If you suffer from cat allergies, you may mistakenly believe that hairy cats are the culprit and hairless ones are “safe.” The fact is cats with hair and those without can contribute to your symptoms of sneezing, coughing and watery eyes if you are allergic. The trick is to learn about how different breeds may impact your allergies and how to minimize the affect on your symptoms.
First, it’s important to understand why all cats, regardless of hair or lack of, cause allergic reactions. The cause is a protein called Fe d 1, found in their saliva. This cat allergen is transferred to the cats’ hair and skin every time they groom themselves. You are not allergic to the hair that gets everywhere if you have a cat but to the protein or dander on the hair.
Even hairless cats create dander or dead skin which contains the protein from their saliva. Of course, it will float around your house just like cat hair. That's why it's so important to dust and vacuum regularly to keep your house clean.
Here’s the lowdown on the different breeds and how they may affect your sensitivity.
CATS WITH HAIR
Cats with hair groom and shed constantly. You’re going to end up with hair everywhere whether you have a longhaired or shorthaired cat. I have two “so-called” shorthaired cats, both tabbies. One is an orange tabby and the other a black and white. If I don’t vacuum and clean regularly, everything in the house begins to look orange and black from hair. I can remember going to the doctor recently and the first question he asked was whether I had a cat or not. The give-away clue was all the cat hair on my socks.
The key is to vacuum and clean the house often to reduce the amount of hair in your home environment. A worthwhile investment would be a high-quality vacuum with a HEPA air filter or at the very least, make sure you change your vacuum bags regularly. If you don’t like vacuuming, consider purchasing a Roomba that roams around every day doing the work for you.
Other measures that may help prevent an accumulation of dandruff include:
•Brushing your cat daily to prevent an accumulation of dandruff.
•Bathing your pet, if you dare, regularly with a specially formulated cat shampoo. This also may help reduce the build up of dandruff.
CATS WITHOUT HAIR
Cats without hair do not "solve" any allergy problems because the allergens come from the tongue. They still groom themselves and produce cat dander which affects your allergies. Keep your home clean to reduce the “load” of dander in your environment. Bathing your pet will help too.