GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT CAT ALLERGIES
Many people who suffer from allergies have resigned themselves to a life without pets. Few, however, have devoted
the time to uncover the true nature of the link between pets and allergies or have fully researched their options.
In order to help you through your quest for a new life, we have compiled a list of "pet myths" and the truth,
if any, behind them.
But first, a little background specifically relating to cats and the most common cause of cat allergies.
Contrary to popular belief, most people are not allergic to the fur or cat dander. Research estimates
that up to 85% of people suffering from cat allergies are actually allergic to a protein secreted in the
feline's saliva called Fel-D1. The protein is emitted into the air when saliva, resulting from the animal
licking or cleaning itself, dries and flakes off the body. The average cat breed emits 63,000 micrograms of Fel-D1.
While allergy research is relatively young, allergies have been plaguing people since the beginning of time.
Like most "old phenomena" allergies, their causes and their cures have sparked many theories, myths and misconceptions.
The following will attempt to dispel some of the most common myths and help you with your decision to purchase a pet.
MYTH: There are non-allergenic animals.
FACT: Any animal with fur or feathers can trigger an allergic reaction. In fact almost anything on earth (water,
sun, grass etc) can cause a reaction in some people. Of the fur and feather variety, however, those associated with
cats seem to be the most prominent, followed closely by dogs and horses.
SIBERIAN CAT FACT: Siberian cats are proven to emit less of the protein Fel-D1, which is attributed to
approximately 85% of all cat allergies.
MYTH: Short haired animals cause fewer allergenic problems than those with long hair.
FACT: All fur bearing animals, regardless of the length or texture are potential allergy triggers. In fact
reactions are not actually caused by the fur or hair at all, but by the dander (scales of dead skin) or by sebaceous
and salivary gland secretions.
SIBERIAN CAT FACT: While the average cat breed emits about 63,000 micrograms of Fel-D1, the leading cause of cat
allergies, the average Siberian female emits only 200 micrograms.
MYTH: Non-shedding animals are considered "hypoallergenic".
FACT: As mentioned previously, the allergic triggers of an animal are not associated with the fur at all, but by
either the dander or sebaceous or salivary gland secretions.
Research has even shown that non-shedding animals, such as the Poodle, Bishon Frises, and Kerry Blue Terrier tend to
be associated with less allergenic reactions, not because these breeds do not tend to shed, but rather because these
breeds are subject to more frequent and extensive shampooing and grooming, which physically eliminates some of the
allergens from the air.
SIBERIAN CAT FACT: Siberian cats have long luxurious fur and have been proven to emit significantly lower amounts
of allergens than other cats and dogs.
MYTH: Puppies and kittens cause fewer allergic reactions than more mature animals.
Since puppies and kittens have very little "old skin" to shed, they do emit little dander and hence have been
associated with fewer allergic reactions. Once they mature however, the problem will inevitably arise and can cause
mutual heart break if the animal must be removed from the home to eliminate further reaction.
SIBERIAN CAT FACT: The average adult Siberian female emits approximately 200 micrograms of Fel-D1, the leading
cause of cat allergies, compared to an average of 63,000 micrograms by other cat breeds. This significantly lower
amount of allergen emission results in a significant decrease in the amount of allergen exposure, and hence reaction,
MYTH: People may react to some breeds of dogs, while not to others.
FACT: Research has been unable to identify "breed specific" allergens in canines. Therefore it is unknown whether
this myth has any scientific basis. It is suspected that some dogs, regardless of breed may shed more than others,
hence increasing the exposure to allergens, but over time, allergens will eventually accumulate in a home with a low
shedding dog and will cause reactions.
MYTH: Restricting a dog or cat to one or more rooms of the house will make it easier to tolerate.
FACT: Over time, allergens will permeate the household regardless of whether the animal was restricted to one or
two rooms. The average dander and Fel-D1 particle is the size of 2.5 microns (to put it into perspective, the average
typed period (.) is approximately 1000 microns in size) and are easily distributed around the house through forced air
ducts, air conditioning, fans or any type of movement. The particles in the air will quickly accumulate around the
home until no "pet safe" haven exists.
Scientific reasoning aside, cats and dogs are social creatures and enjoy being part of the family. Restricting them
to a room, or a couple of room, robs both the animal and family of loving interaction and should be avoided.
SIBERIAN CAT FACT: Siberian cats bond quickly with their owners and enjoy being an integral part of the family.
They would not want to be confined to a room for any amount of time and prefer spending time with the members of the
MYTH: Pets that live outside cause fewer allergies.
FACT: This myth is only true to the extent that the home will have fewer allergens and hence cause fewer reactions,
because of the absence of the animal. However, any contact with the animal, such as touching, petting or playing,
outside will result in the same reaction that it would in doors. Further, leaving your pet outside exposes them to
innumerable dangers, such as being attacked by another animal, killed, illness from diseases or parasitic infestation
or being lost or stolen.
SIBERIAN CAT FACT: While Siberian cats may love to look lovingly at the great outdoors, they are safer and happier
inside with their families. Please do not allow your Siberian to go outside.
MYTH: Small furry, caged and feathered pets cause less allergic reactions because they are generally restricted
to one room.
FACT: For the same reasons mentioned above, allergens are released into the air and will travel and accumulate
around the house at a rapid rate causing reaction.
MYTH: Allergic reactions to pets may be more prominent and pronounced in the spring and fall.
FACT: People may perceive their pet allergies to be worse in the spring and fall, however this is generally due
to the high volumes of other known allergens (weeds, tree, grass pollens) during these seasons, which tend to
exacerbate existing allergies.
MYTH: Allergic reactions are usually immediately evident upon exposure to a new pet.
FACT: In order to become allergic to any substance, including a pet, SENSITIZATION (the process that
leads to the development of symptoms) sometimes requires repeated exposure over a period of time. Sometimes
this process may occur within minutes or even seconds of exposure, however, it can be misleading to judge the
severity of one's reaction upon the first meet and greet. This is why we send out fresh allergen kits that
are full of fur, dander and dried saliva from when the cats have groomed themselves. You will also receive
several pages of written instruction / suggestions on how to allergy test over an extended period time
There is a charge of $25.00 for this service.
MYTH - A purebred cat will live much longer than a regular cat.
FACT - Although you can certainly expect, when purchasing a purebred cat from an ethical breeder, that an
effort has been made to breed away from genetic problems, no breeder can ever guarantee that their cat will
not have a issue somewhere down the road. Siberian kittens, just like human babies, all come with genetic