How much more allergenic are neutered male cats than female cats?
August 10, 2007 5:59 AM   Subscribe

How much more allergenic are neutered male cats than female cats? I know they produce more Fel d 1, but is the difference slight or significant?

Asking for daisyace...

For those who have been following my saga, there's been a plot twist. The kitten we brought home on Saturday has just been to the vet for a healthy kitten check, and it turns out he's a boy! That's a problem because my husband has allergies, and males produce more allergens. We've got to return him tomorrow, or keep him. To decide, I'd love to know the numbers -- what percent more Fel d 1 neutered males produce than females.

As a summary of my previous question, this is a Siberian kitten, which is a low-allergen breed. We've had him since Saturday, and he's 13 weeks old. My husband has been having a little bit of a reaction, but much, much less than to other cats. It's a bit of a risk in any case, because we don't know whether things will get better, worse, or stay the same as my husband gets acclimated, and as the cat gets more mature and more allergens build up in the house. Logically, we should minimize the risk that my husband will have to go on medication as much as possible, so we'd chosen what we thought was a girl, but we do already adore this particular cat, and after my last posting, we had decided to keep 'her.' So, we'd like to know whether the difference between neutered males and females is significant or slight.

(We've already got plenty of suggestions for ways to control allergies, thanks!)
posted by initapplette to Pets & Animals (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've suffered from allergic asthma for all of my life and the many doctors I have seen have never said anything about the sex of a cat making a difference.

That being said, their advice is either get rid of the cat or learn to live with it, knowing that you will probably not get as good results with medication to control the allergies with the cat in the house vs. medication and no cat. And medication can include immunotherapy (allergy shots) which are very effective in many people.

I'm curious how you have determined that the sex of a cat is scientifically proven to affect the "allergic factor" (for lack of a better term)? Is there research to prove this, or is it anecdotally noted?
posted by FergieBelle at 7:00 AM on August 10, 2007

This abstract suggests that Fel d 1 production is "higher in male cats, but ... did not reach statistical significance" and "strongly decreased 1 month after castration of male cats". Perhaps someone here has the PubMed access to read the paper in its entirety.

If I were in your shoes, I would be more concerned about the provenance of a purebred cat, especially one which is supposedly a hypoallergenic breed, that came from a breeder who was unable to accurately sex a 13 week old kitten.
posted by jamaro at 8:54 AM on August 10, 2007

I have two new male kitties and am horrifically allergic. I started on Zyrtec-D, passed up the allergy shots and am doing really well. I realize you may want to avoid medication (for obvious reasons) but I'm a case where they really did work and the trade-off of having a happy cat home was worth it.
posted by cior at 9:20 AM on August 10, 2007

That's interesting, I had never heard of males having a higher incidence of allergens.

That said, I have two cats who are littermates, a male and a female. I am definitely more allergic to the male than the female. I can touch the female and touch my face without any problems, but if I do this with the male cat, my eyes itch to the point of wanting to claw my own eyes out. I assumed that this was because he is all-black and I've heard that all-black cats are bad for people with allergies, but maybe it's his gender after all.
posted by tastybrains at 11:34 AM on August 10, 2007

Jamaro, thanks for the good link. I read the abstract more pessimistically, in that it says "The Fel d 1 level was higher in... male cats than in female cats... Results were significant in the first experiment (median Fel d 1 per milliliter: 69.4 and 28.9 mU, respectively, for the combined three sites; p < 0.05). it's the fel d 1 production over a 24-hour period that was higher in male cats, but ... did not reach statistical>
I'd love to see the article, if anyone can get PubMed, particularly because I'd like to see the magnitude of the decrease after neutering -- whether it was down to the levels of the female cats, or still somewhere in between. I'd also like to see the one to which I linked in the first one's sidebar, which says that neutering has an impact, but again doesn't spell out that impact in the abstract.
posted by daisyace at 11:35 AM on August 10, 2007

« Older Does caffeine cause mood swings?   |   How to bend 50 laptops to my will? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.