A hypoallergenic cat is a cat which is less likely to provoke an allergic reaction in humans. This topic is controversial, as many studies have failed to show statistically significant results.
Through owner’s experience and recent clinical studies it has been suggested that Siberian cats, are more likely to have low levels of Fel d1, the main allergenic protein. There appears to be a sex difference in Fel d1 allergen production. Female cats produce less of the allergen. Male cats which have not been neutered tend to secrete more of the protein than un-neutered male cats.
In 2006, the Allerca company announced the successful breeding of a line of hypoallergenic cats. However, no peer-reviewed studies have been done to confirm their claims and many scientists and consumers are sceptical of the company’s results.
There are some ways to reduce allergen levels in your home and cat.
For example, you can wash your cat 2 times a week as this has been shown to help reduce the allergen levels. The reason you would need to do this regularly is that studies have shown that the accumulation of of Fel d1 on the skin is restored within two days. This however may not be the best solution as most people know that cats are not fans of water and excessive washing can give them skin proble.s.
Keep your house as clean as possible by washing floors and bed linen often with hot water to eliminate the allergens. Wash clothes and bed linen using detergent solutions at 25°C (77°F) for at least 5 minutes – to extract cat allergen from bedding and clothing. Ensure you keep your cat out of your bedroom and laundry (keep it off your clean clothes) and provide it with its own bed.
One good idea is to create an outdoor enclosure for your cat so it can spend some time outside and not confined to an enclosed house and you get some fresh air in your home. You can also train your cat to go to the toilet outside as this can help eliminate the need for cat litter. If this is proving too difficult, keep the cat litter in a well-ventilated area and use litter that is as dust free as possible.
One thing to remember is that the prefix ‘hypo’ in the word hypoallergenic means ‘less than normal’. Therefore the word hypoallergenic does not mean non-allergenic. A hypoallergenic cat is less likely than other cats to produce allergic reactions in some people.