According to WebMD, roughly 10 percent of people in the United States suffer from pet allergies. Cats cause allergies twice as often as dogs, simply by being cats. Their tendency to groom themselves spreads their saliva, which, like urine and pet dander, carries proteins that cause sneezing, rashes and other symptoms in some people. This doesn’t mean people with allergies can’t adopt furry, purring companions. It just means putting in a bit more work. That work starts with the selection of the right cat. Cats with lighter coats tend to produce fewer allergens than dark-coated cats. Females tend to produce fewer allergens than males, especially if the males aren’t neutered. Cats with longer coats are usually a better choice because all that fur keeps many of the allergens close to the skin.
The Siberian is considered one of the best cat breeds for people with allergies. A study done by Siberian Research Inc. in 2009 showed that roughly 50 percent of the animals tested produced less allergens than other breeds. Siberians have medium length fur and come in several colors and color patterns, including tabby. Bengal, Burmese and Balinese cats are also favored. Adoptable cats at your local shelter can work just as well as long as you look for a longish coat and light-colored fur and make sure the animal is neutered.
Once you’ve adopted your cat, keeping your home clean is also a good defense against allergies. Cat bedding and toys should be washed at least once a week and the litter box changed regularly. Vacuuming often reduces the number of allergens. Air purifiers that use HEPA filters also help remove pet dander from the air.
It’s also possible to control pet allergies by using medications. Check out the Animal Rescue Site to see what types of new drugs and treatments are being tested. Having a purring, loving fur ball nestled on your lap is not out of the question even if you have allergies.
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