Cats are fluffy, loveable, and all-around cute. But there is trouble lurking in their fur — trouble for people who are extremely allergic to cats.
The search for a purportedly “hypoallergenic” cat, one that is entirely free from allergens, continues to gain momentum.
British shorthair cats are a prime candidate for being hypoallergenic.
Now the question here is this:
Are British shorthair cats truly hypoallergenic?
To put it plainly, British shorthair cats are not hypoallergenic. You might think or have been wrongly led to believe that they are.
What do you mean they are not hypoallergenic? I read that they were – a question that may instantly pop into your head!
Let’s dispel the misconceptions and uncover the reality behind the hype. Keep reading to discover comprehensive insights into British Shorthair cats and how they fit in this whole hypoallergenic scene.
Hypoallergenic British Shorthair Cats – Debunking Myths
I have already debunked the misconception, but what do I mean when I say a cat is or is not hypoallergenic? And where did this even come from?
When I say the British Shorthair cats are not hypoallergenic, it means that they cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to cat fur. Ordinarily, people who are allergic to cats get an allergic reaction, and they start showing symptoms, such as:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
British Shorthair cats have been repeatedly labeled as being hypoallergenic, claiming they do not cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people.
As much as I would want it to be true, I am sad to say that this is just a myth. There is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat. Some cats might cause less of a reaction than others, but there is no cat breed that doesn’t cause one.
The same is the case for the British Shorthair cats. So don’t buy into this myth and save yourself a lot of trouble.
As for the myth itself, it apparently originated when a company attempted to create a genetically modified hypoallergenic cat, with the British Shorthair chosen as their initial experimental candidate.
And people didn’t take too long to create a myth out of thin air. The whole reason why this myth was easily believed was because the British Shorthair cats have shorter hair than most other breeds. Shorter hair means less fur, and you can easily figure out where this all ended up.
And lo and behold, British Shorthairs are hypoallergenic.
The main takeaway here is this:
No cat is hypoallergenic, and don’t believe in everything you read on the internet.
Why Do Cats Cause Allergies?
Cats are covered in fur, and as they groom themselves, their fur gets coated with a mix of dander and saliva containing a protein called Fel d1. This protein is the primary culprit behind allergic reactions.
When you interact with your cat by petting or brushing it, you come into contact with this protein-laden fur, which can trigger allergic responses in susceptible individuals.
Fel d1 is a ubiquitous protein present in all cats, making it impossible to eliminate. It’s a natural component. So, the only viable approach is to learn how to protect yourself effectively from this protein.
Avoiding Allergic Reactions – What You Need to Know
There are a number of things you can do to prevent having an allergic reaction from your cat. And almost all of these come down to this:
How clean is your house?
You see, cats shed. A British Shorthair may have shorter fur, but since the fur is thick, it sheds quite a lot. The best way to avoid having an allergic reaction is to get rid of this fur as soon as possible and with minimal contact. The more it lurks in your house, the higher the chance of an allergic reaction.
Here are some steps we recommend:
- Brush your cat twice a week. I can’t stress this enough. Brushing is essential for your cat. It not only makes your cat feel great, but it also helps you get rid of all the dead fur, which would otherwise find its way around your house.
- Get a good vacuum cleaner. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter cleans your house while also making sure it filters out all the tiny particles. This proves to be a great way of keeping the spread of allergens under control.
- Keep an air purifier. You need to get quality sleep, and allergens can get in the way of that. Invest in a quality air purifier and place it where you spend the majority of your time. An air purifier in your house is much more than an accessory. It is a necessity for people who are allergic and yet can’t give their cats away.
- Use a mask. Mask it up whenever you are cleaning your house or brushing your cat. A mask is a super crucial accessory for people with allergies.
If you follow the tips mentioned above, you can significantly reduce your allergic reactions. But if they don’t work, don’t worry. You can talk to your doctor about allergy shots. These shots might be necessary in severe cases, especially if giving up your cat isn’t an option. So, getting the shots becomes the best way to keep your cat and manage allergies.
How to Make Your House Allergen-Free
It is a known fact that allergens build up gradually. It can take quite a while for an allergen to reach a level that induces an allergic reaction.
But here’s the catch:
It takes just as long to get rid of them.
Maintaining an allergen-free home demands some initial steps. Begin by designating your bedroom as a cat-free zone. This means neither bringing your cat into the room nor allowing it to enter. This measure ensures an allergen-free sleeping space, granting you peace of mind regarding allergies.
Next, consider giving your cat baths when feasible. Although many cats dislike baths and may resist, it’s crucial in this context. Bathing helps remove dead cells from the cat’s fur, preventing the spread of allergens throughout your home. This practice ensures that your British Shorthair doesn’t contribute to allergen dispersion.
Lastly, after interacting with your cat, remember to wash your hands and, if possible, change your clothes. This simple step helps minimize the transfer of allergens and keeps them from lingering on your skin and clothing.
By adhering to these tips, you can definitely keep allergen levels at a minimum.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are short-haired cats better for allergies?
While it’s partly true that shorter hair can lead to fewer fur-related allergens, a cat’s genetic makeup and hygiene also play significant roles. Short-haired breeds like the British Shorthair might seem less allergenic, but the actual difference isn’t substantial. Ultimately, the allergen levels depend on each household and its specific cat.
Do cat allergies go away?
Allergies can change over time. As time passes, individuals might develop a degree of tolerance to these allergies. Furthermore, there are numerous instances where people have actually outgrown their allergies. Hence, it’s true that cat allergies can diminish with time.
Can allergies related to cat fur be cured?
Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for cat allergies. You can get allergy shots for increased tolerance, but the allergy itself never fully goes away. The only thing you can do is to take precautions and take proper medication after consulting with your physician.
Can you die from a cat allergy?
For the most part, a cat allergy won’t kill you. If you get an allergic reaction, you will likely develop mild symptoms. But in more severe cases, a person can develop a condition called Anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition and needs instant attention.
How to get rid of dander?
To manage allergies, remember to dust, wipe wood surfaces, do laundry after cat contact, use air purifiers, opt for a HEPA-filter vacuum, give your cat anti-dander baths, and ensure good ventilation. These steps help reduce allergens and improve your living environment.