Hypoallergenic Pets - A Myth
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The hypoallergenic cat is a myth.
Many believe pet allergies are triggered by animal hair, but they're actually caused by a protein found in the pet's skin. The allergen comes off in dander - particles that slough from the skin. This means there are no truly hypoallergenic cats or dogs.
People often claim they are allergic to long haired cats but not short haired cats. Studies have shown that there is no difference in allergic reaction with regard to coat length, body mass, or time spent inside versus outside. Furthermore, pets that shed less don't necessarily produce less dander. Even hairless animals produce the protein - and shed it.
On the bright side, many who suffer allergies find they can tolerate one specific cat. Individual pets may produce less of the protein, or less dander, and some don't spread it around. Many persons with allergies tolerate Sphynx cats very well, because the allergy-causing substances tend to stay on the cat.
Things to do to reduce suffering from pet allergies include bathing the pet twice weekly - generally easier for dogs than cats, using a HEPA filter to trap dander, and washing your hands after handling the pet. There are also over-the-counter daily medications and even allergy specific immunizations.