Do you suffer from allergies? Many people that get the seasonal sniffles also find they have an aversion to cats as well.
Finding yourself choking up around your friend’s feline might leave you wondering if all cats produce this reaction in your biochemistry.
Is it possible to find a hypoallergenic cat?
Owners of the ragdoll breed find they don’t experience problems with allergic reactions in themselves or with visitors to their home. Why is that?
Like Maine Coons, Ragdolls have a raggedy, soft, fluffy coat and a loving, calm nature. They’re also a large breed, with adult ragdolls getting up to body weights of 30-lbs for the biggest males.
Cat lovers that have light allergies will want to consider the ragdoll as a potential pet. With its fluffy coat, you’d expect that these cats would trigger allergies more than other breeds.
However, cat hair actually has nothing to do with sparking allergic reactions to cats (more on that later). Since they’re an allergy-friendly breed, they make the ideal house cat. That suits the ragdoll, as its mellow nature makes it useless in a catfight.
Ragdolls let you dress them up, and they’re fine with children mauling them – in fact, they kind of enjoy it. The “raggies” friendly and calm nature makes it the ideal cat to have around your kids.
So, why don’t ragdolls spark the same allergic reaction as other breeds? Is the ragdoll a hypoallergenic cat?
Why Do People Have Allergic Reactions to Cats?
Your nose starts to tickle. You feel the sensation spread through your sinus, and in an automatic reaction that shakes your entire body – you sneeze. Seconds later, your nose starts to run, and you feel your face swelling up.
Anyone experiencing an allergic reaction to a cat knows that it’s not a pleasant situation. The attack seems to come out of nowhere, with few tell-tale signs before it hits.
Some people have a more intense reaction than others. For some owners, they might feel like they get a bit of a stuffy nose. Others might end up in anaphylactic shock on the way to the emergency room.
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system recognizes incoming allergens, confusing them for a pathogen like a virus. As a result, it starts to make you sneeze, and your nose runs in the body’s attempt to flush out the allergen.
When your body comes across allergens, it produces antibodies known as “Immunoglobulin E” (IgE). The body uses Ige to fend off pathogenic attacks, presenting allergy symptoms.
So, what is the allergen in cats that sparks this process?
What are the Causes of Ragdoll Cat Allergies?
Many owners make the mistake of thinking that they experience allergic reactions to the cat’s fur, dander, or salvia.
In reality, this is partially true. The fur, saliva, dander, and urine of the cat contain a specific allergenic protein, “Fel d 1.” The cat’s saliva has the protein, and it wipes it all over its fur when grooming. The cat dander itself isn’t an allergen, but it holds the Fel d 1 protein responsible for initiating the allergic reaction.
The Fel d 1 protein spreads around your home easily. It’s light and sticky, and it can end up on the couch, walls, the bed, pillows, countertops, and everywhere your cat moves.
If you or your guests have an allergy to the protein, they’ll start to notice the symptoms of an allergic reaction when they encounter the proteins on surfaces. The person might breathe them in or wipe them into the eyes after touching a contaminated surface.
Therefore, the cat doesn’t even need to be in the room to spark the allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. The intensity of the allergic reaction varies from person-to-person. Some might have an intense response, while symptoms might be mild in others.
What Symptoms of Cat Allergies in People?
Some of the common symptoms presenting for cat allergies include the following.
- A runny nose and sneezing.
- The appearance of a rash on the chest or face.
- The development of the skin disorder, Hives.
- Red, itchy, sore eyes.
- Coughing or wheezing.
- Mucus buildup and blocked sinus.
The intensity and the speed of the onset of the allergy symptoms differ in affected individuals. Sensitive people find they notice the onset of symptoms immediately upon entering a room in a home with cats.
Other people might find they only develop the allergy symptoms after several hours around cats. Symptoms can last for hours or fade immediately after leaving the room.
Individuals dealing with respiratory issues like asthma find they have a stronger allergic response to the Fel d 1 protein. Around 20% to 30% of people with asthma are at risk of developing a severe allergic reaction to Fel d 1.
If you notice you’re having an allergy attack to cats, the best thing to do is walk outside into the fresh air and breathe deeply. It may take some time for the symptoms to subside, depending on the extent of the exposure to Fel d 1 proteins.
Are RagDoll Cats Hypoallergenic?
Most cat owners with light allergies find that ragdolls don’t send them into a sneezing sniffling mess. What makes ragdolls the exception from the norm?
Unlike with other breeds, the ragdoll doesn’t have an undercoat. The result is ragdolls don’t tend to shed as much as other breeds, spreading less dander around your home containing the Fel d 1 protein.
However, it’s important to note that ragdolls are not “hypoallergenic.” There is no breed that’s hypoallergenic, and all cats carry the Fel d 1 protein. However, raggies don’t seem to spread as much of it as other cats.
Ragdolls also don’t experience matting issues with their coat like other long-haired breeds such as the Maine Coon and Orange Tabby. There’s less grooming for owners, and cats, resulting in less contact with Fel d 1.
It’s also important to note that females also produce less of the protein than males. Therefore, a female ragdoll is about the closest thing you can get to a hypoallergenic cat.
If you have a sensitivity to Fel D 1, consider a ragdoll for your feline friend. People with light cat allergies find that they can build up their tolerance to the Fel d 1 protein over time.
After around five to 10-years of living with a breed like a ragdoll or Maine Coon, the owner might find they no longer have any allergic response to the Fel d 1 protein.
So, to answer our question, “Are ragdoll cats hypoallergenic?” The answer is a resounding no.
There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat unless you’re buying a Garfield plushy off Amazon. All cats carry the Fel D 1 protein, and they spread it around your home at different rates and quantities.
Still, the ragdoll is one of the best options for cat owners with mild allergies. Raggies don’t spread as much Fel d 1 around your home, reducing the intensity and frequency of allergy attacks.
If you have mild allergies, minimizing your exposure to Fel d 1 is essential to remain symptom-free. The raggie offers you the ideal feline companion to help you overcome your allergies and enjoy the benefits of cat ownership.