You might also be here investigating this lovely breed because you have heard that Siberian Ice Forest cats are hypoallergenic, and while you’ve always wanted to own a cat, allergies – your own or family members’ – have stopped you.
There is no doubt that Siberians are low on the allergen scale, and therefore do tend to be suitable for families where allergies may have prevented cat ownership in the past.
While a complete and total lack of allergens is unlikely, Siberians are known to produce low levels of the Fel D1 protein in their saliva. What does a cat’s saliva have to do with my allergies you ask? To put it the most simply, here is what happens:
Cats are self-cleaning animals (you see them cleaning themselves all the time)
The Fel D1 protein is in their saliva so as they clean themselves, their saliva with this particular protein is now all over their body/fur
As the saliva containing this protein dries on their fur, it then crystallizes
These saliva/protein crystals (or technically they are now considered micro-particles) are so feather-light that they now become air-borne
As these Fel D1 micro-particles float into the air, this is what us humans now breathe in, and come into contact with our skin, eyes, and land on our clothes
Now that we have these Fel D1 micro-particles all over us, those that are allergic to this protein start to have allergic reactions
Fact: Fel D1 micro-particles can be present up to 5 MILES away from a cat. Even where there is no evidence that a cat has been, this micro-particle can be present.
Now that you know how this protein works and what exactly it is that humans are allergic to, this is where the Siberian Ice Forest Cat comes in. The Siberian is known to have the lowest Fel D1 protein in their saliva in the domestic cat kingdom. How low you ask? Each and every Siberian is different. There isn’t one specific number to give to cover every single Siberian Ice Forest Cat in the world. Also every human being is different and every person’s allergies are different. Just as humans are individuals, so are cats.
The best way to test if you are allergic to a Siberian is to visit one, visit a cattery, or get a sample of the fur from a cattery sent to you. Even with all of this, it can be difficult to determine if your allergy testing is successful or not. This is because you are being exposed to all kittens and cats at once……….one kitten may have lower levels of the Fel D1 protein while others have higher levels. It’s a bit of trial and error to find the correct human/kitten combination.
A few questions to ask yourself on whether your allergies will allow you to own a Siberian:
What are my allergic reactions to cats and the severity? If your answer to this is simply just some sneezing and watery eyes………well, you’ll probably do just fine with a Siberian. However, if your answer to this question is ASTHMA, severe sneezing, wheezing, running nose, hives…………….to be honest, it will be more of a challenge to find that right Siberian/human combination. But don’t be disheartened; there are many success stories of people with severe allergies living with Siberian cats.
Are you allergic to eggs, dogs and/or horses? Yes, this does have something to do with your allergies to cats. If you are ONLY allergic to cats, you’ll do better than someone who is also allergic to eggs, dogs and horses. The Fel D1 protein is only the CAT protein. However, cats also carry some of the same proteins as horses and eggs (Fel D4 protein). This means that even though we can control the cat protein, you may still be symptomatic to a Siberian, not because of the cat protein, but because of the other protein (Fel D4) the Siberian has that are also shared with horses and eggs. Dogs come into the equation because some people who are allergic to dogs are also allergic to cats.
What else can be done to help me own a Siberian Cat? Well, there are a few tips and tricks here:
Number one is as soon as you get your kitten, ensure that you train him/her that your bedroom is a “no go zone”. This means that your bedroom, with all the lovely carpet, pillows, blankets, and all of the “soft surfaces” that love to collect micro-particles, need to be free from your Siberian’s micro-particles. So no sleeping in your room with you! After all, this is where you are laying down for 6-8 hours straight, breathing deeply as you sleep, and the air quality that you breathe while you sleep is very important.
Speaking of air quality, an air purifier with a HEPA filter in your bedroom and in the main living area (family room, den, or wherever you spend most of your free time) can be a great investment. They are not as expensive as you may think and you can get them in all shapes, sizes, and prices.
Carpet and soft surfaces. As mentioned about the bedroom having soft surfaces, look around your house. Do you have a house with mostly carpet? Do you have throw blankets all over the couches? These are all going to collect those Fel D1 micro-particles. Not to say you need to now invest in re-flooring your entire house, but just to make you mindful that hard surfaced areas (flooring, couches that aren’t littered with throw blankets, etc.) will be more beneficial for the allergy sufferer. Leather couches are also great because they can be wiped clean.
Cleaning tools. A good quality vacuum with a HEPA filter is critical because as the vacuum puts air back into your home you want this going through a HEPA filter first to capture all of the Fel D1 micro-particles. For the hard surfaced floors, a microfiber hard floor cleaning tool, again to pick up all of the Fel D1 micro-particles, will be beneficial.
And last but not least, dare I even mention taking allergy pills? This is a personal choice and depends on how crucial it is to have a Siberian cat in your life. If you’re someone with severe cat allergies and have all the cards stacked against you because you also have allergies to dogs, horses and eggs, but just can’t even imagine your life without owning a pet, well let’s face reality and have a talk about it. It all comes down to this. It’s about finding the perfect Siberian for you with the absolute lowest Fel D1 protein. Next is making a choice on your quality of life. If quality of life means that taking a pill each day is nothing, if it means being able to have a furry companion in your life, well I wouldn’t argue with you. Some may argue the exact opposite though. It’s all a personal choice. Know this though: it is known that some people with allergies that expose themselves to the allergen they are allergic to will over time become immune to that allergen. That’s pretty much how allergy injections work. Small doses of the allergen are injected into the bloodstream so the hyperactive antibodies that are attacking the allergen get turned off over time. Of course there’s always getting allergy injections if you’re so inclined to do so to speed up the process of immunity.
White Woods Siberian Ice Forest Cattery is committed to helping you in trying to become a successful Siberian Ice Forest Cat owner with little to no impact on your allergies. If you have other questions in regards to allergies, please feel free to contact us.
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