Cat allergies can be the biggest hindrance to getting your own fluffy friend. Due to their soft coats and reputation, people often wonder if Maine Coons are hypoallergenic and might be the best choice.
It’s an important question to ask, as you want to make sure both you and the cat are comfortable with your new living situation!
Are Maine Coons Hypoallergenic?
The unfortunate truth is that no cat is truly hypoallergenic, and every breed of cat poses a risk to those who suffer from allergies. However, a regularly groomed Maine Coon poses a much lower risk of an allergic reaction than other cats.
Maine Coons have a reputation for being hypoallergenic.
Most people who are allergic to cats are actually allergic to the Fel d 1 protein they secrete from their fur, and many purebred cats have lower levels of this protein.
Therefore, people often assume a purebred cat is hypoallergenic.
Cat Allergies Explained
10% of people are allergic to household pets, and cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies.
This means that it’s extremely common to find yourself having a reaction to cats, although the severity varies.
Some people can’t be in the same house as a cat without having a reaction, whereas others might need to be in close proximity to a cat for a prolonged period of time to realize they’re having one.
Cat allergies can come from a variety of things. Most people may be allergic to the protein they secrete from their fur, but others can also be allergic to their saliva.
Although the latter is rare, it’s important to remember that it can happen.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to cats include:
- A blocked or running nose
- Eyes that are itchy or won’t stop watering
- Nasal congestion, causing pain in the face
- Coughing and wheezing
- A rash or skin irritation
- Struggling to breathe
Everyone is different, so the symptoms vary and might be more severe in some than others.
Being allergic to cats doesn’t mean you can never own one (as long as your allergies aren’t severe), but it does mean you should look for a cat that you’re likely to have a less severe reaction to.
You should look for a cat that doesn’t shed a lot of fur.
It’s also important to remember that males (particularly intact males) secrete more allergens.
If you’re set on a male cat, it might be better to look for one who’s been neutered, or is old enough to have the surgery done as soon as possible.
The good news is, if you do choose a male kitten, they produce fewer than adult cats so you may have time if your allergies are very mild.
Do Maine Coons Produce A Lot Of Dander?
Dander is the term for loose skin flakes, which is the main thing that causes allergies to flare up. It is produced by all cats and is unavoidable, which is the same for Maine Coons. When it becomes airborne, that can be a big trigger for allergies.
The upside of this is that they produce no more dander than any other cat.
Do Maine Coons Shed A Lot?
Maine Coons have long coats and a lot of hair which means that yes, they might shed more than your typical short-haired cat.
While this is bad news for those allergic to cats who might desperately want one of these glorious cats, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence to your dreams!
Maine Coons with silkier coats rather than fluffier will shed less.
There are also other factors that can cause your Maine Coon to shed a lot.
Fleas are one of the major ones. Your Maine Coon should be kept up to date on flea medication.
People often believe that flea medication isn’t necessary for indoor cats, but fleas can still get inside and latch onto your cat.
Talk to your veterinarian and get an active prescription for flea meds. There are topical versions available if your cat won’t take pills, and these tend to be more popular.
Poor diets can also cause shedding, so take your time to research your Maine Coons food and make sure they’re on an appropriate diet and getting enough.
Allergies can also cause shedding. That’s right — your cat can be allergic to things too!
If your cat is losing more hair than you believe is normal or their skin seems to be irritated, your veterinarian can run some allergy tests.
Stress is the last major factor that could cause your Maine Coon to shed more.
If there have been major changes around the house or a new pet has been introduced, you might notice them losing more hair. This should rectify itself as your cat settles.
Other than unavoidable changes, try to keep your Maine Coon happy and relaxed, and they shouldn’t shed an unmanageable amount.
If you pick out your cat to have a silkier coat and make sure to take great care of them, your allergies can be kept under control.
8 Ways To Reduce Cat Allergies
Fortunately, if you suffer from cat allergies, there are ways to get them under control. You can lessen them to make owning a cat not only possible but enjoyable!
Pick The Right Breed And Cat
The first thing you should do is ensure you pick the right breed and cat within that breed.
No cat is truly hypoallergenic, but there are cats that can lessen the risk of an allergic reaction for you — e.g., adopting a neutered male cat.
If you’re set on a Maine Coon, find breeders who have lines with coats that are more silk than fluff!
Invest In An Air Purifier
Since cat allergies are triggered by airborne dander and the protein it produces, an air purifier can do a lot in the way of bringing down allergic reactions. It will help keep the air clean and free and keep everything circulating.
Invest In A Good Vacuum
Cat dander is extremely small, so you’ll need to invest in a good vacuum to get rid of it! Doing this and vacuuming spots you frequent, such as the sofa, every other day will make a huge difference and be a big help.
It can be a pain to summon up the energy to do this frequently, but it will pay off.
Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned
If you have allergies and have cats, it’s important to have your air ducts cleaned by professionals on a regular basis.
This will stop air from circulating throughout the house that is filled with those allergens and once those ducts get clogged up, nothing else will help.
Your cat will hate the noise, but it’ll be brief and well worth it for you!
Wash Bedding Frequently
Make sure you put your bedding on a hot wash at least once every two weeks. This will get rid of any allergens on the bed and make sure you’re not sleeping in them and increasingly making the problem worse.
Have A Cat-Free Zone
Cats love to be in your business everywhere in the house, but sometimes it’s good to set some limits! Keep them out of the bedroom, or one room in the house where you can relax.
That way, if you need to get some space away from the dander and fluff, you know you can go to that room to breathe if it’s all becoming a bit much.
Providing yourself with your own space is important if you have allergies, no matter how much you love your cat.
Wash Your Cat
You can rub them down with a damp microfiber cloth, as this will get rid of most of the dander.
There are also things you can apply to their coats, such as Allerpet, which is a dander removal spray.
You shouldn’t, however, be giving your cat frequent baths. The microfiber cloth and Allerpet will be just as effective at removing dander and loose fur and the truth is, cats are self-cleaning and loathe baths.
The last thing you want to do is damage your relationship with your pet in your desperation to get rid of your allergy symptoms!
The last thing you can do to reduce allergies is to take antihistamines. These medications can be bought over-the-counter and will reduce the reactions to allergens that you might be having. They come in nasal spray or pill form.
The effectiveness of these varies from person to person, but it’s always worth trying them out, as they can be a lifesaver for some.
Many people believe that having a pet allergy means the end of their dream of having a cat — especially one with a coat like the Maine Coon!
Although it might be disappointing to hear that no cat is truly hypoallergenic, despite the rumors, there are many steps you can take to reduce your allergies and something is bound to work for you.
Take care of your cat, and yourself, and there should be no problem with you owning one as long as your allergies aren’t severe. The good news is, most aren’t!