maine coon hypoallergenic kitten

Are Maine Coon Cats Hypoallergenic?

Hypoallergenic means that the product or animal has a very low incidence of causing an allergic reaction. Some cats, including the Maine Coon, are touted as being hypoallergenic. The short answer is no, Maine Coons are not hypoallergenic. In fact, no cat can be considered completely allergy free.

Are There Hypoallergenic Cats?

No. There are cats that produce less allergy-causing substances in their bodies. These cats such as the Hairless Sphinx and the Balinese are less likely to cause an allergic reaction but still can cause an allergic reaction in someone whose immune system is sensitive.

What Percentage of People Are Allergic To Cats?

maine coon hypoallergenic catAbout 10% of humans have pet allergies. Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. 20-30 % of those people with cat allergies have a severe reaction such as an asthma attack. Allergy tests can be done in your doctor’s office to determine what things you are allergic too.

People with allergies have weakened immune symptoms and are sensitive to outside stimuli. Their bodies feel they have to ward off what they perceive as being harmful. Our immune system naturally works to protect our bodies against such things as bacteria and viruses. In someone with a weakened immune system, their body may see the cats dander as dangerous and react as if it was harmful. Thus leading to our responses such as congestion or a rash.

There are several types of allergy tests. Scratch testing is when the doctor scratches the skin and then puts on a tiny amount of the allergen to see how your body reacts. Blood tests may also be done to look for allergen-specific antibodies in your blood.

What Causes an Allergic Reaction to Cats?

Many people assume that allergies are caused by an animals fur. But it is not the fur itself that causes the allergy. It is caused by dead skin cells that are often on the fur. What we often refer to as dander. Cats saliva and urine can also cause an allergic reaction. In addition, outside cats can carry in harmful things such as pollen and dust that can cause an allergic reaction. So it may not always be your cat that you are allergic to but the things that they are carrying around.

The protein called Fel d1 is the real problem. Fel d 1 unique to cats and found in the cat’s saliva, glands, and urine. When they groom themselves or go to the bathroom they are actually spreading this protein around there bodies. That is why cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. The protein is manufactured in your cat’s sebaceous glands.

Sebaceous glands are very tiny glands that are found in the skin. They produce an oil to lubricate the skin and fur in mammals. Its purpose is to keep the skin lubricated and helps the fur to shed water. Interestingly, your cat can develop skin problems if their sebaceous glands are not healthy and functioning properly.

When your cat grooms itself its saliva mixes in with its fur. As the salvia dries the protein becomes airborne and spreads throughout the cats living quarters.

Are Some Cats More Hypoallergenic Than Others?

maine coon hypoallergenic kittenScientists have found that male cats produce a greater amount of Fel d 1then female cats. And a neutered male produces less than an intact male. This is because the production of Fel d1 is based on hormone release.

Studies have looked at different breeds specifically those that are felt to be “hypoallergenic” The genetic pattern for this has been hard to isolate and scientists still do not have a reliable genetic test to isolate the Fel d 1 gene.

Some breeds have shown that they produce less Fel d 1. Such as the Balinese, Hairless Sphinx and Siberian. The Siberian cat was part of a 2017 study that found several mutations within the coding sequence for Fel d 1. Further research is needed but this may be one reason why the Siberian breed has lower than normal Fel d 1 in their bodies.

The Most Common Symptoms That Are Displayed With Cat Allergies

Symptoms range from the easily manageable ones such as a runny or stuffy nose or red, itchy eyes to the more extreme of throat tightening and asthma attacks.

What Can You Do to Prevent Allergies From Happening?

Allergies cannot be cured but they can be managed. There are many ways to manage the cat allergy.

  • Cleanliness is important. Washing your hands after petting your cat will remove any oils with Fel d 1 from your hands.
  • Keep the litter box clean – have a none allergic family member clean the litter box daily.
  • Vacuuming since the skin cells flake into the environment vacuuming frequently is important. Get a vacuum with a HEPA filter that traps dirt and dander.
  • Restrict your cat from coming into your bedroom. That way you can be assured of breathing non allergy substances at night.
  • Use a HEPA air filter to trap airborne particles in the house.
  • Make sure to change your heating and air filters, especially if you have a forced air HVAC system.
  • Does your cat have a favorite chair? Cover that chair with a cover that can be removed and washed frequently.
  • Anti-allergen sprays may also help.

Can You Take Medicine To Prevent Allergic Reactions?

maine coon hypoallergenic catTalk to your doctor about allergy medicines. It may be an over the counter antihistamine such as Benadryl or Allegra is helpful. Nasal steroid sprays such as Flonase may also offer some relief. If your allergies are more severe your doctor may prescribe a stronger medicine.

Immunotherapy has been found to be effective in several studies. Immunotherapy involves getting allergy shots from your doctor’s office. Immunotherapy can also be given sublingually, or as a dissolving tablet under the tongue. This procedure can help the allergic person over time to develop resistance to the allergens.

Commercial medications work to suppress the symptoms of an allergy. Natural medicines work with your body to protect you from allergens. Herbs such as stinging nettle and butterbur have antihistamine qualities. Instead of using nose sprays a neti pot and saline solution often have good results.

Bathing Your Maine Coon Cat

Regular bathing and grooming of your Maine Coon cat may help with allergies. Fortunately, unlike many cats, your Maine Coon may enjoy a bath and a good brushing. Remember to wear rubber gloves when bathing your cat to protect yourself from allergens. Use a quality cat shampoo or a gentle baby shampoo.

Have everything ready for their bath so it can be gentle and smooth. If your cat is unhappy about receiving a bath you can try cat cleaning wipes sold at pet stores. There is also waterless shampoo available but use sparingly as it can make your cats skin overly dry.

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