Do you have allergies, and are looking for a cat that won’t aggravate them? You may have heard that American Wirehair cats are a good option because they’re supposedly hypoallergenic. Is this true? Keep reading to find out!
What Is a Hypoallergenic Cat?
Before we get into the question of whether or not wirehairs are hypoallergenic, it’s important to discuss what exactly makes a cat hypoallergenic in the first place.
Most people who have allergies aren’t allergic to cats themselves; they’re actually allergic to a protein called Fel D1, also known as secretoglobin. This is a protein that’s found in cat saliva and sebaceous glands, and when a cat grooms itself, the hair gets coated with this protein.
When another animal or human being then touches that hair – or if they touch the cat directly – the allergen will be transferred to its new host.
Is It Possible for a Cat to Be Hypoallergenic?
There are quite a few breeds of cats that produce less Fel D1 allergen than others, hence the label “hypoallergenic.” However, this term is generally used incorrectly; what people usually mean when they say “hypoallergenic” is that they don’t produce as much Fel D1 allergen.
What Are the Benefits of Owning a Hypoallergenic Cat?
Hypoallergenic cats are often recommended to people who have allergies, but also want the companionship of a feline. Because many breeds produce less secretoglobin than others, they may be less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
The most popular breed thought to be hypoallergenic is the Siberian cat; it’s been shown that Siberians produce roughly half as much of the Fel D1 protein as other breeds, which makes them a good option for people with allergies.
Is an American Wirehair Hypoallergenic?
American wirehairs are one of the breeds that people often mistake for being hypoallergenic, but in reality, they do produce a small amount of Fel D1 allergen. This isn’t enough to trigger an allergic reaction in the average person, but it’s certainly not zero.
Will American Wirehair Cats Cause Allergies?
If you’re only allergic to cat saliva and sebaceous gland proteins (Fel D1), and you don’t react when in direct contact with a cat… then you should be able to live comfortably with an American wirehair. But if you’re allergic to cats in general, or you already react when in contact with them (due to the Fel D1 protein), then the answer is no, American wirehairs won’t be any better for you than any other breed.
If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic cat breed, and you don’t know where to turn, consider getting an Oriental Shorthair or a Siamese. They’re both breeds that produce less allergenic than average, which means they’ll be better for your allergies. If you’re truly allergic to all cats, however, then you may be out of luck – that will probably only change with genetic engineering.
Proper treatment can help people manage their allergies to cats. If your allergies are making it difficult for you to care for a cat in your home, consider speaking to your doctor about antihistamines and desensitization therapy.