Cat Allergies

Blue tabby Siberian cat Gracie, with Blake, on her first birthday,

Siberians are more likely than other breeds to be low in the allergen Fel d1 which triggers most cat allergies

Until recently, many cat lovers who had moderate to severe cat allergies, or whose partner or child did, were obliged to choose one of 2 lifestyle options:

1. Living without cats (sneaking cuddles with friend’s or neighbour’s cat), or

2. Living, heavily medicated, with cats.

We are allergic to cats and have tried both options; but we don’t recommend either. That’s why we were excited when a few years ago when a friend introduced us to her beautiful, low allergen Siberian cat.

To our delight we discovered a cat that we could cuddle without experiencing allergy symptoms. Now our preferred choice is:

3. Living with hypoallergenic (low allergen) Siberian cats! 🙂

Why is it that so many allergic people can pat, cuddle and play with Siberians? Scientific research confirms what hands-on experience had revealed: that Siberians are more likely than other breeds to be low in the allergen Fel d1 which triggers most cat allergies. As a result, they can be ideal cats for people with allergies.

Cats of all breeds typically have 4-16 mcg of salivary Fel d1 allergen, although levels as high as 34 mcg have been documented. Fel d1 is found in the cat’s saliva, on the skin and fur, and in their urine and feces. That’s why people with cat allergies are generally unaffected by cuddling, grooming or cleaning the litter box of a cat with lower than normal Fel d1 levels.

Allergic reactions from hundreds of individuals ranging from mild eye irritation and stuffy nose to hives and breathing difficulties were charted against known Fel d1 allergen levels of Siberian cats by KittenTesting.com. This information was compiled to create the following chart.  The allergen information provided and the chart have been used with permission of KittenTesting.com.

Which Fel d1 level Siberian cat is right for you?

If you have these allergic reactions to Fel d1:Then you can be around a kitten or cat that is:
Hives, swelling, severe sneezing, breathing difficultiesExtremely Low
(0.08–1.0 mcg Fel d1)
Itchy skin, light sneezing, severe runny nose, asthmaVery Low
(1.0–1.75 mcg Fel d1)
Runny nose, severe eye irritation, coughingLow
(1.75–2.5 mcg Fel d1)
Mild eye irritation and stuffy nose from cat allergiesMedium Low
(2.5–3.5 mcg Fel d1)
No allergy symptomsMild-Normal
(3.5–16 mcg Fel d1)

* Fel d1 reported in micrograms of allergen per millilitre of saliva.
Individuals with allergies should seek proper medical advice before
purchasing a cat or kitten.

Face-to-fur meetings

low-allergen Siberian cat Mari doing an allergen test in a car

After initial matching, based on Fel d1 levels, you will be invited to meet your designated kitten in isolation (usually in your car) at our cattery. We also offer initial visits with one of our low-allergen adults for people who are considering registering for a future kitten.

At Seacliffe Siberians we choose our breeding pairs from low allergen Siberian adults, and test all our kittens to ensure that we can identify the amount of allergen each kitten will produce when it’s mature. We then allocate kittens based on the test results and the level of sensitivity in each family.

Before taking a kitten home, however, the allergic person in your family will spend about 45 minutes with your designated kitten in isolation (usually in your car) to confirm that there is no reaction.

We also offer initial visits when we are taking applications for kittens so that prospective owners can assess their reaction to a Siberian cat before joining the waiting list.

For more information about feline allergens and kitten testing, we recommend you visit KittenTesting.com.

If you have allergies and are considering buying a Siberian kitten, Siberian Research Inc has a wealth of information on feline allergens, myths about Siberian cats and allergies, and ways to reduce feline allergens. SRI is a non-profit organization founded to research and disseminate information on Fel d1 allergen and health issues specific to Siberian cats.