Are Siamese Cats Hypoallergenic And Do They Shed a Lot
The word “oriental” is acceptable when referring to philosophies, objects and animals. It’s only when the word is used to describe people that it gets offensive. Unfortunately, as the Siamese cat is associated with a couple of old school Disney films (Lady and the Tramp and The Aristocats) that depicted them as dated Asian stereotypes, many people think of them as conniving and sly.
While it is true that the Siamese is clever, the Siamese in reality is a charming feline. One of the many good features bandied about the sleek and sublime Siamese is that they are hypoallergenic.
Is there any truth to that? Siamese cat, allergies, do they mix?
What causes cat allergies?
A protein known as Fel D1 is the allergen found in cat’s saliva, urine and skin is the thing that causes trouble for sufferers from feline allergies. It is estimated theat ten percent of the human population is hypersensitive to this protein. Once your cat licks her coat while grooming, the allergen-laden saliva dries and after time becomes airborne.
Using the litter box or shedding also sets loose the Fel D1. It then finds a warm place to stay in your nose and sinuses.
There are some breeds of cat that do not produce this protein as much as others. This means the cat is hypoallergenic. It just so happens many of these breeds are of the oriental variety.
All Cats are Irritating
To allergies, of course! (That set up is right up there with “The peasants are revolting.”) There really is no such thing as a purely hypoallergenic cat. There are only some that produce less of the irritating Fel D1 protein than others.
Oriental cats, cats of the Rex variety and hairless breeds such as the Sphynx are the best bet. Despite what the appearance of a long coat would have you believe, Siberians, Burmese and Balinese are less likely to aggravate allergies than most breeds, even ones with shorter hair. The Russian Blue, Bengal and ocicat.
Are Siamese cats hypoallergenic?
As explained above no cat is truly hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, this includes our friend the Siamese. However, as the Siamese is not a heavy shedder, this breed could be a good pick for someone who is usually allergic to cats. In 2009, the biotechnology company based in Delaware called Allerca claimed to have bred a perfectly hypoallergenic cat. The results were less than stellar.
It seems unlikely that gene editing will produce such an animal at any time in the near future.
Do Siamese cats shed?
Not as much as others. Siamese cat fur is short and silky. How much they shed is not very noticeable. Like most cats, the Siamese goes through two molts per year. A good daily combing during these periods accompanied by regular vacuuming should keep things in check. Strictly indoor cats tend to experience irregular molts.
If you don’t like the idea of your cat running around outside unsupervised, then it’s a good thing the Siamese is capable of being leashed trained.
How to Minimize Cat Allergens
See to it that the cat has frequent baths or at least brushing. You may want to leave the job of grooming to someone who is not allergic. If the cat will stand for it, two to three baths a week in cool, distilled water will get rid of up to 84 percent of extant allergens and lower any further production of allergens.
A good regular brushing will keep dander to a minimum and lessen the number of loose hairs floating around the home. At least once a week you should wash all of the cat’s bedding and toys. After you touch your cat, wash your hands and face. Do not touch your face or eyes until after you have done so.
Factors that affect allergen production in cats
It is known that toms secret more allergens than queens. Among toms, neutered males produce less allergens than intact toms. It is unknown why this is, but dark colored cats tend to produce more allergens than light colored ones. It also seems that kittens do not produce as much allergens as adult cats.
If you are allergic, your best bet may be a light colored female, particularly of a breed that does not produce much Fel D1. If you have your heart set on a Siamese, go with a light colored one with lilac or blue points. Keep in mind that the Siamese goes through puberty very quickly so get her spayed or him neutered as soon as you can.
Try Before You Buy
Taking in a so called “hypoallergenic” cat may not be a complete panacea to your allergies, however, you can at least probably relax and quite literally breathe a bit easier. Try spending an hour or so with a cat of the same breed you’ve been thinking about and see if your allergies are affected or not. Many animal shelters encourage this practice.
Even if you decide this particular cat isn’t for you, at least you’ve helped a cat get socialized.
In the past, Siamese cats had an unfortunate tendency towards being cross-eyed and kink tailed. A “Just So” story says that a Siamese cat was put in charge of guarding the king’s golden goblet. He stared at the goblet until he was cross-eyed and curled his tail around the goblet’s stem for added security.
The truth is these unfortunate genetic traits were the result of inbreeding to get the standard look. Due to more responsible breeding, these features are rarely seen anymore.
Another important thing to remember if you take in a Siamese is that they don’t take solitude very well. If there’s not always going to be a human home, consider getting two Siamese cats so they can be each others’ playmate. In spite of their slender size, they have very loud voices that they will use a lot. No cat can truly be described as hypoallergenic, but the Siamese comes close.
- Nothing to Sneeze At: Cats Worse Than Dogs for Allergies By Lindsey Konkel at LiveScience
- Chan, Sanny K and Donald Y M Leung. “Dog and Cat Allergies: Current State of Diagnostic Approaches and Challenges” Allergy, asthma & immunology research vol. 10,2 (2018): 97-105.
- Ownby, Dennis and Christine Cole Johnson. “Recent Understandings of Pet Allergies” F1000Research vol. 5 F1000 Faculty Rev-108. 27 Jan. 2016, doi:10.12688/f1000research.7044.1
- Allergens and their role in the allergic immune response by Platts-Mills TA, Woodfolk JA. Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville
- Pet dander and difficult-to-control asthma: Therapeutic options by Ling M, Long AA Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, 02114, USA
- Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds at PetMD.com