If you’ve ever suffered from a pet allergy in the past, you’ll likely want to establish which cat breeds are hypoallergenic, and which are not.
So, are Maine Coon cats hypoallergenic? Or, would these long-haired cats cause you severe allergic reactions that you’d rather not have?
Maine Coon cats are not hypoallergenic because they produce the Fel d 1 thermostable protein found in all cat’s sebaceous glands, saliva, anal glands, fur, and skin. Individuals sensitive to this cat allergen should avoid buying a Maine Coon, unless their symptoms are mild and can be managed by pet allergy medicines.
Keep reading to learn how a HEPA filter and air purifiers can help reduce your cat’s airborne allergens within the home and make living with a Maine Coon cat possible.
Are Maine Coon Cats Hypoallergenic?
Purebred Maine Coon cats are not hypoallergenic because they produce a Fel d1 thermostable protein complex that is secreted from cats:
- Sebaceous Glands
- Anal Glands
- Dander (Dead Skin)
A common misconception is that hairless cats are 100% hypoallergenic and therefore suitable for allergy sufferers. However, this is a complete myth since no cat breed is fully hypoallergenic.
Some cat breeds produce less Fel d1 protein though, which reduces the risk of a sensitive individual having their allergies triggered, since it is this protein people are allergic to, not the cat’s fur.
The most hypoallergenic cat breeds therefore are those that produce less Fel d1 protein, including (source 1):
- Sphinx Cats
- Bengal Cats
- Siberian Cats
- Russian Blue Cats
- Cornish Rex Cats
- Devon Rex Cats
- Balinese Cats
Some cat experts advocate that Maine Coons should be included within this ‘hypoallergenic cat’ list, since they shed less fur than normal cats, thereby spreading less Fel d1 protein.
Mild allergy sufferers should be fine living with a Maine Coon cat if they are using non-drowsy antihistamines like cetirizine to reduce their cat allergy symptoms.
Severe allergy sufferers, however, are advised not to live with a Maine Coon cat.
What Causes Cat Allergies?
Cat allergies occur in people who have over-sensitive immune systems that cause these sensitive individuals to experience unwanted physical symptoms, known as allergic reactions.
The reaction itself is caused by an allergy to pet allergens that collect on many different surfaces, including:
Cat allergies do not usually occur because people are allergic to a cat’s fur.
Instead, a cat lover unknowingly comes into contact with a cat’s saliva or dander, which contains the Fel d1 protein they are allergic to, whilst stroking the cat’s fur.
In rare cases, some cat allergy sufferers are allergic to Fel d 2 and Fel d4 proteins.
Since cats are fastidious cleaners that continuously groom their shaggy coat to keep them clean, they repeatedly spread allergens across their cat fur that can become stuck on the cat dander, or fur.
Symptoms Of Cat Allergies In Humans
There are a variety of cat allergy symptoms that babies, toddlers, children, and adults exhibit, so it is important to know what signs you need to look out for.
Below are some common cat allergy symptoms that animal lovers suffer from:
- Itchy Skin
- Runny Nose
- Red, Itchy Eyes
- Throat or Mouth Irritation
- Watery eyes
- The skin turns red if the cat licks, scratches, or bites you
- Rash on chest and face
Keep in mind that whilst some people experience cat allergy symptoms immediately, others do not notice any symptoms until 4-8 hours after exposure.
How Common Are Cat Allergies?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 10% of the population is allergic to household pets, with cats being the biggest culprit!
WebMD also states that 20% – 30% of individuals with allergic asthma will experience severe flare-ups after coming into contact with a cat.
Biomed Central Limited researched the levels of Fel d1 in households with cats, in 2018. They found that 99.9% of homes with cats had Fel d1 protein in them.
The protein was located in many places, including:
- Dust on sofas
- In the carpets
- On clothes
These airborne allergens travel easily and can cause people with an over-sensitive immune system to suffer from the following severe allergic reactions:
- Loss Of Consciousness
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
The study also found high levels of Fel d 1 in:
- Shopping Centers
Allergens can be found everywhere. They are often transported on clothing, and 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, therefore, causing an issue for allergy-prone humans.
This goes a long way to explain why some individuals experience an allergic response in the least likely of places.
How Long Do Cat Allergies Last?
There is no exact timeframe for how long cat allergies last since every pet allergy sufferer experiences pet allergies differently. However, symptoms usually range between a few minutes to a few hours.
If you are sensitive to cat allergens and find your symptoms do not go straight away, this might be because the allergens you are exposed to are sticky.
Sticky allergens are difficult to rid your home of because once airborne they attach themselves to anything, including:
This means that despite not being in direct contact with a cat, you might still experience allergic reactions to the allergens deposited around a house.
How To Reduce Cat Allergies In The Home
There are a variety of ways cat lovers can reduce pet allergies in their homes, whether it be installing a HEPA filter or air purifier, or simply not stroking your cat!
Keep reading to discover the best way to ensure fewer allergens are spread by this popular breed:
1. Do Not Allow Cat To Lick You
Some Maine Coon cats are exceptionally affectionate felines that want to lick and groom their owners, to show their love.
Pet owners who are sensitive to a cat’s Fel d1 protein should do their best to avoid being licked by their cat.
If not possible, they should wash the affected area, immediately.
2. Wear Gloves Whilst Gardening
Pet allergy sufferers should wear gloves whilst gardening, to prevent them from coming into contact with cat urine in the soil.
3. Avoid Stroking Your Cat!
Allergy sufferers can opt to avoid stroking cats, thereby reducing their chances of coming into contact with the Fel d1 protein they are allergic to.
Unfortunately, this isn’t very realistic for cat lovers to achieve!
4. Take Medication
Pet owners can take allergy medication that limits their sensitivity to pet allergens. The medication must be approved by your doctor, before use.
5. Anti-Allergen Sprays
Invest in a few anti-allergen sprays to see if they help reduce your unwanted pet allergy symptoms.
6. Hoover Regularly
Make sure you hoover the floors and curtains in your home regularly, to remove as many sticky allergens as possible.
7. Do Not Let Your Cat In Your Bedroom
Owners should limit the number of rooms their cat is permitted into, thereby reducing the spread of cat allergens.
8. Cover Sofas With Throws
If you are sensitive to cat allergens it is a good idea to cover your sofa in washable throws that can be washed regularly to reduce cat allergens.
9. Install A HEPA Air Filter
Installing a HEPA air filter is a great way to help trap unwanted airborne particles in your home.
10. Change Heating And Air Filters
You should change the heating and air filters in your home, regularly. This is especially important if you have a forced-air HVAC system installed in your home.
11. Ask Non-Allergy Sufferers To Groom Your Cat
Ask another family member that is not allergic to pet allergies, to groom your cat so you are not affected by the cat allergens released into the air whilst grooming.
12. Get Someone Else To Change To Litter Tray
Cat urine is an allergen, therefore cat allergy sufferers should avoid touching any places where cat urine is more common, e.g. the litter tray.
You will need to ask a family member who isn’t allergic, to clean the litter tray!
13. Bathe Your Cat
Bathing a Maine Coon cat is a great way to keep your cat’s fur clean and free of excess dead fur but also wash away the cat allergens stuck on their fur.
Maine Coon cat owners should not bathe their cats more than once per month.
14. Train Your Maine Coon To Not Sit On The Sofa
To reduce the amount of allergens that you come into contact with, owners can train their Maine Coon to not sit on the sofa.
Here’s the complete guide on How To Train A Maine Coon.
The training process will be far easier if you purchase one of these Extra-Large Cat Trees that you can encourage your cat to consider ‘their space’.
15. Use Cat Cleaning Wipes
Contrary to popular belief, not all Maine Coon cats like being bathed!
To overcome this issue, simply buy some cat-cleaning wipes that can be wiped over your cat’s thick coat regularly, to help remove the sticky cat allergens.
16. Brush Your Cat Outside
Brushing a cat outside reduces the levels of cat allergens within a home since the allergens are released into the outside air, rather than the home.
A large percentage of cat fur will also blow away in the wind, along with the Fel d1 protein attached to it!
17. Clean The Cat With A Damp Cloth
Regularly wiping your cat with a damp cloth helps to remove lots of sticky cat allergens that are attached to its fur.
Do Maine Coon Cats Shed A Lot Of Hair?
Maine Coon cats have a thick dense coat that sheds ‘medium levels’, rather than excessively.
Their first shedding season of the year occurs as spring approaches and the outdoor temperature rises. During this time you’ll notice your Maine Coon shedding its thick winter fur coat.
As the temperature rises and the hotter summer months approach your Maine Coon will shed more fur to help them stay cool during the hottest months of the year.
Indoor Maine Coons do not shed as much fur as outdoor Maine Coons because the temperature of the home remains relatively constant year-round.
Maine Coons have long fur and require regular grooming to remove excess fur that has become caught in this large cat breed’s thick dense fur coat.
If you are concerned that your Maine Coon is shedding too much, find out what might be causing this health problem by reading this article.
This cat food will help reduce Maine Coon shedding the most effectively.
So, are Maine Coon cats hypoallergenic?
Whilst Maine Coons are not considered hypoallergenic, some things pet parents can do to limit the levels of Fel d1 allergen within their home.
Therefore, if you love this large cat breed and only have mild pet allergies, there are things you can do to successfully live with a Maine Coon cat.