Are Siberian cats Hypoallergenic?
If you suffer from allergies, you may have heard about the mythical Siberian cat breed. These cats are often touted as being good for people with allergies. But if you’ve ever seen a Siberian cat, the first thing you’ll notice is her long fur coat. This might make you wonder: Are Siberian cats hypoallergenic after all?
The Truth About Siberian Cats
Before we talk about Siberians, we must first understand the cause of cat allergies. First, cat allergies are not caused by cat hair. Instead, people who are allergic to cats are allergic to a protein called Fel-D1, which is produced in their saliva. When a cat grooms herself by licking her coat, she spreads Fel-D1 all over her body.
Siberian cats are considered hypoallergenic because they produce less of the Fel-D1 protein than other cat breeds. But remember, hypoallergenic does not mean nonallergenic; it just means less allergenic than other cats breeds.
Should you get a Siberian Cat?
If you have cat allergies, a Siberian might be a great option for you. Unfortunately, people with very severe cat allergies may still find that they have reactions to Siberians. My husband has “very high” sensitivity to cats and he still experiences allergy symptoms when he is around our Siberian, Luna. In fact, he takes Claritin daily to keep his symptoms—like a runny nose—under control.
Myths about Siberian Cats
There are some myths that surround the Siberian cat and its allergy levels. One of the most common is that female Siberian cats produce lower Fel-D1 levels than males. This is not true. Allergen levels have more to do with genetics than they do with gender.
Another myth is that a Siberian cat breeder can send you a fur sample to determine if you are allergic to their kittens. This is also not true; by the time the sample arrives, much of the Fel-D1 will have dissipated, giving you an inaccurate experience.
What to do if you want a Siberian Cat
Having been a cat owner for many years, I can tell you that Siberian cats are unique. With their friendly, outgoing nature and desire for constant attention, their nickname as the “dog of the cat world” is well-deserved. If you think a Siberian might be right for you, I recommend visiting a breeder to see how you or allergic members of your family react.
There are Siberian breeders all over the country, but I highly recommend Blue-Eyed Frisco in California, where we purchased Luna.
If you’d like to learn more, check our my YouTube video about Siberian cats!