In addition, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic breed of cat. There are breeds that produce less dander and cause fewer allergic reactions, but there is no feline “hypoallergenic” by definition.
When it comes to allergen levels in cats, there are several types of allergens produced.
Fel d 1 is a protein found in cat saliva and skin cells that causes allergic reactions.
Cats also produce many proteins called glycoproteins in their sebaceous glands, and these can cause allergic reactions.
Allergic humans usually have a reaction to the glycoproteins in cat saliva and skin cells (Fel d 1) and also salivary proteins (gpl30a, gpl20).
Why Aren’t Calico Cats Hypoallergenic?
Even though there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat, calico cats do produce more allergens than other breeds.
This is because the proteins causing the color in their fur (derived from the X chromosome) can also cause allergic reactions.
Another issue with calicos and other tri-colored cats is that they have three fur types.
This means that their dander, saliva, and other allergens will be distributed over three different fur types rather than two (as with most cats) or one (as with typical shorthairs).
Patterns and Markings of Calico Cats:
Typically, calico cats have a white coat with patches of orange and black or grey.
However, the wide range of possible markings means that not all calicos are alike.
These patterns can be large or small patches, spots, bars, or any combination thereof.
What Designates a Calico?
The “calico” designation, according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), means a coat that is mostly white with at least one of each of the following colors: orange, black and white.
However, other organizations such as TICA use more specific requirements for calicos.
These include a base of white with a minimum of one-third of orange and black patches.
What causes cat allergies?
Cat allergies are most commonly caused by cat dander or the tiny scales that fall off their fur.
What are hypoallergenic cats?
There is no breed of cat that is “hypoallergenic” by definition. Cats produce allergens in both their saliva and skin (most notably a protein called Fel D1).
However, there are breeds of cats that produce fewer allergens than others, which can make them easier to co-exist with for allergy sufferers.
Can you live with a cat if you are allergic?
Living with a cat is possible for allergy sufferers, but it requires a lot of work and diligence on the part of all parties involved.
All cats produce allergens, so it is important to determine which breeds produce fewer allergens in order to reduce symptoms.
In addition, there are many steps that can be taken by allergy sufferers and their families to reduce the number of allergens in their homes.
Is a single breed of cat hypoallergenic?
No, there is no single breed that is hypoallergenic. There are some breeds that produce fewer allergens than others, but this varies by hair type (and therefore dander production).
Some breeds also produce fewer glycoproteins in their saliva, which can also cause an allergic reaction.
15 Tips for families with allergies:
- Keep your home as free of allergens as possible
This is the most important factor in reducing symptoms. Keep windows closed when cats are in the house, remove carpets or rugs, and have air filters running to reduce dander in the air.
Vacuum daily with a HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner equipped with a micro-filtration system, and clean your home frequently.
- Keep your cat healthy
Allergens come from a number of sources, including saliva, skin cells, and urine.
Cats who are sedentary produce fewer allergens than cats that have active lifestyles, so encourage exercise for indoor-only cats.
In addition to being physically active, cats should be healthy in order to avoid producing excess dander due to illness.
Talk to your veterinarian about the best diet for an allergy sufferer’s cat as well as regular checkups and vaccinations.
- Bathe your cat regularly
Cats groom themselves several times throughout the day, but this can actually spread allergens around their coats because they lick off debris collected during the grooming process (like dead skin cells).
This is especially true for cats with light-colored hair that collect dander more easily.
Bathe your cat once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells, saliva, and other allergens.
- Have your cat groomed regularly by a professional
Many cats are not fond of bathing but will tolerate it if it is done frequently enough.
You may want to consider having your cat professionally groomed every month or so if you do not feel comfortable giving her daily baths yourself.
This can be costly, but could also save money in the long run by reducing the number of allergens she produces over time.
- Use fewer chemicals around your home
Cats do not need to be treated like babies, but it might help allergy sufferers to minimize the use of harsh carpets and floor cleaners.
If you do not have carpet, consider rugs or area rugs with a tight weave that does not allow allergens to pass through, and seal hardwood floors with polyurethane.
- Use fewer aerosol products around your home
Although many people rely on aerosols for everything from air freshener to insect control, these products are often full of chemicals that can irritate allergy sufferers even further.
They also produce dander as they degrade, so try other methods for getting rid of insects if possible.
- Avoid down comforters
This may be difficult because down comforters are so warm and cozy However, dander collected in down comforters is a major problem for allergy sufferers and can be difficult to remove.
They should be washed frequently and placed in airtight containers if they cannot be replaced immediately.
- Keep your bedroom clean and free of dander
Wash clothing and bedding often, as these items collect allergens quickly over time.
Consider using allergen-proof mattress covers on your existing mattresses (and latex or memory foam pillows), then placing hypoallergenic batting inside the cover that will help draw away more dander from the surface of the bed.
An alternative would be to replace your current bedding with dust mite-resistant fabric like cotton or bamboo, which helps reduce some types of allergies caused by saliva and skin cells.
- Clean your air conditioning units regularly
If you have an air conditioning unit in your home, clean the filters regularly so they do not become clogged with allergens and allow them to circulate through your house.
If possible, consider replacing an existing AC unit with one that is high-efficiency (and may save on energy bills over time).
- Avoid carpeting if possible
Carpets are notorious for collecting dander and hair, which can cause allergy problems for some people.
You might be able to get by with low-pile or no carpeting in some areas of your home where you spend more time (like bedrooms) but keep some area rugs around for decoration purposes.
- Keep stuffed toys to a minimum
Although children may love to have stuffed toys around, many of these items are filled with dander-producing materials that can cause major problems for allergy sufferers.
Wash stuffed toys regularly to keep them free of allergens or dust mites, then store them in tight plastic containers when not in use (like the ones they came in).
- Wash walls and ceilings regularly
If your home has bare walls or ceilings that collect dirt easily, consider washing them frequently as well as getting rid of unnecessary artwork and wall hangings.
This will help reduce the number of places where dander can collect over time.
- Keep pets out of bedrooms and main living areas
Do not allow cats or dogs into rooms where you spend the most time. Some people may be able to tolerate small animals in other areas of their homes, but ideally, they should not be allowed to sleep on the furniture or sit on counters where they eat.
- Clean sofas and chairs frequently
Sofas and recliners gather an incredible amount of animal hair over time, which can irritate allergy sufferers greatly.
Consider removing slipcovers that are hard to clean (or washing them often if this is possible), then use a lint-roller when sitting down after allowing your cats onto the furniture.
- Use air purifiers with HEPA filters
These devices are designed specifically for filtering out dander and dust mite allergens from the air around you, making it far less likely that you will breathe them in.
If you have severe allergies, consider investing in air purifiers for your bedrooms as well as smaller units for your main living areas.
Calico cats are not hypoallergenic. As long as a cat sheds fur and produces dander it can pose an issue for allergy sufferers.
Some calico cats are less allergenic than others, but this varies widely by breed and hair type (as calicos are not a single cat breed).