|Purred: Wed Jan 18, '12 3:35am PST |
|A few years ago, I was suffering from a severe allergic reaction to something (turned out that it was a medicine I was taking), and got a battery of allergy tests. I tested negative for cat allergies. However, I have more than a dozen cats, and am not too tidy a housekeeper, and my entire living space is covered with cat hair. When it gets into my eyes, I get an allergic reaction. I would not be allergic to one or two cats, but fifteen...
Cat allergies are caused by chemicals in the saliva and dander, but obviously, cat hairs are also tainted with these chemicals. I find that the hairs that get into my eyes (and mouth, and nose, and cover my clothing and my hands) are most likely to be the fluffy undercoat, rather than the guard hairs. All my cats but Spike are Maine Coons, with long or semilong fur. Spike is a typical domestic shorthair moggy (probably 100% Japanese, but he looks exactly like an American moggy), and he seems to shed more underfur than the other cats do. During shedding season, it comes out in big lumps when I pet him. He also has dandruff (perhaps because he is portly, making grooming a bit difficult for him). From my observations, it seems that shorthaired cats shed just as much or even more than longhaired ones.
It may be possible to minimize shedding by getting a cat with a single coat. Some breeds (some of the Rexes, Sphynx, Turkish Angoras, etc.) have single coats, and some moggies do too. But if you are going to buy a purebred cat, it is going to involve a lot of money, and you are not guaranteed that the cat is not going to cause you allergy problems. Don't be fooled by shelters that label cats as purebreds--sometimes they are, but usually they are not. If you want to get a purebred from a rescue, try the various purebred rescue services. They are usually more knowledgeable about breeds than regular shelters are, and have a vested interest in saving their particular breed. Shelters want to save kitty lives, period, and will sometimes put a breed label on a cat in order to facilitate its adoption. Be especially wary of cats labeled Turkish Angora. The modern day TA breed is very rare and not likely to show up in shelters to the degree that shelters would have you believe.
So, yes, shedding can cause allergic reactions because of the saliva left on the cat hairs. A cat with a single coat may or may not cause fewer allergic reactions.
It is said that males produce more allergens than females, and some people say that dark cats produce more allergens than light colored ones. This is debated. However, if you consider that cats shed more when the days grow longer and they are exposed to more sunlight, and that dark colors absorb more sunlight than light colors do, it seems that there could be some truth in this. Are brown (i.e. grey) tabbies considered dark colored? Compared to white cats, yes, but compared to a black and white cat???
I am not sure if anyone has recommended allergy shots. I don't know how well they work with cat allergies, but a friend of mine with hay fever swears by the shots she gets every year from her doctor.
I wish you luck.
|my posts | my page | msg me | my family's posts | gift me | become friends|| [notify]|