All cats produce allergens, but some (including Russian blue) are considered as “hypoallergenic cats,” which means they produce less allergy-causing allergens than others. Many cat allergy people think that hairless cats are hypoallergenic because they do not have hair or do not shed. But, the real source of cat allergens is often a protein found in sweat, saliva as well as urine.
The Russian Blue, famed for its stunning silver or blue-greyish coats and eye-catching almond-shaped yellow or green eyes, is also known for being somewhat hypoallergenic cats. It has short fur that does not shed often, unlike many other pets. As for the topic, the answer is YES AND NO! Research says that Russian cats produce less of the allergen, but it neither necessarily makes them a non-allergenic breed nor is safe guaranteed for cat allergy people.
If you are allergic to cats, however, you still want to have or interested in getting a Russian blue, then read on the following information to see whether the cat is really hypoallergenic and safe for you or not. The article also aims to provide you suggestions on what you should consider and do about the Russian cat.
So, are Russian Blue Cats Hypoallergenic or not? Let’s find out.
What Does Hypoallergenic Cat Really mean?
The term-“hypoallergenic” means less or slightly allergic but not completely allergy-proof or non-allergenic. With the same meaning, hypoallergenic cats mean the cat breeds who are less likely to trigger allergic reactions in feline-allergy people. Sounds like the best cat breed pet for those who have cat allergies! But in fact, there are no exact hypoallergenic breeds of cats.
What Makes Cat Allergenic to Humans?
Because all cat breeds produce allergen and the most common one is Fel d1, a protein found in a cats’ skin, saliva, and urine. Also, protein is the main unique reason for people’s allergies to cats and not to other animals. Though there are breeds of cats that produce lower levels of Fel d1, Some can tolerate it, but still, it can be very allergic to another person.
Most people believe that they are allergic to cat dander or hair, but in reality, cats’ saliva is the main culprit. When cats lick themselves clean, their saliva transfers the Fel d 1 protein to their fur, which then dries up and becomes airborne, or humans can get it on their hands by petting the cat.
So cats that are promoted as hypoallergenic either produce less of the Fel d 1 protein or they have very short & less shed fur and dander that holds the Fel d 1 protein. However, It does not guarantee that people would not suffer an allergic reaction.
Russian blue cat breed is also said to be hypoallergenic but are they really? Read on to find out and know more.
Are Russian Blue Cats Hypoallergenic
Some people assume that Russian blue cat breeds are hypoallergenic because of their shorter hair but that’s really not the case. They still produce allergens and some cat allergy sufferers may still experience a reaction. However, according to research, Russian blue falls under the best-listed cat to have or adopt even for allergy sufferer people. Let us look at the following information for why the Russian cat is good for allergies or mostly hypoallergenic.
What Makes Russian Blue Cat Hypoallergenic?
Here are a few reasons that make the Russian blue cat hypoallergenic.
Low Allergy-causing Fel d1 Protein
Many allergens trigger an allergic response, which will vary between people. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, swollen eyes, skin rashes, etc.
However, the most common allergen when it comes to cats for cat allergic people is the glycoprotein Fel d1 and Fel d4. Fel d1 is produced on the cat’s skin and even in urine while Fel d 4 exists in the saliva. Mainly, most of the cat allergies people suffer from Fel d1 protein than Fel d4.
On the other hand, there is evidence that says Russian blue produces less glycoprotein Fel d1 than other breeds, and that may cause fewer allergy symptoms. However, keep in mind that a male Russian cat produces more allergens than females. So, when choosing your Russian blue, a female cat may be a better choice. But do not worry! If you still want to have male Russian blue, you can neuter him. Neutering the cat will minimize the number of production of the allergens.
Less Fur Shedding
When the cat licks their body clean, the allergy-causing protein in saliva will build upon the fur and, when it dries, will shed or become airborne. So, if the cat sheds more, then more allergen will get everywhere or remains in your bedding, furniture, etc. Moreover, you are prone to getting allergies.
The Russian blue, however, is a breed that has short fur and shed less. So, there will be less fur around the house to carry dried saliva (Fel-D1). It does not technically mean non-allergenic, only that it may cause less trouble. And although it will shed more in the spring and fall, it’s still a low shed in comparison to other breeds.
The Russian Blue has a dense double-layered coat, whose fur stands out at a 45-degree angle to their body. For this reason, the Russian cat appears bigger than it actually is.
Research says that this dense double coat can also protect people from severe allergy symptoms because it traps some allergens close to the cat’s skin and doesn’t get spread around the house as much as with other cat breeds.
Dander is dead, dried tiny flake of skin cells that are regularly discarded from every cats’ skin. In fact, we can say all cats produce dander, but not all people are allergic to it. Besides, the allergy-causing protein (Fel d1) sticks to the dander from the cats’ skin and often gets released into the air or onto the floor through fur shedding causing cat allergies to some people. So, more shedding of dander means more allergens in the home area.
However, Russian blue has a lower level of dander than other cat breeds! Not enough to activate allergies to a severe level in most people.
How To Confirm Russian Blue Is Safe For Your Allergies?
Despite the Russian blue having a dense coat and less shedding, which might look good from an allergy perspective, but it is still not fully allergy-proof. So before adopting one right away, it is far better if you can visit a cat breeder and pet some. You can also try being a foster parent to one to see if you can tolerate the cat.
Keep in mind that Russian females and kittens tend to have fewer allergens in general. So, consider opting for a female kitten if possible as this gives you less allergy to start with and, you might also slowly develop better tolerance.
Also, do not buy or adopt the pedigree Russian blue cat that some pet stores promote as hypoallergenic. Instead, the best way to make sure is to test or expose yourself first to it as much as possible. And see if you have any long-term reactions.
(Note: Do have the prescribed medications ready with you before playing and staying with the cat!)
Ways To Manage Allergic Reactions From Your Russian Blue
Russians blue cats still produce allergens and, you might have to deal with the occasional reaction if you adopt one. So, What should you do? While it will require some effort from you, it is usually very much possible to manage your allergy from any adverse effects. Consider the following points to reduce your allergy symptoms:
Avoid Personal Room From Cat Access
The bedroom, where you spend a lot of time, should be closed to your cat. It is useful for your betterment so that you can avoid allergens in your beds and improve your sleep quality.
Use HEPA Air Purifiers And Filters
Invest in good HEPA purifiers and filters to minimize airborne allergens but do change or clean them regularly.
Vacuuming And Sweeping
Sweeping and vacuuming more often can reduce pet dander, which contains allergy-causing protein. Make the cleaning task easier on yourself by minimizing carpets, textiles, or any fabrics that trap allergens in your house. Also, wear a mask during the cleaning session.
Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands frequently or regularly after petting or playing with your Russian blue. However, never touch sensitive parts of your body, such as eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands before washing. Use an aqueous cream for the treatment of itching.
Keep Your Russian Blue Healthy
Keeping your Russian blue healthy with a proper diet or food can also help in less shedding and production of dander. Research says that a cat diet containing a specific protein found in eggs can help reduce primary cat allergen.
Brushing Or Grooming Your Russian Blue
Daily brushing or grooming for a few minutes is way better to remove the excess hair & dander. It reduces the level of Fel d1 protein in the air & coat and also keeps the fur in perfect condition.
Consult With An Allergist
If your symptoms still interfere with your day-to-day life, then consult with an allergist for advice and medications. Also, apply for an allergy test to determine which cat allergen is the reason for your allergic response, and later you can plan accordingly.
Other Potential Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds Beside Russian Blue
Before bringing a Russian blue home, spend time with the cat to make sure it won’t aggravate your allergies. If a Russian blue does cause a reaction, or you want to consider another cat breed, then there are still several other cats to choose from where most require high maintenance.
Siberian and Bengal are the types of cat breeds that produce less Fel d 1 protein. The curly-coated Cornish Rex & the Devon Rex are cat breeds who shed very little hair and produce less dander. The hairless cat breed Sphynx and Peterbald, are another possibility for allergy-sufferers. You can find more info about these cat breeds online or on official pet sites.
Russian Blue cat is not truly hypoallergenic even if it sheds less and tends to produce a lower level of Fel d1 protein than other breeds. The amount of Fel d1 in Russian blue can also vary between individuals and even the same litter. So, adopting a Russian blue considered hypoallergenic will still not guarantee you would not suffer an allergic reaction.
However, Russian blue still is an on-list better choice for cat allergy sufferers. Though living with it will mean taking tests first, making a few sacrifices & plans accordingly, and putting efforts to manage the allergy.