If you suffer from cat allergies but are desperate to get the cat of your dreams, then you might wonder should people with cat allergies avoid Maine Coon cats?
As incredible as Maine Coons are, it is also a good idea to err on the side of caution for the sake of your health.
If you have severe cat allergies, you should avoid getting a Maine Coon cat. The Maine Coon’s long fur and frequent shedding mean they are not ideal for people with allergies, but this depends on the individual’s circumstances. Mild to moderate allergies can be managed with medication or even injections.
If you want a Maine Coon cat but know your allergies might set you back, it is essential to talk with your doctor to see if getting a cat is safe.
For those of you with allergies that are mild enough, it is probably okay to get a Maine Coon, but you will have to do extra work to keep their fur and dander out of your furniture.
Read on to find out how to manage your cat allergies if you have a Maine Coon!
Should People With Cat Allergies Avoid Maine Coon Cats?
The Maine Coon cat breed developed naturally in the cold American state of Maine, where they developed special adaptations to survive in the cold and the snow.
Maine Coon cats have long fur and a triple coat of semi-water-repellant fur.
They have one outer layer of fur and two dense undercoats, which means they shed a lot!
The Maine Coon cat breed has risen dramatically in popularity, and many cat lovers are desperate to get a Maine Coon of their very own.
If you have cat allergies, however, then you may be worried that getting a Maine Coon could be hazardous to your health.
Thankfully, people with mild to moderate pet allergies can usually live safely with their pets.
However, if you have a severe allergy it could be dangerous for you to get a Maine Coon.
Here are the severe cat allergy symptoms to look out for:
If your chest feels tight when you are around cats, it means the allergy is affecting your ability to breathe.
Should your allergy symptoms worsen, this can lead to anaphylactic shock.
Hives are itchy and uncomfortable raised bumps that spread across the skin during a severe allergic reaction.
Some people also develop a red rash.
Red Skin After Contact
Some people are so allergic to cats that even being licked by a cat can cause the skin around that area to become red or darker in color.
In the most severe allergy cases, a person can go into anaphylactic shock when they come into contact with an allergen.
Anaphylaxis causes a person’s throat to tighten until they can no longer breathe.
This is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.
While asthma is not a sign of cat allergies on its own, it can dangerously exacerbate symptoms.
Therefore, if your chest feels tight when you are around cats and you are also diagnosed with asthma, it is probably best to avoid cats.
Otherwise, your allergic reaction could also lead to a dangerous asthma attack.
How To Manage Cat Allergies
If you have severe cat allergies, then it is best to avoid getting a Maine Coon.
However, if your allergies are mild to moderate, and your doctor thinks it is safe, then you can still live with a cat!
Brushing your cat regularly will prevent loose hairs from collecting on furniture or in the air.
Maine Coons should be brushed at least once or twice a week, and more during shedding season.
From experience, we’ve found these 5 cat brushes to work the best on our long-haired Maine Coon cats.
Bathing your cat is a great way to clean off saliva and other allergens, but do not bathe your cat too often!
Even though people with allergies have a reaction to cat saliva as well as the proteins in their skin oils, removing these skin oils can lead to dehydrated, irritated skin and dry, brittle fur.
Try to avoid bathing your cat any more than once a month.
Here’s a funny Maine Coon video on Youtube showing what our eldest Maine Coon cat thought, when I first introduced the idea of washing him in the bath!
You should keep a High-Efficiency Particulate Air cleaner, also known as a HEPA filter, running at all times in your house.
Some people even get multiple filters to station around their houses.
These air purifiers are also good for reducing dust mites, pollen, and other debris.
It is best to keep your cat out of your bedroom if you have pet allergies.
As adorable and cuddly as cats can be, having one regularly sleeping in your bed can wreak havoc on your allergies!
Vacuuming regularly can help keep cat hair from circulating the house and sticking to your furniture.
Some vacuums come with special attachments that pick up fur more easily.
What Causes Cat Allergies In Humans?
Most people with cat allergies are specifically allergic to the protein known as Fel d 1.
There are several other proteins found in cats that can result in allergies, but the Fel d 1 protein is by far the most common.
The Fel d 1 protein is found in cats:
- Anal Glands
- Sebaceous Glands
It is most concentrated around the cat’s face and neck, as this is where the most glands that excrete Fel d 1 are found.
As cats groom themselves, their saliva is distributed throughout their body.
They distribute the oils from their sebaceous glands evenly throughout the body, as well.
These oils keep their skin and fur hydrated and healthy, so there is no way to remove this allergen from a cat (source 1).
What Is A Hypoallergenic Cat?
If you have heard of hypoallergenic cats then you might be wondering, are there cats that will not cause allergies?
Unfortunately, even hypoallergenic cats’ saliva and sebaceous glands still produce the Fel d 1 protein that causes allergic reactions.
However, some cats shed less or produce less Fel d 1 protein than other breeds, and are therefore considered partially hypoallergenic.
So, what is a hypoallergenic cat breed?
Cat breeds are considered hypoallergenic if they produce significantly less Fel d 1 protein than other cats, or if they shed less frequently.
Cats with thinner, shorter coats are generally easier for people with allergies to manage.
Thicker, longer coats tend to shed more, but some longhair cat breeds are considered hypoallergenic since they produce less Fel d 1.
Here are five cat breeds that are known for being partially hypoallergenic.
If you have mild to moderate allergies and you are looking for a cat breed that is a good fit, then there are a few cat breeds you will want to avoid!
- Oriental Longhair
- British Longhair
- Scottish Fold
Are Maine Coons Hypoallergenic?
If you are desperate for a Maine Coon cat but you are wondering are Maine Coons bad for allergies, the answer is, sadly, yes.
Maine Coon cats have a thick, triple-coat of long fur that sheds often.
Many cat specialists, however, debate whether this breed produces less Fel d 1 protein than the average cat. Some think they do, others say they don’t!
Even though Maine Coons are not hypoallergenic, though, you can still get one if your allergies are mild enough.
It is possible to keep a Maine Coon without being miserable all the time if you do the following things:
- Regularly brush your cat
- Keep your cat out of your bedroom
- Clean the house regularly e.g. sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, mopping
- Keeping air purifiers around the house
Still, you must discuss your allergies with your doctor before making this decision.
Symptoms Of Being Allergic To Cats
It is natural to get a bit itchy while brushing your cat or if you visit a shelter with dozens of cats nearby.
At what point do your symptoms indicate something more serious, though?
Here are some signs that you suffer from cat allergies:
1. Coughing And Wheezing
Many people with cat allergies begin coughing when they are near cats, or their throat might feel itchy.
You may even start wheezing or feeling a tightness in your chest if your symptoms are more severe.
If being around cats makes you sneeze, or if your nose always gets runny or stuffy when you are near cats, this is a pretty good indicator that you are allergic.
3. Watery Eyes
Your eyes may become itchy or watery when you are near cats.
It is normal to have an itchy nose or eyes if you are brushing a cat and some fur gets in your face, but simply putting your face near a cat should not result in itchiness unless you are allergic.
4. Hives Or Rashes
In more severe allergy cases, you can develop a rash or hives when exposed to a cat.
Being around cats when you are allergic can cause your skin to become red, dry, or itchy, especially if you have been bitten, scratched, or licked by a cat.
How Are Cat Allergies Treated?
If you have recently learned that you are allergic to cats, do not despair!
Unless your allergies are quite severe and your doctor recommends against it, it is possible to get a cat if you manage your symptoms correctly.
Here are some of the treatment options for people with cat allergies (source 1):
Antihistamines like diphenhydramine and cetirizine are easy to get over the counter and work wonders for many people with allergies.
A lot of people find that the best antihistamine for cat allergies is cetirizine, which you can find here on Amazon.
A long-term solution for many people with cat allergies is allergy immunotherapy.
These do not work for all people, and it can take years for the injections to work, but many people find permanent relief after using this treatment.
Nasal Steroid Sprays
Some doctors may recommend that you use an over-the-counter nasal steroid spray like:
If being around cats makes your nose runny or stuffy, you can manage your symptoms with decongestants that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine.
How To Get Rid Of Cat Allergies Naturally
If you want to find out how to get rid of your allergies naturally, or you want to know how to build immunity to cat allergies, then you are out of luck.
There is no way to naturally change your body so that it is no longer allergic.
Exposing yourself to more allergens will only make your allergies worse, not better!
The only natural way to manage allergies is by keeping your home clean and removing allergens from the air with HEPA filters.
Keeping your cat out of your bedroom will also reduce your exposure to allergens.
Furthermore, regularly doing laundry and cleaning the floors and furniture will help to remove some of the cat hair and allergens from your home.
Hypoallergenic Cat Food
One incredible scientific breakthrough has led to the very first cat food that reduces allergens.
This cat dry food available on Amazon, contains a protein found in certain eggs, which neutralizes the Fel d 1 protein found in cat saliva.
While it does not neutralize the Fel d 1 protein found in the cat’s sebaceous glands, it greatly reduces the amount of Fel d 1 protein in the cat’s household.
This cat food consequently provides some much-needed relief for many cat owners with allergies.
Keep in mind that cat food usually takes at least three weeks before it works, but studies have shown that it reduces about 47% of the cat’s allergen production on average (source 1)
If you are allergic to cats but are obsessed with Maine Coons, then you might want to know, should people with allergies avoid Maine Coon cats?
Unfortunately, because Maine Coons have thick, long fur that sheds often, they do not make the best companions for people who suffer from allergies.
If your allergies are mild to moderate, however, you can manage your symptoms through medication, injections, and by regularly brushing your cat and cleaning your home.
Cheap Hypoallergenic Cats
The cheapest way to get a partially hypoallergenic cat is to find a shorthair cat from a shelter, although you will not be able to tell if they produce more Fel d 1 protein than normal.
Why Am I Suddenly Allergic To My Cat?
Allergies often get worse over time if you are continually exposed to the allergen. You may not have noticed your allergies until they became worse.