Hypoallergenic Cat Facts
- Are Siberian Cats hypoallergenic?
- Is there any proof that Siberians are hypoallergenic
- How can we know that a Siberian will not trigger an allergic reaction?
- Are fur samples a valid test of your tolerance?
- Are male or female Siberians more hypoallergenic?
- How can I keep my house hypoallergenic with a Siberian?
- Are Siberian Cats genetically a natural breed?
- Is FEL D1 testing of Siberians a fair measure of my potential for an allergic reaction?
- Are there any other health concerns with living with Siberian Cats?
Are Siberian Cats Hypoallergenic?
By definition “hypo” in scientific terms mean “less than”. By this definition Siberians are hypoallergenic. Most allergies humans experience when in the presence of cats are due to a Glycoprotein know as FEL D1 found in cat dander. This protein is present in all cats; however, it is found at substantially lower levels in Siberian Cats
Is there any proof that Siberians are hypoallergenic?
Yes, there is lab data, generated by Universities, that shows as much as ten times less FEL D1/dander levels in Siberians as compared to other domestic cats. The real proof however, is not found in labs, but in hundreds and hundreds of testimonials by families with allergy sufferers, that now share their homes with Siberians and experience no allergic reactions.
How can we know that a Siberian will not trigger an allergic reaction?
Every human has different tolerances to allergens. These tolerances or resistance can change with age, season, and overall health. There are many causes of allergic reactions and there is no way to provide a definite answer to this question. Only long term exposure to Siberians can let you know your personal tolerance. Responsible breeders should offer placement services for your Siberian in the unlikely event you can no longer co-inhabit with a Siberian cat.
Are fur samples a valid test of your tolerance?
Probably not. The fur itself does not usually trigger a reaction. Airborne FEL D1 is how people are exposed to this allergen. This allergen can easily be washed off the fur with warm water; furthermore, Fur samples can not provide long term exposure.
Are Male or Female Siberians more hypoallergenic?
In order to accurately answer this question, certain facts must be understood. FEL D1 is secreted by sebaceous glands in the skin of the cat. It is also found in the saliva, and feces of the cat. Males are typically larger than females thus having more skin and sebaceous glands. Males left intact, ( not neutered ) have been tested and shown to have higher levels during sexual stimulation. This is not a factor if the male is neutered.
How can I keep my house hypoallergenic with a Siberian?
The single most important thing you can do to reduce airborne FEL D1 is to bath your Siberian regularly with warm water. Shampoos are not needed since this allergen is very water soluble, and if done correctly, Siberians love the bath and attention. Change the litter regularly, avoid breathing the dust, and vacuum with a hepa-fitlered vacuum all areas in contact with this litter and your Siberian. Accumulations can occur in the favorite areas of the house your Siberian occupies, naps, plays, and stores toys. Wash with warm water and vacuum regularly.
Are Siberian Cats genetically a natural breed?
Siberian cats are the progeny of native domestic felines of Siberia, Russia and native wild forest cats of Siberia, Russia. The breeding of these two unrelated felines occurred naturally without human intervention over one thousand years ago and since have flourished throughout Russia and Eastern Europe . More recently, humans introduced the Siamese breed near the Neva River in St Petersburg, Russia. Crossing the Siberian cat with the Siamese cat (eugenics), produced new color patterns (colorpoint) in the progeny but diluted the natural genetics of the Siberian. Both the (Natural, Traditional, Pure) Siberian and the Siamese/Siberian colorpoint crosses are registrable: however, some breeders adhere to breeding only the Natural Siberian cat and do not dilute what Mother Nature has provided. These breeders are loyal to the preservation of this Natural Siberian Forest Cat. The Prominent European Cat Registry FIFe does not recognize these colorpoints as Siberians but instead a sub-breed Neva Masquerade.
Is FEL D1 testing of Siberians a fair measure of my potential for an allergic reaction?
Fact: There are no better test than actually co-inhabiting with a Siberian cat. Many honest testimonials provide the best evidence of the Siberian cats hypoallergenic characteristics. People are allergic to many things other than FEL D1. Dust, mold, and pollen are some of the leading causes of allergic reactions suffered by humans.
Initial testing for FEL D1 conducted by Universities measured the concentration of FEL D1 in samples of cat dander. These test are very expensive and time consuming, therefore data is limited. A factor not considered in current methods of testing the amount of FEL D1 liberated by felines, is the secretion rate of the sebaceous glands. It is thought that since Traditional Siberian Cats evolved in a cold and low sunlight environment, the need to secrete oils to protect their coats is lessened, therefore measured concentrations of FEL D1 are inconclusive and correlation’s dependent on compared secretion rates.
Current lab testing is making progress, it is a less expensive test, but is plagued with erratic results and unscientific assumptions. These test are based on FEL D1 concentrations in saliva and are used for limited comparative studies, but still lack in quantitive accuracy and reproducibility. There is no established correlation with FEL D1 levels in saliva and the concentrations of airborne FEL D1 levels in dander produced by a Siberian cat in your home. The highest concentrations and largest volumes of the FEL D1 is secreted by the sebaceous glands of the skin and not from the saliva. There is also no established correlation with the FEL D1 concentrations in saliva and the FEL D1 concentrations in the sebaceous glands or on the skin of the cat as dander. Saliva helps dissolve and liberate the FEL D1 as (airborne particles) from the fur through the cat grooming itself, but is not the primary source of airborne FEL D1. As sampling techniques are developed, and more data collected, more useful results can occur. Hopefully advances in genetic testing will provide the tools needed for breeders to select only the healthiest and lowest antigen producing Siberian cats.
Are there any other health concerns with living with Siberian Cats?
There are many benefits and very few concerns. Siberians love people, they reduce stress and can actually reduce your blood pressure. Children exposed to low levels of FEL D1 are much less likely to develop allergic reactions to this allergen later in life. They help teach responsibility to children while delivering unconditional love, not to mention hours of entertainment and companionship for many years to come.
- The US National Library of Medicine (see pages 8765830, 16890781, 8983455, 12109525, 14555853)
- Dr. Paul M. Templet