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Making Cats Less Allergenic

Hypoallergenic Cats

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Updated January 16, 2009

Updated January 16, 2009
Most cat owners who are allergic to their pets are unwilling to part ways with their furry friends despite the sneezing and runny noses that come with owning a cat. When I discuss various avoidance techniques that allergic cat owners can follow, short of getting rid of their cat, I am often asked questions about the influences of cat hair length or cat size on the amount of cat allergen produced.

A recent study sought to determine the characteristics of cats that make them produce more or less cat allergen. Since we already know that multiple cats (2 or more) in the home results in far more cat allergen, this study determined the characteristics of cats when only one cat was present in the home. Of all of the characteristics studied, only neutering a male cat resulted in a significant drop in the amount of cat allergen in the home. Surprisingly, spaying a female cat did not show an effect on cat allergen.

Since the major cat allergen, called Fel d 1, is influenced by the production of hormones, it makes sense that neutering a male cat should result in less Fel d 1 in homes with cats. Unfortunately, spraying a female cat did not show the same effect.

Other characteristics of cats that had no effect on the amount of Fel d 1 in the home:

  • Length of the cat’s hair
  • Gender of the cat, without regard to spay or neutered status
  • Amount of time the cat spends indoors

Learn more about cat allergy.

Sources:

Nicholas C et al. Influence of Cat Characteristics on Fel d 1 Levels in the Home. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008; 101:47-50.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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