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Which Of These Cats Is Better For An Allergy Sufferer? You Might Be Surprised.

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For those of us that are allergic to cats (and still love them), the search has always been on to find one that we can be around without the pesky symptoms of allergy.

If you are allergic to cats, especially if your allergy produces an asthma attack, your best bet is to avoid exposure to all cats.  But some of us want to be around cats without itchy eyes, a runny nose and congested head.

If you had a choice between the two cats shown, which do you think would be less allergenic? What you had more information? OK, there is a tiny tidbit more info. The Persian shown is a female and the hairless cat is male.  Still don’t know?

Of the two cats shown, it is more likely that the white cat would spread less antigen into the environment. Because the antigen, Fel d 1, is found in sebaceous glands, saliva and the urine of male cats, all cats will have some Fel d 1, but if the white cat is female and the antigen is found in the urine of only male cats, then she might be less allergenic.  Furthermore, people speculate that the long hair, instead of being a source of the trouble, might actually hold the protein molecules closer to the skin and therefore release less into the air where allergic people could breathe it. Finally, some have conjectured that light colored cats produce less Fel d 1 than their dark counterparts.

It is important to note that other studies have shown no relationship between coat length or color on the amount of antigen in the dust of a home. Although eliminating a cat from the home of an allergy sufferer might be the best way to improve their symptoms, other studies have shown that in the US, the antigens are generally present. 2

So don’t rush out and buy a hairless cat just because you have allergies.  There is no truly non-allergenic cat.

 

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  1. Allergy Asthma Proc.2012 May-Jun;33 Suppl 1:S2-5. doi: 10.2500/aap.2012.33.3531.Chapter 1: an overview of allergens.Shah R1Grammer LC.
  2. AllergyClin Immunol. 2004 Jul;114(1):111-7.Dog allergen (Can f 1) and cat allergen (Fel d 1) in US homes: results from the National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing. Arbes SJ Jr1Cohn RDYin MMuilenberg MLFriedman WZeldin DC.

 

Written by Dr. Kathryn Primm
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