Siberian Cats are hypoallergenic cats (hypo- meaning “less” in Latin), meaning that they are simply less allergenic, but not non-allergenic. This means that they will bother people allergic to cats less, but not necessarily completely so do not assume that buying a Siberian is a guarantee of no allergies. But the fact that Siberian Cats are hypoallergenic is a very unique trait among cats and difficult to find, especially in longhair cats. With that being said, Siberians are commonly sought after for this trait (among many, many others of course).
What Makes Cats Allergenic?
While there are many causes of allergic reactions to cats, about 60-90% are caused by a protein called Fel d-1. This protein is produced only in cats, either in their saliva or sebaceous glands (glands in the skin).
When the Fel d-1 soaked saliva dries out in a cat’s fur (left from grooming itself), it can break off and become airborne, essentially creating an allergy-ridden indoor space.
Siberian cats are hypoallergenic because they produce less Fel d-1, which causes less allergic reaction in people. For example, the average cat produces 63,000 micrograms of Fel d-1 per gram, while a female Siberian will produce approximately 200 micrograms per gram.
According to siberianresearch.com, about 50% of Siberians produce low levels of Fel d-1, and 15% produced very low levels, so there is some variation depending on the cat. Although it might seem like very hypoallergenic parents would produce very hypoallergenic offspring, this is not always the case. So in short, while Siberian Cats are hypoallergenic overall, there still is some variation from Siberian to Siberian.
Taking your Allergies for a Test Drive
It’s important to reiterate that not everyone will experience no allergies around a Siberian, therefore it’s a good idea to “test drive” one first. Some breeders will agree to send you some Siberian fur, and a generous few will let you into their homes to immerse yourself amongst Siberians and get the full experience. Most breeders will recognize that despite the fact that most Siberian Cats are hypoallergenic, this does not guarantee that they don’t cause allergic reactions in all buyers.
Male or Female: Which Is More Allergenic?
There is evidence to suggest that un-neutered male Siberians a more allergenic, but when both genders are neutered, there is virtually no difference in the level of allergens. Therefore you can be sure that all Siberian Cats are hypoallergenic if you get them from a certified cattery.
How to Reduce Low Levels of Allergens Even Further
If you still experience some allergic response around your Siberian, you can still take measures to reduce allergens even more, including:
- Bathing your cat, especially with a shampoo made specially for allergic people
- Use an air filtration system to remove Fel d-1 particle from the air
- Vacuum carpets and other soft furnishings with a HEPA equipped vacuum cleaner
However, if you’re one of the many people allergic to cats but can co-exist with a Siberian perfectly fine…this is definitely a match made in heaven!