Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

For those cat lovers with allergies...

flipgirl4
November 16th, 2008, 12:13 AM
My brother is very allergic to cats but his wife loves cats. They used to have 3 but had to rehome them because of his allergies. So today, my sister-in-law was looking up cat allergies and found two breeds of cats that are naturally hypoallergenic. One is called Siberian cat and the other is a Russian blue. Apparently, these cats have the lowest amount of the glycoprotein (dander). Siberians are good with kids, they can learn to play fetch, will come when called and they are in different colours.. black and blue smoke, colorpoint, sealpoint etc. But some of them are HUGE (the same as a MaineCoon perhaps)! And apparently they are quite vocal; they like to have conversations with their owner. She read a story where this guy had severe allergies but desperately wanted a cat. He found a Siberian and now he breeds them. They can range from 10-17 lbs. There is also a breeder that will send you a fur sample so you can see if you are allergic to a Siberian. Russian Blues are loyal once you have gained their trust and they are like a blue-grey colour (they kind of look like a puppy). They are 6-9 lbs. She found a breeder in T.O. but they aren't cheap; she'd rather adopt a rescue but the only one she found is in B.C.

Here's a url describing the Russian blue: http://www.cfainc.org/breeds/profiles/russian.html - it doesn't say anything about it being hypoallergenic.
Here's a site for Siberians: www.siberiancatscanda.com

Here's the wikepedia url for cat allergies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_allergy

The article also mentions LaPerma, Sphinx, Cornish and Devon Rex.

I'm sure you all have heard of these cats; I don't know anything about them but I learned alot about these two breeds tonight as my sister-in-law is now obsessed with getting one or two of these cats. Just thought I'd put it out there.

sugarcatmom
November 16th, 2008, 12:24 AM
I haven't heard about Russian Blues being hypoallergenic, but have heard the claim that Siberian Forest cats are. They are also very expensive. I would tell your SIL to be very cautious about getting her hopes up. It's not a guarantee that her husband still won't have a reaction, and then what happens? Do they re-home yet another cat? Is he willing to tough it out this time if he finds out he's still allergic?

flipgirl4
November 16th, 2008, 12:33 AM
One of the breeders said that if they do find out that he is allergic, they can bring the cat back after two weeks. (Well the breeder would take the cat back if it had congenital defects etc throughout its lifetime) The breeder also suggested for hiim to come visit their home to see if he has a reaction.

According to wikipedia, (which can give questionable information at times) there is no scientific evidence that these two breeds are hypoallergenic. They are expensive, from $800-$1800. Thanks for the advice though, I will tell my sil.

Love4himies
November 16th, 2008, 08:33 AM
There can be no guarantee that any cat is hypoallergenic. Your brother could have a reaction to any cat, depending on how severe his allergies are. My hubby finds it takes a few months to get used to any cat before his allergies subside and this could happen to your SIL hubby. The first two weeks are usually the worse.

If they had to rehome 3 cats already, I don't think they should chance it with another cat, unless they are willing to stick it out for 6 months, be willing to get quality ventilation system, to keep the house very clean, and for him to be willing to take allergy meds. If they don't have a excellent HRV installed in their home already, I highly recommend they get some quality hepa filters through out their home. DH finds keeping the HRV on low during the winter months when the windows are closed up makes a huge difference in his breathing.

bubbles007
November 16th, 2008, 11:05 AM
Wow thanks for the link, I never knew these type of cats even existed. I am not allergic, but was looking at possibly getting another cat, was thinking of a ragdoll, but I might go for a Siberian, since the two are close in appearance and I have friends family that are sensitive to cats..

flipgirl4
November 16th, 2008, 05:59 PM
They have the hepa filters and they keep their house immaculately clean. I will, however, tell them to give it a second thought. Before they had 3 cats and 2 dogs so it was too much. Originally they had 2 cats and my brother had developed immunity to the allergies but when the pet population grew to 5 he had to use a puffer. Believe me, my SIL didn't take rehoming her pets lightly so I'm hoping that she makes the right decision.

I know it's not a guarantee that he won't be allergic but it gives others with allergies hope in getting a feline companion. Thank you for your replies and information. I appreciate the advice.

Love4himies
November 16th, 2008, 06:01 PM
We have 3 cats and I foster cats too. DH takes it all in stride.:D

Love4himies
November 16th, 2008, 06:03 PM
You can suggest to your brother and SIL that Ragdolls do not shed very much either and may be cheaper than a N Forest Cat. Just make sure the breeder has the parents genetically checked for HCM. They are known to be prone to it.

kiara
November 17th, 2008, 03:39 PM
The only cat breed that I know of that is supposed to be hypoallergenic is a Ragdoll, which is huge in size and very placid (hence the name). Very expensive about $900 to a $1000. I never heard of other breeds being hypoallergenic.

Love4himies
November 17th, 2008, 06:05 PM
Ragdolls are super specially sweet :cloud9:

flipgirl4
November 17th, 2008, 09:32 PM
I would not have thought Ragdolls were 'hypoallergenic'. I will tell my sil. Maybe she'll be able to adopt one although as they are super sweet, why would anyone desert them? I did meet one at a pet show and she was the sweetest Ragdoll. Thanks for letting me know!

bubbles007
November 17th, 2008, 10:03 PM
The only cat breed that I know of that is supposed to be hypoallergenic is a Ragdoll, which is huge in size and very placid (hence the name). Very expensive about $900 to a $1000. I never heard of other breeds being hypoallergenic.

hmmm, maybe i'll stick with the Ragdoll then... :thumbs up

Love4himies
November 18th, 2008, 06:56 AM
I would not have thought Ragdolls were 'hypoallergenic'. I will tell my sil. Maybe she'll be able to adopt one although as they are super sweet, why would anyone desert them? I did meet one at a pet show and she was the sweetest Ragdoll. Thanks for letting me know!

There are no TRUE hypoallergenic cats, just ones that shed less so there may be less dander in the air.

I got mine through the Cornwall SPCA and they do come up on shelters every once in a while, Jasper was found in a backyard being mauled by a dog, nobody claimed him. There were a couple of owner surrendered ones in the Ontario so they do come up. Lot cheaper than getting one from the breeder.

flipgirl4
November 19th, 2008, 12:52 AM
I realize that there are no hypoallergenic cats which is why I put the word in single quotes. From looking into the Siberian Forest cats, they don't produce as much of the glycoprotein or Fed D1 which is dander. It doesn't matter whether it sheds or not because cats lick themselves all over spreading the dander all over. Shedding doesn't cause allergies. As I said in a previous post, there is a breeder willing to send a fur sample and another breeder who will take the cat back if you are allergic to it (this breeder will also take the cat back at any time during its lifetime if it develops any congenital defects and replace the cat). All I'm saying is that these Siberians are potentially less allergenic than most other cats. They are from Russia and are treasured over there. I've seen them range from $800 to $1800 - pet cats are in the lower range and show cats are in the higher range. They are quite beautiful and big, like a Maine Coon. However, my Sil is trying to figure out how to rescue one as there is a rescue in B.C.

As for the Russian Blues, the only site that claimed they were less allergenic was Wikipedia, which also states that there is no scientific evidence that either the Russian Blue or Siberian are 'hypoallergenic'. But they are smaller and come in a blue-grey only. They are cute too.

SunnysMum
November 20th, 2008, 11:55 AM
I don't think Ragdolls are hypoallergenic! I have cat allergies (and 2 cats!). My sister has a Ragdoll, and when I visit her, I find her cat bothers me more than my cats do. When I visit her, it's usually for not longer than a week, but I usually have to take allergy meds most of the time I'm there.

Like I said - I have two cats -- they are your garden variety domestic long-haired and short-haired cats. Sunny (the long hair) doesn't bother me very much at all. Salem (the short hair) does bother my allergies (but not severely at all), but I'm just used to it (and he is my morning cuddle guy who wakes me each and every morning with lots of in-my-face loving -- I just keep the tissues handy!).

Sunny is a long-haired cat, but he's has a single-layer of fur; unlike my sister's Ragdoll, who is a long haired cat, but with really, really thick fur.

I had noticed about 8 years ago, that my cat (and dog) allergies were becoming less and less severe (they started in my late teens - I'm in my early 50's now). I would have never agreed to getting a cat had this not happened. I felt it was very important for my daughter to understand that pets are a long-term committment and backing out due to allergic reactions was not an option! We got our Sunny-Boy 5 years ago and added Salem to our family 1-1/2 years ago.

If anyone has severe cat allergies, I do not think they should try any cat. (just my humble opinion) When my daughter was small, she wanted a cat more than anything in the world. I wanted her to have a cat too (she is an only child, and I felt she benefit from a pet companion) - but I couldn't imagine living in the discomfort. I gave her stuffed ones instead and she carried them with her everywhere. She told anyone who would listen that "This is the only kind of cat I can have because my mom is allergic".

Luckily for us - the aging process changed a few things for me (some good - some not-so-good...:p )

ancientgirl
November 20th, 2008, 12:46 PM
If your brother loves cats so much, why doesn't he consider medication. I've gone this route, and it's no big deal. I started off taking 3 medications. Zyrtec, Cingular and Nasonex daily. While I still had some reactions to my cats, they weren't so severe I was miserable. I began this in April of 2007. As of December of 2007, I was able to stop taking both Zyrtec and Cingular and was able to control my allergies with just the nasal spray.

I think that was in part due to the fact I had grown accustomed to my cats dander and so now I only use the nasal spray maybe 2 times a week. I have 5, and every time I took on a new one I'd spend about a month going through the cycle again. But again, I got used to them. So now I have 5 and have very little issues. My allergies were so severe I would swell up and find it difficult to breathe. Oh, I also have asthma which is controlled, so as you can see it is possible to live with cats and still be allergic.

If I went near a new cat or dog I'd have an allergic reaction. You just have to give yourself time and be willing to go the long haul until you became used to it.

I had a Russian Blue many years ago, and was very naive and didn't know any better. I had her for close to a month and never thought I could get allergy medication for her. Having to give her away is guilt I live with constantly. I don't know you or your brother but he's already had to give away 3. It's not some matter of fact issue, it's a living creature that you are dealing with and it's very stressful to them. If he can have him spend some time somewhere where they have cats, suggest medication, and let him know to take his time making a decision. It's not fair to any cat he will get to have to be given away if things don't turn out well.

Love4himies
November 20th, 2008, 12:49 PM
You are right, sunnysmum, there is no hypoallergenic cat, not ragdolls or any other. Some just shed less, hoping there will be less dander in the air. Less fur that sticks to clothing, bedding etc. etc.

My hubby gets horribly affected by new cats. It takes about 6 months for him to get used to any new cat, then his allergies subside, maybe that is why your cats don't affect you as much as your sisters. :shrug:

I agree that the person with the allergies has to be in agreement with getting the cat and doing what it takes to alleviate the allergies (meds, cleaning, air filters) because pets are not disposable!

flipgirl4
November 22nd, 2008, 01:08 AM
My brother was okay when they just had two cats. At first, he was having a lot of trouble so he was on all the sprays and stuff but eventually, he got used to it. He lived with it because he knew his wife loved cats. But after the pet population grew to 3 cats and 2 dogs, the allergies worsened.

My brother is aware of what he would have to take - I think he wants to avoid the steroids. They are going to visit the breeder's cats and spend some time with the cats to see how he reacts. If he does, they won't be getting a cat. I don't think my sister-in-law wants to go through rehoming a cat again.

But yeah, maybe they should just get stuffed animals.

badgolfer828
December 28th, 2008, 08:42 PM
Russian blue were the only breed that never bothered my allergies.

TacoGrl
December 28th, 2008, 11:36 PM
You know, it is really wierd, since Mooki passed, I have sneezed maybe twice and my nose/head feel a lot clearer...I have NEVER been without a cat and have for the most part just accepted my nasalness as part of me! I never thought I was allergic to cats :rolleyes:

Having said that though, I am still looking for two more! I can put up with the nasalness (have for cough:30+:cough yrs), but I can sympathize if the allergies are debilitating...if not, I would certainly put up with it for the love of a furry friend. :)

faranya
December 29th, 2008, 09:18 AM
I was allergic - as tested - to several things, including cats and dogs (even to kleenex!). I went on the needle (immunotherapy) desensitization treatment some years ago as a middle-aged pet owner too stubborn to give up. I believe the concentration was on dust, since that was an element in pretty much all my allergies. It was a long process, with shots every week for some months, then every second week, then monthly. But it worked! I almost never use my puffer except when I have bronchitis from a cold. The treatment did not work on tobacco, though. I'm still violently affected by exposure to tobacco and its by-products. But cats and dogs are no problem anymore.

I haven't read any mention of this desensitization process in other posts so I thought I'd at least tell about my experience with it.

Best of luck with finding a suitable kitty. What about the hairless kitties? Sphynx, or Devon Rex (which have minimal hair) might be options.

Brenda

sugarcatmom
December 29th, 2008, 10:25 AM
What about the hairless kitties? Sphynx, or Devon Rex (which have minimal hair) might be options.


It's not so much the hair that's the issue for people allergic to cats, but a protein in the cat's saliva. A hairless cat grooms itself just as much and is therefore not any less allergy-inducing, unfortunately.

ancientgirl
December 29th, 2008, 11:37 AM
I've had Vlad and Oksana since April/May of 2007, both indoors at all times. Maks and Kiska came in November of 2007, and Czarina came inside full time in I think May of 2008.

After suffering with allergies for years and having to take medication with them, I now really don't need any medication. Even the nasal spray I was using regularly, I only need maybe once or twice a week, if that.

It is possible to grown accustomed to them, but you have to have patience and be willing to suffer a little along the way. The payoff is great. Mine are all over the apartment, they sleep with me, sit on me and it's not bad anymore.

kdick
December 29th, 2008, 09:35 PM
My husband is very allergic to cats. He has asthma and wheezes within minutes of contact with most cats. He's found that he can tolerate Devon rexes. We've had 2 at a time previously and have just one now. Even within a breed of less allergenic cats, individuals will produce more or less of the protein that causes the reaction. The breeder we got the last 2 cats from sends them home with us on a trial basis. And it's also important to note that kittens won't have fully developed the protein so even if he's not allergic to the cat as a kitten, he could be allergic to it as it grows. We've opted for young adult cats so that we will know before falling in love that he can live with them.

faranya
December 29th, 2008, 11:43 PM
I know that in my own case, it was the dust particles caught within the hair that caused trouble because I was also tested allergic to dust, dust mites, molds, mold spores, horses, feathers and kleenex - anything that could trap lint or small airborne particles. I was always much worse around my long-haired kitties as a result. And shedding season in the barn was a nightmare! But I would imagine the immunotherapy could be tailored to include feline saliva and an allergy specialist would probably explore this option. I don't believe it was part of my own treatment, though. I think it was a broad-ranging thing targeting mostly the particle-related issues. It also didn't include my other allergy to scents based on orris root.

But I do recommend that anyone with allergies check out the procedure. I went from having such violent nosebleeds that I ended up in the ER, to normal nasal congestion owing to colds. Changed my life.