Siberian Forest Cats and Allergies

"Love is like a blanket: it will keep you warm, but it might also suffocate you. Also, it’s probably covered with cat hair–love, I mean." ― Jarod Kintz

Are Siberian cats hypoallergenic? Some are, yes, but they are not allergen-free! Some breeders claim that all Siberians produce fewer allergens than other cat breeds, but that is not accurate. Many do, but it varies from Siberian to Siberian. The levels of Fel d 1 levels in Siberians may range from very low to extremely high.

If you have cat allergies and are considering adopting a Siberian, think about your expectations and be clear about them with your breeder. Is your goal to have a completely symptom-free life? Are you okay with some minor symptoms if they can be controlled well with over-the-counter medication and good hygiene? There are many people who have cat allergies and can’t be around the majority of cats but who do tolerate Siberians better. Many have always wanted a cat and are willing to put up with taking some daily allergy meds and the occasional runny nose or itchy eyes, as long as they don’t have the asthma attacks or hives. Some people will initially have minor reactions that go away over a period of a few months as their bodies are able to build up immunities to the reduced level of allergens instead of being overwhelmed by significant levels. Everyone has a different experience and different expectations.

Many factors contribute to cat allergies. The first is an allergy to the protein Fel d 1. This is the one that causes problems for most people with cat allergies. It is found in the cat’s saliva. People are not allergic to a cat’s fur; they are allergic to the proteins in the saliva which are deposited on the coat when cats groom themselves. It also dries on their skin and becomes airborne as dander. Siberians are known to produce less of this protein than other breeds, but some still generate the same amount as other breeds.

The next protein that is a problem for some people is called Fel d 4. People who are allergic to horses and rabbits are likely affected by this one. Siberians are not known to produce less of this protein.

Another major culprit is cat litter. Many people who react to cats are actually allergic to the cat litter. Cat litter can be very dusty! The cat uses the litter box, digs around, the dust becomes airborne, and some of it clings to the cat’s fur. We recommend using a low-dust litter to reduce the amount of dust that is released into your environment. There are many types of litter: clay, wood, corn, paper, etc. Choose your cat litter based on the knowledge of your allergies. If possible, experiment with litter BEFORE you bring your cat home.

Allergies to dust/dust mites are another contributor. A cat is like a walking dust mop. Keeping your furniture and windowsills clean and free of dust will
reduce the amount of regular household dust that your cat will pick up on his or her fur and deposit all over you and your belongings.

1. Always wash your hands after handling your cat, especially before you touch your face. This will help to prevent eye irritation.
2. Do not allow your cat into your bedroom. This gives your body a respite place and will allow your immune system to rest while you sleep.  
3. Vacuum regularly (at least weekly) if you have carpeting. This helps to remove hair and dander from your environment. Wood & tile flooring are less likely to trap allergens than carpeting.
4. Use an air filter. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are one of the best defenses against cat allergies. They reduce airborne pet allergens by forcing air through a special filter that traps pet dander, as well as pollen, dust mites, and other allergens.
5. Bathe your kitten regularly, once or twice a month, using a gentle cat shampoo and conditioner.
6. Use a wet cloth to wipe down your cat regularly. This is not as effective as bathing but does help and is less stressful on the cat and owner than a full bath. There are also products like Allerpet Cat Dander Remover which can be applied to the cat’s coat before combing or brushing. This will reduce the number of allergens that are released into the air during combing and help to neutralize many of the allergens on the fur.
7. Change filters on A/C units and furnaces frequently.
8. Select furniture covers and throw rugs that can be washed in hot water and wash them frequently.

You get your kitten and home, and within a few days, you notice that your eyes and nose are running. You start to itch.  Why is this happening?   Remember, Siberians are lower in allergens than other breeds; they are NOT allergen-free. Your body may not have had a noticeable reaction during your one-hour allergy visit, but after constant exposure for a couple of days, symptoms start to appear. Additionally, your new kitten is likely a bit stressed out in his/her new home, away from mom and littermates for the first time. That stress can cause the allergen levels to increase a bit until he/she settles in. This period may last for a few weeks. As the kitten calms down, his/her allergen levels will drop back down. Your body also needs to build up an immunity to your kitten, and it may take some time to build up a tolerance to it. You are going from no dander in your home to having low levels of cat dander in your home. You may experience some allergy symptoms for the first few weeks, but if they are relatively minor, they should taper off over time. If you experience severe or unmanageable symptoms, you should contact us immediately to return the kitten.

Copyright 2023  All Rights Reserved, Last Updated  July 2023