In some regard, it is a shame that we are not all built the same. It would make life so much easier. It can be difficult when you have two people living together and one of them suffers from allergies more than the other and some people have even had to make the decision whether to get rid of their cat or their partner! A bit extreme I know but some unfortunate individuals can suffer very badly with this so it’s only right that they try and minimize the impact by looking for a cat that won’t trigger their allergies. But is this even possible? Are Siamese cats a good option?
Are Siamese cats hypoallergenic? The Siamese cat is not hypoallergenic. No matter what some people might claim, no cat can really be classed as hypoallergenic. Cats with shorter fur are usually less hypoallergenic than those with longer hair. The reasons why can be found in this article, including links to the scientific papers with the evidence.
What Do We Mean by Hypoallergenic?
When we talk about something that is hypoallergenic, we are saying that it is less likely to cause a reaction compared to other things. Therefore, if we were to say a Siamese cat was hypoallergenic we would be saying that they are less likely to provoke an allergic reaction in the sufferer than your average cat. This could be a big deal to some people as it would mean they would be able to actually live with a cat in comfort.
So, if hypoallergenic means something that is less likely to cause an allergy then why would that be the case? Well, we know that the root cause of allergies related to cats is down to the proteins that are found in urine, dander, saliva and in their fur. There is a widespread view that cats that are ‘hypoallergenic’ have short hair or at least less hair than others.
So, we can see why the Siamese cat would be included in this. Indeed, looking online, it seems some cats are actively being promoted as being hypoallergenic but the problem with this is similar to the old Chinese whispers. When someone online posts something that gets the attention of people, other, smaller sites tend to copy it. All of a sudden you have dozens of websites all claiming the same information, whether it’s right or wrong seems to be irrelevant these days. The more times it is copied the less it has to do with the actual facts.
Is Any Cat Hypoallergenic?
How do you know if your cat is hypoallergenic is often asked but the simple, honest truth is that there is no scientific proof that any cat (or dog, to that matter) is hypoallergenic. As much as people want to believe it and as much content as you read online, it doesn’t make it any truer. Of course, this article itself is just more online content, right? Correct – and you should also, therefore, take this with a pinch of salt. However, the difference is – we do our research! In fact, there’s more truth in the size of the animal having an impact on how much of a reaction you have than the breed of the animal, sourced from the scientific papers here and also from here.
The Problem With Dander
Dander is mentioned in this article as a possible cause of allergic reactions, but actually is it? Well, dander relates to feathers, skin, fur or hair that have come loose (shed) from animals. Of course, when we’re talking about cats, we’re not talking about feathers but fur and skin! Although, actually – hair and fur are exactly the same things anyway.
Dander is small, so small you can’t even see it with the naked eye. In fact, so small your average microscope would struggle with it also. It’s usually around 5-10 microns in size which is just 5-10 millionths of a meter!
I mentioned earlier though that it was the proteins that cause the allergic reaction. So, although we can say dander causes reactions it’s actually the proteins that are present with the dander that is the root cause. These proteins are also found in the urine and the saliva of the cat. Let me explain why this is important…
Imagine, if you will, your lovely Siamese cat going to relieve itself (possibly in the garden or the litter tray). Some of the urine (recall that this urine includes the proteins I was talking about) will get stuck to the cats’ skin and fur. Now, this means there are potentially two doses of this protein that will cause the sufferer an issue when some skin (dander) detaches (one dose is sourced from the protein found in the skin and the second dose comes from the protein found in the urine).
What Is the Siamese Cat?
Now that we’ve cleared up what we need to know about ‘hypoallergenic cats’, the root cause of allergies and the meaning of dander – let’s take a look at the Siamese cat itself for a moment.
Of course, the recognizable feature of a Siamese cat is its short fur, which does not have an undercoat. The coat feels very smooth to the touch and requires very little maintenance. You certainly won’t have to worry about grooming costs with the Siamese! It is a medium-sized breed that has a rather muscular look to it.
I could go on and describe the build of the cat and its colors, but it’s really not relevant for the purpose of this article and I want to keep it as concise as I can. There are plenty of other articles out there that serves that purpose.
Is the Siamese cat different from other cats?
I think any owner of one will tell you that they are quite unique, yes! They are known to be one of the more intelligent breeds of cat and are usually very affectionate. They can be very vocal and will suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. This is not the breed of cat to own if they are going to be left alone whilst you’re at work all day. Ideally, they are suited for a family with children where someone will be around for at least the majority of every day.
Physically, there are no real features in this breed of cat that might make you suspect it will be ‘hypoallergenic’. Some people point to its coat of course but as you now know, this is not the root cause of allergies – it is the proteins in its urine and skin also.
How Will I Know If I’ll Have an Allergic Reaction to a Siamese Cat?
Now, this is a great question. The honest answer is that there is no guaranteed way to ensure that you will not have an allergic reaction (assuming you are a sufferer) when you spend time with a cat. Even if you spend time with one Siamese cat and do have a reaction, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will with another.
Unfortunately, the only real way to know whether you’re going to be okay with a particular cat (any cat that is) is to spend time with that specific cat. So, try and do just that. If it’s at a rescue center, go and see it – pick it up and play with it. If possible, arrange for the cat to be brought to your location (assuming you’re not too far away).
Depending on how severe the reaction is, it may be possible to control it, let’s take a look at that now.
How do I control allergic reactions?
Fortunately, there are a few ways you might be able to limit (or eradicate totally) any reaction you might have had.
Keep Your House Clean
I feel a bit cheeky mentioning this (you should see the state of mine) but the cleaner (and more dust-free) your home is, the less likely you will be to have a reaction. You might want to install some air-filters around the house or vacuum daily. If you are going down this route, may I suggest you invest in a cordless vacuum cleaner? Believe me, if you’re doing this every day you’ll soon get bored of managing that cable – a cordless is so much quicker!
Another thing that people have found to work is to make sure that your bedding is changed frequently. I know this is a right pain in the backside but if your reaction is severe enough it might be the main thing that eases it!
Stick With It…
There are a lot of people who just put up with the reactions and over time they dissipate. This doesn’t always work but it does work with enough people to consider it. I know this is true as my wife seems to have improved over time with her reactions, so it is worth bearing in mind.
Many people take antihistamines to help with the effects of a reaction. This is an option of course but it’s not ideal and doesn’t sort out the root cause. If you are cleaning your house regularly and it hasn’t had an impact then have a chat with your GP about this.
Conclusion – is the Siamese cat hypoallergenic?
So, there you go. Forget what you’ve read on other places about the Siamese cat being a great hypoallergenic cat. It’s just not true. In fact, no cat (or dog) can be considered hypoallergenic. The best thing you can do is spend as much time with the cat that you want to buy before you buy it just to see how bad your reaction is. Then, decide whether you can manage it going forward.
The Siamese cat has a fantastic personality and it most certainly is worth persevering with, if you can!
Finally, if you’re looking for the best cat for someone with allergies then make sure you appreciate that no cat is hypoallergenic. The best thing you can do is spend some time with a cat to see if it causes a reaction.