Hypoallergenic cat?
November 26, 2004 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Cat query: we are exploring getting a cat for our four year old for Hanukkah, but my wife is allergic. A few years ago we met someone that had a variety that had actual hair, not fur/dander, I suppose akin to a poodle. It's coat was sort of a brindle texture, with dark brown, black, and gold coloration. Anyone know what I'm thinking of?
posted by docpops to Pets & Animals (17 answers total)
What I'm thinking of is not what you describe, but I read that a Russian Blue cat tends to not aggrevate allergies.
posted by christin at 10:42 AM on November 26, 2004

From what I found through some Googling, you might be thinking of a Rex? Apparently people tend to be less allergic to those than others. It should be noted that there is no truly hypoallergenic cat. Well, according to this site and this site anyway.

What about one of those bald Mr. Bigglesworth cats?
posted by bDiddy at 10:42 AM on November 26, 2004

docpops, people are allergic to a protein in cat's saliva, not to cat's hair
posted by matteo at 10:46 AM on November 26, 2004

Via google, I found over 3,000 links to

furless cat

and over 130,000 to

hairless cat

The latter seems to be the Sphynx cat (10,000 hits for

Sphynx cat hairless

As an aside, I personally know of two women who were alergic to cats as children but, as adults (40ish), brought home kittens and, after two or three months, didn't have an allergetic response. (They got through the difficult period by using small amounts of Benadryl.) While they aren't totally symptom-free (touching a cat, then touching an eye immediately thereafter, still triggers a reaction, albeit mild), they can play with cats (both have two, now), share the same bed (cats above the covers, of course), and pretty much coexist quite happily. (Your mileage may vary; if you do adopt a cat, it probably would be best to get it from a shelter where they take back pets when the adoption doesn't work out.)

Also, I think you'll find discussions (sorry, don't have links) on the Web about reducing potential reactions by daily grooming, cleaning the house, etc.

Good luck.
posted by WestCoaster at 10:47 AM on November 26, 2004

Being deathly allergic to cats, i.e. emergency room trips, my girlfriend and I were about to try this when her jonesing for a cat hit its peak. Unfortunately, the relationship ended soon after so I never found out if it works.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 11:02 AM on November 26, 2004

According to this article, such a type doesn't exist, though your wife may find she has fewer reactions with certain cats, regardelss of breed. This page has good information on tips for reducing allergy symptoms, and this page from Allergy Buyers Club rates products you can use to control your environment. The good news, though, is that chldren with cats and/or dogs have a reduced risk for allergies.
posted by taz at 12:55 PM on November 26, 2004

Thanks for all the help. I can see we need to think this through a little more thoroughly...

As it turns out, it was a Rex that we saw originally.
posted by docpops at 1:13 PM on November 26, 2004

Get a Frankencat. They're hypoallergenic and only $3500.
posted by TimeFactor at 2:56 PM on November 26, 2004

wicked cool
posted by docpops at 4:41 PM on November 26, 2004

Before buying a cat, you might want to read a review.
posted by bDiddy at 4:52 PM on November 26, 2004

"It's coat was sort of a brindle texture, with dark brown, black, and gold coloration. Anyone know what I'm thinking of?"

Forget the cat and go for the next best thing....

---brown, black, and gold coloration
---no hair
---long tail
---has a wet nose
---long front teeth
---might be trainable to sleep on the bed

posted by PlanoTX at 11:12 PM on November 26, 2004 [1 favorite]

I used to be very allergic to cats, I couldn't be in the same room with them. The older I get, the less allergic I am. So, if your wife hasn't 'tested' her allergy in a while, she might be pleasantly surprised. Also, my allergy varies a lot between different cats. Maybe she could test a few cats and see if one of them is a winner.
posted by kamikazegopher at 10:10 AM on November 27, 2004

Okay, I didn't want to add personal stories, because I thought it wouldn't help that much, but, for what it's worth - I've had very bad allergic reactions to cats, in the sense that I'm constantly sneezing and conjested, and I've had cats that didn't cause that reaction. Sometimes, I can just walk into somebody's house and start sneezing uncontrollably, but I might have a cat myself, and hardly suffer a consequence - even though I'm really not a good housekeeper. If your allergy is not so serious, there is a possibility of having cats and not suffering; somehow some of them really set it off, while others don't.
posted by taz at 11:20 AM on November 27, 2004

I am allergic to all cats (that I have come across, at least) except Siamese.
I don't know why, and I don't know if this helps.
posted by rhapsodie at 12:05 PM on November 27, 2004

Problem - have you had your daughter tested for allergies? I was allergic to dogs as a child, but am not now. However it would be pretty sad to get a new kitten (and it will take a bit of time and money to get a Rex) and then find out that your wife is still allergic to the breed and your daughter has symptoms too - and then have to find a new home for the kitten. That's hard on the child and the kitten. You might try finding a way to let your daughter play with a cat - or at least be around one - at a friend's house. However sometimes it can take several weeks for symptoms to show up. Some of this has to do with the fact that cats will shed and fur and dander will build up in the household - and that will trigger more allergies. Wood floors solve a lot of problems that carpets can make worse. Some allergies are helped if the cat is bathed regularly - if the allergy is to the cat dander.

Rexes are great cats - but also very different if you've only had "regular" cats (I call my current cat an American yard cat, your average foundling, but a friend had two Rexes). Rexes are intelligent and can climb all over the place like monkeys. Fun, but you will find them in and on everything. My Siamese was like that, a loving and a great pet but was impossible to keep out of any area in the house.
...Ok, now that I think of it that describes the current cat as well, he's just not as good at climbing without knocking things over...
posted by batgrlHG at 2:43 PM on November 27, 2004

I think you might be referring to the Norweigan Forest cat. My aunt, who is allergic to cats got one and has had no problems. Maine Coons are related, but not quite the same.

Both breeds will cost you a pretty penny though.
posted by Kimberly at 5:13 PM on November 27, 2004

My cat allergy seems to be hugely variable from cat to cat, and also seems to have peaked several years ago and be wearing off now.

I'm beginning to suspect that carpet in the house has something to do with it: no carpet and polished floors = no sneezes for me.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:24 PM on November 27, 2004

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