by Nomi Berger
Are you for cats but your allergies are against them? Don’t despair. There ARE solutions. Although not purr-fect, they are certainly more paws-itive.
But first: Allergies 101.
What is the culprit behind your sneezing and itching, coughing or wheezing?
The protein Fel D1 in cat saliva. When cats lick their coats, the allergen-laden saliva dries, becomes airborne, and like a warmth-seeking missile, will head straight for your sinuses.
Low allergen or “hypoallergenic” (NOT to be confused with “non-allergenic”) cats produce fewer allergens than other cats. Note the word “fewer”. But, saliva aside, all of these cats must be groomed frequently, which includes brushing and wiping them down, to keep their dander (like dandruff, dander is composed of skin cells and can cause allergies in people) to a minimum.
Listed below are seven breeds best suited to allergy sufferers:
Often referred to as the “long-haired Siamese”, they are intelligent, inquisitive and very social. Despite their appearance, they produce less of the notorious Fel D1 protein, causing fewer allergy symptoms.
Active, curious and people oriented, they have both shorter fur and less fur. And while their paw pads and ears need frequent cleaning due to oily buildups, they require fewer full baths than either the Cornish Rex or the Sphynx.
Curious and friendly, they get along easily with people and other pets and have no fur except for a fine undercoat. Like the Sphynx, they need frequent full baths due to the oily buildup on their skin.
Fearless, energetic and friendly, they may be hairless, but they require frequent full baths to remove the gummy buildup on their skin. Their nails and overly large ears also require frequent cleanings.
Loyal, energetic and playful, they have thick triple coats with a surprisingly low concentration of Fel D1 in their saliva.
BUT before you consider inviting any of these breeds into your life, you MUST spend time with them to test your reaction to them. If your allergies should flare with one, remember that you still have another six from which to choose.