Are Siberian cats hypoallergenic?

A diploma thesis: “Do hypoallergenic cats exist? – Secretion of Fel d1 in Neva Masquarade vs domestic cat breeds” by Julia Margareta Gertraud Satorina, concludes that the Neva Masquarade is hypoallergenic but that further research is required.

The Neva Masquarade is a pointed Siberian cat, the result of crossbreeding between Siamese and Siberians in Russia in the 1980s. I will refer to Satorina’s discussion in her thesis. This is in effect the conclusion. It is a document of over 50 pages and therefore I have to go to the conclusion.

Hypoallergenic?
Hypoallergenic?
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

She said that the participating cats in the study did not produce an allergic reaction in people. Cat breeder Markus Kronberger said that 90% of people who came to him to adopt a cat were there because they were interested in finding a cat that did not cause an allergic reaction i.e. were hypoallergenic. It should be said though that the term “hypoallergenic” means a reduced level of allergens and therefore the reduced possibility of an allergic reaction. It does not mean zero allergens and no possibility of an allergic reaction.

Neva Masquarade
Neva Masquarade. Photo: Dani.

Also, there is a general feeling that the Neva Masquarade breed is hypoallergenic which is why people go to breeders of this cat. And Markus said that the feedback from adopters was very positive with respect to their lack of an allergic reaction.

Satorina states that there are at least eight different feline allergens with Fel d 1 and Fel d 4 being the most common and major allergens. The study focused on the former. They collected samples from eight regular domestic cats and eight hypoallergenic, Neva Masquarade cats.

They collected potential allergens from four places on the cats and in the home: face, chest, saliva and dust from the favourite places where the cats snoozed or used. Where regular domestic cats and Neva Masquarade cats were living together the dust samples contained the allergen as expected as the cats shared these places.

However, when they analysed the saliva samples from the face and chest for their total protein contents, the samples from Neva Masquarade cats showed “slightly lower protein concentrations in hypoallergenic than normal cats”.

Satorina concluded that “Neva Masquarade cats secrete and distribute also less Fel d1 via their saliva onto their fur coat than normal cats. Therefore, the Neva Masquarade cats might emit less allergen in the environment than normal cats and thus be classified as hypoallergenic.”

She also states that, “the Neva Masquarade by secreting less protein and less Fel d1 allergen, may favour the single heterodimeric form of the major cat allergen Fel d1 with likely lower crosslinking-capacity and this lower allergenicity.”

She proposes that the cat breed Neva Masquarade produces less Fel d1 allergen in their saliva and therefore less allergen is distributed on their fur resulting in this variant of the Siberian cat being termed hypoallergenic. She feels that her study provides “an optimistic view for cat allergic and especially asthmatic patients” and she suggested further work is done on this.

Comment: it’s perhaps fair to say that of all the domestic cat breeds, the Siberian is the only one which appears to be hypoallergenic. There is conflicting data on it but this useful study supports the view that it is somewhat hypoallergenic at least and therefore may suit people who are allergic to cats. It is believed that about 10% of the human population are indeed allergic. The study calls into question why the pointed Siberian is hypoallergenic but not the other coat types for this breed? We don’t know at the date of this post to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps the Siamese genes imported something useful into the Siberian but the Siamese is not hypoallergenic.

You can read the full study by clicking this link but be aware that links to external websites sometimes break over time so if it does not work, I am sorry but I can’t control this.

First-hand experience: My Siberian cat is hypoallergenic.

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