Russian Blue Cats & Allergies

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Russian Blue Cats & Allergies
Russian blue cats may be better for people with allergies. (cat image by Veniamin Kraskov from Fotolia.com)

Russian blues are attractive cats with bluish-grey coats and green eyes. Professionals recommend this breed to cat lovers because of their gentle and affection dispositions. Some people go so far as to recommend a Russian blue to people with cat allergies, claiming that the breed is hypoallergenic. While they may make great pets, this is not entirely true.

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Misconceptions

No cat is truly hypoallergenic. Some people experience relatively mild allergies in comparison to others and some cats or breeds of cats are less likely to cause allergic reactions. However, there is always a chance that any cat, even a Russian blue, can set off your allergies.

History

The origins of the Russian blue breed are somewhat unknown. According to the Cat Fanciers' Association, some believe that the Russian blue is a breed originating from the Archangel Isles in northern Russia. Sailors may have brought the cats to European countries including England, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, and the breed finally found its way across the Atlantic to the USA in the early 1900s but did not become a popular breed until the 1960s. The UK Cat Fancy Association has recognised Russian blues as a breed since 1912.

Significance

Typically, it is the enzymes within a cat's saliva to which people are allergic. Because a cat cleans himself with his tongue, those enzymes transfer to fur and skin. When a cat sheds his fur becomes airborne, increasing the likelihood of allergies. Russian blue cats produce less of the allergen Fel d 1 than most other breeds.

Identification

It is important to note that other cat breeds can look like Russian blue cats. Russian blue look-alikes such as British short hairs, Korat, Chartreux and even domestic short-haired greys are not hypoallergenic like Russian blues.

Some characteristics of Russian blues include green eyes, solid blue fur with a shimmering effect, a thick double coat, mauve toe pads. Cats with flat blue coats, yellow, orange or blue eyes or slate grey toe pads are not Russian blues.

Prevention

There are some steps you can take to reduce the number of allergens in your home from Russian blues or other cats. Vacuum carpets frequently--you might consider removing some carpet altogether--and dust on a daily basis. If your vacuum has a HEPA filter, it will remove more allergens. Additionally, consider using an air purifier to remove allergens from the air. Frequently washing your hands can prevent allergy attacks.

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