Keep the humidity level in your home around 40 percent.
- Vacuum your home weekly with a HEPA filter vacuum.
- Always use a face mask while vacuuming and cleaning your home.
- Change the filters of your furnace and air conditioning units regularly.
- Have someone without allergies clean your cat’s litter box regularly.
Interesting Facts about Tibetan Cats
- The breed is a cross between a semi-longhaired Balinese and a Burmese. Some people consider it as the longhaired version of the Tonkinese cat breed, which is a cross between a Siamese and Burmese cat.
- It is a recognized breed in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, North America, and South Africa.
- These cats were bred in the Netherlands by Agnes Driessen in 1992 and developed from a cross between Balinese and Burmese cats. The crossbreeding also ventured to the Balinese and Tonkinese cats, resulting in the semi-longhaired Tonkinese-looking Tibetan cats.
- The Tibetan and Tonkinese cat breeds are often called “twins.” The main difference is the Tibetan’s bushy tail and coat length.
- Tibetan cats have soft, silky, and flowing coats that give them their elegant looks. They have sturdy bodies, well-developed muscles, slender legs, and bushy tails. They are also medium in length.
- Its basic coat markings with matching eye colors are the following:
- Mink – the result of blending the Balinese and Burmese coat pattern; blue-green or aquamarine eyes
- Pointed – pale coat and colored ears on the points such as the face, tail and legs; blue eyes like the Balinese
- Sepia – a solid color with a slight color distinction between the coat and points; chartreuse or amber eyes
- They have lush coats but shed only a little. They have fewer chances of tangled hair because they do not have an undercoat. These cats only need to be brushed twice a week.
- These cats have an extroverted personality like the Tonkinese. They are friendly, communicative, spontaneous, and sociable. They crave companionship and they like to explore the house. Cabinets and secluded spots are their favorite areas.
- The Tibetan cat has a life expectancy of 13 to 17 years. They do not have any breed-related health problems. Just as with other cats, this breed needs annual vaccinations to protect it from common feline diseases.
Tibetan cats are elegant-looking cats because of their silky flowing coats and distinctive looks. They are not hypoallergenic because all cats produce allergens found in a cat’s saliva, skin, and urine. They shed only a little and have fewer chances of matted hair because they have no undercoat. However, special precautions should still be taken if you want to own one because you never know when a cat allergy attack will occur.
Image: istockphoto.com / scottjay