If you’re an allergy sufferer and pet lover, you’re likely looking for a companion that won’t have your eyes watering every time you’re in the same room as them. If you’ve set your sights on an Egyptian Mau, you might wonder if they’re a safe option. Unfortunately, Egyptian Maus are not considered hypoallergenic, and the truth is that, unfortunately, no cat breed can be considered hypoallergenic. So, let’s look at why that is and if it’s possible to still live with one of these cats if you’re allergic.
Click below to jump ahead:
- What Causes Cat Allergies?
- What Are the Signs That You’re Allergic to Cats?
- Can You Own an Egyptian Mau Even if You’re an Allergy Sufferer?
- How Do You Find a Breed That Won’t Trigger Your Allergies?
What Causes Cat Allergies?
Around 10% of the population in the United States has a pet allergy, and with cat allergies being more common and more severe than dog allergies, cats are one of the most common culprits. Contrary to what some people believe, cat hair isn’t what humans are allergic to. Instead, it’s due to the proteins (allergens) in cat saliva, dander (dead skin cells), and urine.
Dander is the worst culprit because it’s light and hides on your cat’s skin and fur, where it can land on furniture or clothes. Even if you don’t have a cat allergy, cats can indirectly affect your allergies by bringing mold, pollen, and other allergens into the home on their fur. Arguably, no cat is truly hypoallergenic, but some breeds will trigger fewer allergies.
What Are the Signs That You’re Allergic to Cats?
Signs that hint you are suffering from a cat allergy are:
- Coughing and wheezing
- Itchy, red eyes
- Rash or hives on face and chest
- Redness where the cat has made contact with you
- Stuffy/runny/itchy nose
Signs like these can develop within minutes or take hours. If you don’t have a cat and aren’t sure if you have a cat allergy, it might be worth spending time with one beforehand. Contact a family member or friend with a cat and see if you can visit them before making a commitment you might regret later.
Can You Own an Egyptian Mau Even if You’re an Allergy Sufferer?
The answer to this question depends on your allergy and if you can manage it. Some owners believe they can overcome their allergy with time, but it’s a risky gamble as there’s no guarantee. Children have been known to grow out of their allergies, but equally, it’s a risk to bet on that happening.
It is essential to speak to your doctor about your allergies and follow their advice on allergy testing, prevention, and treatments. It is possible that you have other allergies, on top of your cat allergy, and need to be aware of your symptom threshold. This is the level of exposure to the different allergens that you can cope with before developing the uncomfortable signs of allergy.
But what happens if you weren’t aware of these allergies and now own the cat? Giving up a cat can be tricky, especially if you’ve already bonded or your kids and cat are now best friends.
Well, there are ways you can still own your dream cat and keep the pesky sneezes at bay.
- Neuter your cat: There is evidence that intact male cats produce more allergens and that these levels decrease after neutering.
- Clean thoroughly and often: Wash your hands after interacting with your Egyptian Mau. Cat dander gets everywhere, which means vacuuming the floor and furniture is vital, and you should consider removing any rugs or carpets. Vacuums with a regular filter aren’t always powerful enough to pick up all allergens, and you might need a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. Ideally, get a non-allergy sufferer to do this for you. If you can’t avoid it, wear a disposable face mask.
- Consider baths: There isn’t much research into whether bathing your cat can help reduce symptoms, but you can run it by your veterinarian. If your cat isn’t too distressed by baths, it could be an option.
- Contact your doctor: If you haven’t already, seek professional help to manage your allergies. There are antihistamines, shots, and nasal sprays that could make your life easier.
- Keep the air clear: Filters on vents and a central air cleaner will reduce the dander from making its way through the house.
- Keep your distance: If another family can take over the cat’s care, that would be best, especially regarding grooming and cleaning their litter box.
- Make one room cat-free: Your bedroom is best kept as a cat-free zone, and you’ll at least have a sanctuary away from the allergens.
How Do You Find a Breed That Won’t Trigger Your Allergies?
Conversations with your doctor and veterinarian are all excellent places to start to understand your allergies and your specific needs. Even hairless cats can trigger allergies since the problem is not on the cat’s fur but on their dander and saliva. The production of allergens varies between cats, not between breeds. You can be in a situation in which a specific cat does not trigger your allergy signs as severely as others.
If you’ve decided that the Egyptian Mau is not for you, you might be wondering if there is a breed you can get. While no cat is entirely hypoallergenic, some cat breeds are considered hypoallergenic, but this is not backed up by science.
Examples of cats that are considered hypoallergenic:
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- Oriental Shorthair
- Russian Blue
Remember that every person reacts differently, and every individual cat is different, so it’s impossible to predict if a cat will or won’t cause a reaction.
Living with a cat when you are an allergy sufferer can be challenging. Unfortunately, the Egyptian Mau might not be an option if your allergies are particularly severe. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t own a cat since you may find a way to manage your allergies working alongside your doctor and veterinarian.
If your allergy is milder and you believe you can live alongside an Egyptian Mau, there is plenty of extra cleaning in your future, but the kitty is well with the extra effort!
Featured Image Credit: Sarah Fields Photography, Shutterstock