Are Maine Coon Cats Hypoallergenic?


If you are thinking of buying a Maine Coon but suffer from various allergies then make sure you read on to discover are Maine Coon cats hypoallergenic? The answer might just surprise you as it did for us!

Maine Coon cats are not hypoallergenic. No cat breed is allergy-free because all cats produce the protein Fel d 1, to some extent. Certain cat breeds are considered hypoallergenic due to their lower levels of this protein e.g. Siberian or Sphynx. Regular grooming, bathing, and hoovering will reduce cat allergens.

Suffering from an allergy is never fun, but when you develop an allergy to the cat breed you love, or even worse a cat your already own, it might seem that your choices are pretty limited.

Are Cat Allergies Common?

Many people suffer from cat allergies but are often not sure why. In fact, approximately 10% of the population is allergic to pets.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, cats are the main allergy culprit, with cat allergies being twice as common as dog allergies (source 1). 

What Causes Cat Allergies?

Cat allergies occur in people who have over-sensitive immune systems.

This causes them to experience unwanted physical symptoms, otherwise known as an allergic reaction.

The reaction itself is caused by an allergy to pet allergens, which are known to collect on many different surfaces i.e. sofas, walls, floors, etc.

Many people mistakenly think that they are allergic to cats’ fur, and stay clear of stroking cats, particularly those with long hair.

This theory is incorrect though because it is actually a protein in the cat’s saliva, urine, or dander that individuals are allergic to.

When the cat grooms itself, it spreads these allergens across its fur, which explains why so many people think they are allergic to cats’ fur.

There are three main cat allergens:

  1. Dander (cat skin secretions)
  2. Saliva
  3. Urine.

If you are allergic to cats, it is most likely that you are allergic to a cat allergen protein known as ‘Fel d 1’, which is secreted in the cat’s saliva, and skin. This allergen is spread when the cat grooms itself.

The Fel d 1 protein is not an integral part of cat dander or fur but may become stuck on cat dander, or fur.

Allergens can be found everywhere. They are often transported on clothing, can get into the air when pets are groomed, or even when you dust your home!

Once in the air, they hang suspended and can be breathed in by humans.

How Long Do Cat Allergies Last?

Everyone is different. Whilst some people experience cat allergy symptoms straight away, others might not notice any symptoms until 4-8 hours after exposure to cat allergens.

Symptoms may persist for a couple of minutes or may extend into hours, depending on how sensitive your body is to cats. 

If you are sensitive to cat allergens (dander, saliva, or urine) and find that your symptoms do not go straight away, this may be because allergens are terribly sticky.

These allergens attach themselves to anything i.e. floors, walls, clothing. or furniture.

This means that even though you are not in direct contact with a cat, you are still likely to have an allergic reaction to the allergens they have deposited around the house.

It can be difficult to rid your home of these allergens immediately.

Common Cat Allergy Symptoms

Are you allergic to your Maine Coon cat?

The list below shows the common cat allergy symptoms you will likely suffer from, should you be allergic to your Maine Coon cat:

  • Sneezing
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • The skin turns red, where the cat has licked, scratched, or bitten you.
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy, runny, stuffy nose.
  • Hives
  • Rash on the chest and face

If you are very sensitive to cat allergens, you may immediately experience either one or more of these symptoms.

If you are less sensitive, symptoms might not show until 4-8 hours after exposure.

According to the website WebMD, 20% – 30% of individuals with allergic asthma will experience severe flare-ups after coming into contact with a cat.

How To Reduce Cat Allergies In The Home

Do you love your Maine Coon, but hate the cat allergy symptoms you suffer from your feline companion? If this is the case, you have probably wondered if you can live with a cat when you have allergies.

Each individual’s allergy levels are different, so if you are prepared to manage, or even put up with your allergy symptoms then it is likely that you can continue living with your Maine Coon.

Ultimately, this is down to personal choice.

The following table shows you some simple ways to reduce your risk of experiencing an allergic reaction to your Maine Coon cat, at home.

TipWhy
Do not let
your
Maine Coon
lick you
Cat saliva contains
allergens. Realistically
this tip might prove
difficult to implement
because Maine Coons
love licking and grooming
their owners. Licking
and grooming show
that they love you.
Wear gloves
whilst
gardening
Cats wee in the garden.
Urine is an allergen.
Wearing gloves prevents
you from coming into
contact with cat urine
in the soil.
Don’t
stroke
your cat!
This is a difficult one if
you love cats! Reduce
how often you stroke
your cat to limit your
chances of touching
dander. Cat’s fur is
covered in dander
(dead skin). It is an
allergen.
Get
someone
else to
change
the litter
tray
Cat urine is an allergen.
Avoid touching places
where cat urine is more
common. Ask a member
of your family who isn’t
allergic, to cleaning the
litter tray!
Let
someone
else groom
your cat
If another member of
your family is not
allergic, get them to
groom your cat. Cat
allergens are released
into the air when cats
are groomed. Close
proximity to this will
likely cause an
allergic reaction.
Hoover
regularly
Cat allergens are very
sticky. Make sure you
hoover the floor and
curtains regularly,
to remove as many
allergens as possible.
Wash
hands
after
touching
cat
Allergy sufferers should
wash their hands
immediately, after
touching a cat. This will
help remove cat dander
from your hands. In
particular, washing
will remove the
Fel d 1 protein from
your hands.
Bath your
cat
Maine Coons love water
so can be trained to take
a bath. Regularly bathing
your cat will help remove
dander, saliva, and urine
from your cat’s fur.
Do not
let cats
into the
bedroom
Limit which rooms your
cat is permitted into, thus
reducing the spread of cat
allergens i.e. don’t let cats
in your bedroom
Cover
sofas
with
throws
If you allow your cat on
the sofa, make sure you
use washable throws.
Washing throws regularly
reduce cat allergen levels
in your home.
Train
Maine
Coon
Your Maine Coon cannot
help that you are allergic
to them! However, you can
train them to not sit on
certain chairs/sofas. This
will limit your risk of
touching allergens.
Take
medication
You can take specific
medication to prevent or
reduce your cat allergy.
Speak to your healthcare
provider or pharmacist.
HEPA
air filter
Installing a HEPA air
filter will help trap airborne
particles in the house.
Change
heating /
air filters
Change your heating
and air filters regularly,
particularly if a
forced-air HVAC system
is installed in your home.
Anti
Allergen
Sprays
Invest in a few different
anti-allergen sprays, to
see if this helps reduce
your symptoms.
Cat
cleaning
wipes
If your Maine Coon
isn’t a fan of bathing, use
some cat cleaning wipes
to limit the amount of
dander, saliva, or urine
attached to their fur.
Try these cat wipes
sold on Amazon.
How To Reduce Cat Allergies In The Home

Which Cat Breeds Are Hypoallergenic?

Whilst no cat is truly hypoallergenic, some cats are thought to be more hypoallergenic than others.

The reason certain cat breeds are awarded this title is that hypoallergenic cats naturally secrete lower levels of the protein Fel d 1, than others.

The protein Fel d 1 is an allergen, mainly secreted in the cat’s saliva or sebaceous glands.

It is responsible for causing the majority of cat allergies in humans and often becomes attached to a cat’s fur, saliva, or urine.

When humans come into contact with this allergen, approximately 10% of them will have an allergic reaction.

The following cat breeds are thought to be more hypoallergenic than others (source 1).

  • Sphynx
  • Bengal
  • Russian Blue
  • Devon Rex
  • Cornish Rex
  • Balinese
  • Oriental
  • Siberian 

Are Maine Coon Cats Bad For Allergies?

If you have your heart set on buying a Maine Coon, but suffer from cat allergies, don’t give up!

Although Maine Coons are definitely not hypoallergenic (no cat actually is), you may potentially build up a tolerance to this breed over time.

Regular cat bathing, grooming, hoovering, and washing the throws that your cat has sat on, may also help limit your allergy symptoms.

Conclusion

Are Maine Coon Cats Hypoallergenic?

The simple answer is no. However, there are many things that you can change within your lifestyle, to help limit the spread of the key protein ‘Fel D 1’ which causes most cat allergies in humans.

The level to which you are prepared to change your daily lifestyle will obviously be down to personal choice.

However, if you are prepared to compromise, and adapt your life to welcome a beautiful Maine Coon cat into your home, the downsides will surely be dwarfed by the benefits.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a self-confessed CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 9 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend!

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Are Maine Coon Cats Hypoallergenic?