Have you ever had a friend come over, and after a few minutes, you start to notice their eyes begin to run, you hear them sniffing, and then a fit of continuous sneezes breaks out? Well, that’s probably because of your Persian cat! As cute, fluffy, and easygoing as they may be, they’re not allergy-friendly cats.
Although not hypoallergenic, there are ways for cat owners to reduce cat allergies in their homes. But before getting into that, let’s address why Persian cats aren’t considered hypoallergenic.
Why Aren’t Persian Cats Considered Hypoallergenic?
Many of you may have easily guessed that a Persian cat is not hypoallergenic, but it might not be for the reason you think it is. Many people believe that the fur of an animal sets allergies off, and since a Persian cat has the most gorgeous, long, soft hair, it must mean that they’re one of the main cats to avoid if you’re an allergy sufferer.
Although their hair has a role to play, it’s not the reason people start sniffing and sneezing around them. It’s actually the protein Fel d1 which is found in a cat’s saliva, sebaceous glands, urine, and dead skin, that some people’s immune systems—10% of the world’s population, in fact—mistake as a threat. Their immune systems then go into attack mode to protect their bodies, which displays itself as an allergic attack.
Persian cats aren’t considered hypoallergenic because they shed all year, they have more dander than many other breeds, and they produce a high amount of the Fel d1 protein. Due to their long coats, Persian cats groom themselves frequently, more often than shorthaired cats. All the licking and shedding of dander spreads onto the furniture and throughout the house and can quickly trigger an allergic reaction.
How To Know If You’re Allergic to Your Persian Cat?
An allergic reaction to cats can look slightly different from one individual to another as there are different levels of allergies. Some allergic people will experience mild symptoms, while others will experience moderate to severe ones. How quickly a cat allergy develops also differs between people, with some experiencing symptoms within a few minutes and others a few hours.
If you suffer from allergies and don’t know what they’re caused by, you can ask your doctor to do a blood test for confirmation. Unfortunately, these tests aren’t always reliable, and sometimes the process of elimination will offer better results. Watch your symptoms next time you’re on holiday and away from your cat. If they flare up once you get home from a good trip, your cat might be what you’re allergic to. However, even this comparison may leave your cat falsely accused as you may be allergic to a type of plant in your garden instead.
Some symptoms of cat allergies are coughing, hives, red and itchy eyes, itchy skin upon contact with your cat’s saliva, runny nose, and sneezing. There are several cat allergy treatments available, but none of them will stop your allergy altogether.
How To Reduce Cat Allergies
If you suspect that your Persian cat is triggering your allergies, there are certain things you can do to reduce cat allergies without having to give your cat to a friend or relative.
Groom Them Often
A Persian cat that is groomed often will shed less and spread less dander around your home. Thankfully, you don’t have to struggle through a grooming session yourself—rather, take your fluffy cat to a groomer on a regular basis as they’ll be able to brush through their coats for you and give your cat a bath.
A regular vacuum cleaner and filter is a good place to start, but for the best results, invest in a vacuum with a HEPA filter because they’re designed to suck in the allergens from your home. Vacuum your floors, furniture, beds, and curtains to rid of as many allergens as you can.
It’s important to wash your cat’s bed, along with any other blankets and pillow covers your cat may enjoy cuddling on around the house. Washing these items often will rid them of the allergens that make your body react.
Setting boundaries and training your kitten to stick to them is a hard task but a necessary one. Train your young Persian cat not to lick you and to stay away from your bed and sofas that you spend a lot of your time on. You should also place their litterbox in an area of the house you don’t frequent and train them to only do their business in there.
Get Some Air Purifiers
Another device that’ll help reduce airborne allergens in your home is air purifiers with HEPA filters. Get a few and place them in the rooms you use the most. You could also stick one in the room where their litterbox is, as that’ll be full of the stuff your body tries to fight.
Alternative Cat Options for People with Allergies
Although some cat breeders label their cats as hypoallergenic, this doesn’t mean that the cat causes no allergic reaction; it simply means that they generally don’t cause a bad one.
Hypoallergenic cat breeds produce less of the Fel d1 protein that certain people are allergic to, and therefore, it doesn’t have to do with their coats. Even the Sphynx cat breed, which is hairless, isn’t 100% hypoallergenic. However, they are an excellent alternative option to a Persian cat because they don’t shed hair, keeping the allergens on their bodies instead of around the house.
Other cat options for people with allergies are:
- Devon Rex
- Cornish Rex
- Oriental Shorthair
- Russian Blue
- Colorpoint Shorthair
Although getting a cat may be at the top of your list, chat to your doctor first and discuss how severe your allergy is. After all, your health should come first.
If you are allergic to cats, a Persian cat may not be a good option as they’re not hypoallergenic. Although no cat is entirely hypoallergenic, some cat breeds are more allergy-friendly because they shed less, reducing the amount of dander they spread. The allergens your body tries to fight aren’t from the fur of a cat but rather the Fel d1 protein produced in all cats.
If you already have a Persian cat, get them groomed often, vacuum frequently using a HEPA filter, wash your cat’s bed and other items they spend a lot of time on, set boundaries, and add a few air purifiers to your home. These steps will reduce the number of allergens around your home and keep you healthy while still allowing you to care for your cat and offer them a loving home.
Featured Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock