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Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds

Hypoallergenic cat breeds can be a topic of great interest to cat lovers who are also allergy sufferers. Trying to find a cat that an allergy sufferer can live comfortably with is very important to some would-be cat owners. The word “hypoallergenic” is an adjective to describe something that has a decreased tendency to cause an allergic reaction. This does not mean that something that is hypoallergenic will not cause any reaction at all, just that it is likely to cause less of a reaction that something that is not hypoallergenic. Having said that, though, there is much debate on whether such as cat exists.

While many people assume it is the cat’s hair that causes allergic reactions, most allergies are actually triggered by allergens from the sebaceous glands of the cat. All skin, whether that of humans or animals, contains sebaceous glands that secrete oils that keep the skin soft and hair shiny. The main culprit in cat-related allergies is the allergen Felis domesticus, or Fel D1 for short. It is secreted by the sebaceous glands and also found in the saliva of cats, although in lower concentrations than that from the glands. As cats groom themselves, this Fel D1 spreads to hairs, furniture, clothing, and even dust particles moving through the air.

Since allergies are triggered not by the hair itself but by Fel D1, it stands to reason that even hairless hypoallergenic cat breeds can cause allergies. While all cats produce Fel D1, there are some commonly accepted facts about Fel D1 and how the level of it varies among different cats. Kittens generally produce less Fel D1 than adult cats. Unfortunately, this means a person could find himself not bothered by cat allergies until his kitten reaches maturity, at which point his allergy symptoms worsen significantly. Most female cats and neutered male cats produce less Fel D1 than non-neutered male cats, although this is not always the case.

Although there seems to be truly hypoallergenic cat breeds, as some breeds cause fewer allergy symptoms than others. Among the most well-known hypoallergenic cat breeds are Rex cats, such as the Devon Rex, Selkirk Rex, and Cornish Rex. It is not understood exactly why these cats seem to cause fewer allergy symptoms than other breeds. There is a company currently working to genetically engineer a cat that does not produce Fel D1. If they are successful, this could prove to be the first truly hypoallergenic cat breed in the world.

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