Cats (Felis catus) and dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are most sought out companions by humans as pets for company, entertainment or protection. There are 20+ million pets in worldwide homes with USA ranking first, followed by Europe, Asia, Middle East and other countries. The most common problem faced by several animal lovers is allergies. It is also observed that the cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies.
Allergy is the reaction caused by the immune system upon exposure to any foreign substance. As such the person with cat allergy will show immune reaction when in proximity of cat or dogs. Veterinary Allergology is the allergic reaction to proteins found in an animal’s skin cells, saliva or urine. Though many people think that they face allergy due to cat or dog fur, it’s a huge misconception. The actual allergic potential is protein (Fel d 1) found in the animal’s saliva, dander and urine. All cats produce Fel d 1 and the size and shape of the protein molecule is conducive to remain airborne for a long period of time. Hence the molecule sticks to carpets, fur, fabrics and other surfaces making highly sensitive people face allergy symptoms even though they are feet away from cats.
Allergy cure is not yet known so far since the allergens are several and diagnosis takes time. Vaccination and Immunotherapy are rapidly approaching to combat allergy, but till there is a complete cure the best way to prevent allergy is to avoid the allergen, but if you are a cat lover and allergic will you stay away from cats?
The cat breeds which are known to cause less allergic reactions due to their less dander, less fur shedding and lower Fel d 1 production are:
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- Oriental Shorthair
- Russian Blue
Research shows that though all cats produce the allergen, cat owner can own the following cat breeds which cause fewer allergy symptoms than others and can do certain actions to reduce the allergic effects caused by their pets. For example, Household hygiene, cat hygiene, HEPA air purifier installation and steam cleaning carpets can all help reduce exposure to allergens. So all the cat allergic individuals who wish to have cats as pets give it a thought but make sure you maintain your health and your cat’s hygiene.