Can you be allergic to a certain type of cat?

S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3
Ask Louise

15 June 2018

Animal dander

Most people assume that their cat allergy is caused by the animal’s fur. Perhaps because they can see this, they attribute the problem to it. However, the problem does not, in fact, lie with the animal’s fur but with its dander

This is the urine, saliva and dead skin cells that cats shed as they go about their daily routine of sleeping, eating, hunting and sleeping again.

When someone has a cat allergy the immune system over-reacts to dander and so releases histamine in an attempt to fight it off. This, in turn, can cause all sorts of problems for the individual such as itchy skin, sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose.

Hypoallergenic breeds

Amongst others, the Balinese, Siamese and Russian Blue are all considered hypoallergenic cats meaning they are thought to be less likely to bring on allergy symptoms. This might be due to the type of fur they have, the length of it and how much they shed their fur. However, the term hypoallergenic breed throws up some problems.

Firstly, as I’ve just mentioned, all cat allergies are caused by the animal’s dander so regardless of their type of fur, they all have the potential to bring on allergy symptoms. 

If you’d like to read a little more on hypoallergenic breeds you could have a look at my blog ‘What’s the best type of cat for allergy sufferers?’

So, can I be allergic to a certain type of cat?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. On the one hand, a larger breed of cat may be more likely to cause allergy symptoms because on the whole these produce more dander. 

Nevertheless, the amount of dander produced by cats varies from one individual to the next, even if they are the same breed. This means that allergy symptoms are determined less by the type of cat and more by the amount of dander produced by the individual cat.

There are sometimes claims that cats such as the sphinx are allergy-free due to the absence of fur. However, as allergies are caused by dander which all cats produce, this means even the sphinx could bring on symptoms.

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Managing dog allergies

In previous blogs like ‘Fight allergies naturally’  and ‘Allergic rhinitis treatments’  I’ve discussed various ways to address your allergy symptoms.

However, as well as giving these things a go you could also try some of our soothing herbal remedies. From itchy eyes to a blocked nose, we’ve got a variety of products that could help ease the symptoms of your cat allergy.

Our Moisturising Eye Drops for example, contain Euphrasia (or Eyebright) to help soothe dry, tired and irritated eyes that are the result of animal dander. 

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