Allergies don’t mean you can’t have a cat

Italian researchers believe people who do not have cats in their childhood are almost twice as likely to develop cat “sensitisation” in adulthood.

And they say that people who have other allergies, or who allow a cat into their bedroom, are also at higher risk than those who do not.

The European research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and reported yesterday by Reuters, could be discouraging news for any adult who is just discovering how much pleasure a pet cat can bring.

Fortunately, going catless is not the only option for such people.

Female Siberian cat CalinaThere are many things one can do to reduce the irritation caused by a cat allergy, and a number of them are outlined on Tom Lundberg’s excellent website kittentesting.com.

They include placing the litterbox outdoors (and getting someone who isn’t allergic to manage it!), bathing the cat weekly, and general household hygiene.

Complicating the issue, however, is the fact that there are several known cat allergens.

About 90 per cent of people with a cat allergy react to the Fel d1 protein which cats produce in widely varying levels.

Our breeding programme at Seacliffe Siberians aims to reduce the level of Fel d1 in Siberian kittens, so that even it you have a moderate to severe sensitivity to that protein, you may be able to select a cat whose Fel d1 level is low enough for you to be comfortable.

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