Suffering from an allergy is never fun, but when you develop an allergy to the cat breed you love, or even worse a cat your already own, it might seem that your choices are pretty limited. If you are thinking of buying a Maine Coon, our tips will help you increase your Maine Coons hypoallergenic levels. ‘Are Maine Coon cats hypoallergenic?’, let’s find out!
Maine Coon cats are not hypoallergenic. In fact, no cat breed is allergy free because all cats produce the protein Fel d 1, to some extent. Certain breeds are considered hypoallergenic due to their lower levels of this protein, such as the Siberian or Sphynx. Regular grooming, bathing, and hoovering will reduce cat allergens, making the Maine Coon more hypoallergenic.
Are Cat Allergies Common?
Many people suffer from cat allergies, but are often not sure why. In fact, approximately 10% of the population are allergic to pets. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, cats are the main allergy culprit, with cat allergies being twice as common as dog allergies (source).
What Causes Cat Allergies?
Cat allergies occur in people who have over-sensitive immune systems. This causes them to experience unwanted physical symptoms, otherwise known as an allergic reaction. The reaction itself is caused by an allergy to pet allergens, which are known to collect on many different surfaces i.e. sofas, walls, floors etc (source).
Many people mistakenly think that they are allergic to cats fur, and stay clear of stroking cats, particularly those with long hair. This theory is incorrect though, because it is actually a protein in the cats saliva, urine or dander that individuals are allergic too. When the cat grooms itself, it spreads these allergens across its fur, which explains why so many people think they are allergic to cats fur.
There are three main cat allergens:
- Dander (cat skin secretions)
If you are allergic to cats, it is most likely that you are allergic to a cat allergen protein known as ‘Fel d 1’, which is secreted in the cat’s saliva, and skin. This allergen is spread when the cat grooms itself. The Fel d 1 protein is not an integral part of cat dander or fur, but may become stuck on cat dander, or fur (source).
Allergens can be found everywhere. They are often transported on clothing, or can get into the air when pets are groomed, or even when you dust your home! Once in the air, they hang suspended and can be breathed in by humans (source).
How Long Do Cat Allergies Last?
Everyone is different. Whilst some people experience cat allergy symptoms straight away, others might not notice any symptoms until 4-8 hours after exposure to cats allergens. Symptoms may persist for a couple of minutes, or may extend into hours, depending on how sensitive your body is to cats (source).
If you are sensitive to cat allergens (dander, saliva or urine) and find that your symptoms do not go straight away, this maybe because allergens are terribly sticky. These allergens attach themselves to anything i.e. floors, walls, clothing. or furniture. This means that even though you are not in direct contact with a cat, you are still likely to have an allergic reaction to the allergens they have deposited around the house.
It can be difficult to rid your home from these allergens immediately.
Common Cat Allergy Symptoms
Are you allergic to your Maine Coon cat?
The list below shows the common cat allergy symptoms you will likely suffer from, should you be allergic to your Maine Coon cat:
- Red, itchy eyes
- Skin turns red, where cat has licked, scratched or bitten you.
- Itchy, runny, stuffy nose.
- Rash on the chest and face
If you are very sensitive to cat allergens, you may immediately experience either one, or more of these symptoms. If you are less sensitive, symptoms might not show until 4-8 hours after exposure.
According to WebMD, 20% – 30% of individuals with allergic asthma will experience severe flare-ups after coming into contact with a cat (source).
How To Reduce Cat Allergies In The Home
Do you love your Maine Coon, but hate the cat allergy symptoms you suffer from your feline companion? If this is the case, you have probably wondered if you can live with a cat when you have allergies.
Each individuals allergy levels are different, so if you are prepared to manage, or even put up with your allergy symptoms then it is likely that you can continue living with your Maine Coon. Ultimately, this is down to personal choice.
The following table shows you some simple ways to reduce your risk of experiencing an allergic reaction to your Maine Coon cat, at home.
|Do not let your Maine Coon lick you||Cat saliva contains allergens. Realistically this tip might prove difficult to implement because Maine Coons love licking and grooming their owners. Licking and grooming shows that they love you.|
|Wear gloves whilst gardening||Cats wee in the garden. Urine is an allergen. Wearing gloves prevents you coming into contact with cat urine in the soil.|
|Don’t stroke your cat!||This is a difficult one if you love cats! Reduce how often you stroke your cat to limit your chances of touching dander. Cats fur is covered in dander (dead skin). It is an allergen.|
|Get someone else to change litter tray||Cat urine is an allergen. Avoid touching places where cat urine is more common. Ask a member of your family who isn’t allergic, to clean the litter tray!|
|Let someone else groom your cat||If another member of your family is not allergic, get them to groom your cat. Cat allergens are released into the air when cats are groomed. Close proximity to this will likely cause an allergic reaction.|
|Hoover regularly||Cat allergens are very sticky. Make sure you hoover the floor and curtains regularly, to remove as many allergens as possible.|
|Wash hands after touching cat||Allergy sufferers should wash their hands immediately, after touching a cat. This will help remove cat dander from your hands. In particular, washing will remove the Fel d 1 protein on your hands.|
|Bath your cat||Maine Coons love water, so can be trained to take a bath. Regularly bathing your cat will help remove dander, saliva, and urine from your cat’s fur.|
|Do not let cats into bedroom||Limit which rooms your cat is permitted into, thus reducing the spread of cat allergens i.e. don’t let cats in your bedroom|
|Cover sofas with thows||If you allow your cat on the sofa, make sure you use washable throws. Washing throws regularly reduces cat allergen levels in your home.|
|Train Maine Coon||Your Maine Coon cannot help that you are allergic to them! However, you can train them to not sit on certain chairs / sofas. This will limit your risk of touching allergens.|
|Take medication||You can take specific medication to prevent or reduce your cat allergy. Speak to your healthcare provider, or pharmacist.|
|HEPA air filter||Installing a HEPA air filter will help trap airborne particles in the house.|
|Change heating / air filters||Change your heating and air filters regularly, particularly if a forced air HVAC system is installed in your home.|
|Anti Allergen Sprays||Invest in a few different anti allergen sprays, to see if these help reduce your symptoms.|
|Cat cleaning wipes||If your Maine Coon isn’t a fan of bathing, use some cat cleaning wipes to limit the amount of dander, saliva or urine attached to their fur. Try these cat wipes sold on Amazon.|
Which Cat Breeds Are Hypoallergenic?
Whilst no cat is truly hypoallergenic, some cats are thought to be more hypoallergenic than others. The reason certain cat breeds are awarded this title is because hypoallergenic cats naturally secrete lower levels of the protein Fel d 1, than others.
The protein Fel d 1 is an allergen, mainly secreted in the cats saliva or sebaceous glands. It is responsible for causing the majority of cat allergies in humans, and often becomes attached to a cats fur, saliva, or urine. When humans come into contact with this allergen, approximately 10% of them will have an allergic reaction.
The following cat breeds are thought to be more hypoallergenic than others (source).
- Russian Blue
- Devon Rex
- Cornish Rex
Are Maine Coon Cats Bad For Allergies?
If you have your heart set on buying a Maine Coon, but suffer from cat allergies, don’t give up! Although Maine Coons are definitely not hypoallergenic (no cat actually is), you may potentially build up a tolerance to this breed over time.
Regular cat bathing, grooming, hoovering, and washing the throws that your cat has sat on, may also help limit your allergy symptoms.
Are Maine Coon Cats Hypoallergenic?
The simple answer is no. However, there are many things that you can change within your lifestyle, to help limit the spread of the key protein ‘Fel D 1’ which causes most cat allergies in humans.
The level to which you are prepared to change your daily lifestyle will obviously be down to personal choice. However, if you are prepared to compromise, and adapt your life to welcome a beautiful Maine Coon cat into your home, the downsides will surely be dwarfed by the benefits.