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Birman cats are beautiful animals that many people are proud to own. Their deep blue eyes and their silky fur make them a desired pet. However, suppose you’re thinking about adopting a Birman but are wondering about how their long and soft hair will affect you or your housemate’s allergies. In that case, there are a few things you should know.
So, Are Birman Cats Hypoallergenic?
If you or someone you live with has an allergy to cats, you may not want to hear this. This is because Birman cats are not considered to be hypoallergenic cats. But I have some good news for you! While Birman’s are not technically a hypoallergenic cat breed, this breed does cause fewer allergic reactions than other types of cats.
Birman’s produce fewer allergens that cause people to have allergic reactions because they don’t have an undercoat. Most cats have an undercoat, intermediate coat, and topcoat. A Birman only has a topcoat and intermediate coat. Undercoats are made of thick and wavy or curly fur that produces a lot of allergens.
Because Birman’s don’t have an undercoat, they tend to shed less often than other cat breeds. Less shedding leads to your allergies acting up less. So, your Birman may cause an allergic reaction, but it will be less often or less severe than another breed.
Which Cat Breeds are Hypoallergenic?
If you’re on the fence about adopting a Birman because they’re not entirely hypoallergenic, check out some breeds of cats that are considered hypoallergenic before you make your decision.
A Balinese cat is a short-haired cat that is an excellent option for those with cat allergies. They produce less of the Fel D1 protein that is a common cat allergen. These cats are a little needy because they love their humans, but they require minimal grooming due to their short hair.
Sphynx (Hairless Cat)
Some people think these cats are a little creepy, while others believe they’re the coolest. A Sphynx cat has no hair. Therefore, they don’t produce a lot of allergens. One thing to keep in mind with this cat breed is that even though they don’t have fur, you will need to bathe them regularly to prevent oils from building on their skin.
Oriental Short Hair
The Oriental Short Hair cat is another fantastic hypoallergenic cat breed. If you’re researching this breed, you’ll notice that people refer to the Oriental Short Hair as a non-allergenic cat. Still, it’s pretty much the same as a hypoallergenic cat. Their short hair requires less grooming and produces fewer allergens.
A Cornish Rex is a beautiful short-haired cat with no undercoat. Their fur feels silky and almost suede-like when taken care of properly. The majority of cats hate water, but you’ll need to bathe your Cornish Rex every once in a while to prevent oils from building on their skin and fur. Doing this will keep that suede-like feeling.
Many people think that all hypoallergenic cats have very short hair. But not all hypoallergenic cats are short-haired. For example, a Javanese cat has medium to long hair. This is because they have a single topcoat and no undercoat. In addition, because they have less fur than other cats, a Javanese will produce fewer allergens.
This may come as a surprise to you, but a Siberian cat is considered hypoallergenic. This is because Siberians have relatively long fur. The reason that Siberians are considered to be hypoallergenic is that they have a lower than average amount of enzymes in their saliva that causes allergic reactions.
The Devon Rex is similar to the Cornish Rex in the fact that they both have short hair. The Devon Rex doesn’t require as frequent bathing as a Cornish Rex, though. They shed a lot less than other cat breeds, so you can snuggle up to your Devon Rex without worrying about your allergies acting up too bad.
What Can Affect the Allergens Cats Produce?
Understanding what affects the allergens that cats produce can help you make a decision when adopting a cat. Or, if you’re set on adopting a Birman, knowing how you can limit the number of allergens they produce can make you and your Birman’s life easier.
Unneutered male cats tend to produce more allergens than female cats. Unneutered males have more allergens because male cats tend to urinate on more things to show dominance. Cat urine carries allergens just like their fur and saliva.
There are rumors floating around that the color of your cat’s fur determines the number of allergens that they produce. For example, some say that dark-colored cats cause more allergies than lighter ones. However, a study published in The Journal of Asthma and Immunology determined that the color of a cat’s fur does not affect the number of allergens they produce.
How to Help Your Allergies to Cats
If your furry friend is causing your allergies to act up, there are a few things you can do to reduce the impact their allergens have on you. Of course, you don’t need to do everything on this list, but it’s best to try a few to see what works best for you.
Brush Your Birman Regularly
Allergens live in your cat’s fur, but it’s not the fur itself that causes allergens. Dander that accumulates on your cat’s fur is the allergen. Brushing your Birman once or twice a week can drastically improve the amount of shedding you see and the number of allergy attacks you experience.
When you brush your Birman, you’ll want to use a quality brush so that it’s a positive experience for both you and your cat. Two of my favorite brushes for Birmans are the Hertzko Pin Brush and the Pet Grooming Glove.
The pin brush is a traditional pet brush with wire bristles but rounded tips. The rounded tips allow you to brush your Birman without fear that you’re hurting them. The grooming glove is another fantastic option because it’s a glove. The rubber bristles will brush through your cat’s fur, and it will almost feel like you’re petting them and not brushing them.
Give Your Birman Fish Oil
A of allergens that your Birman produces comes from their fur and skin. Giving your feline friend Fish Oil can help improve the health of their skin and fur. In addition to giving them this supplement for your own gain, it will keep your cat healthy by boosting their immune system.
Invest in an Air Filter or Purifier
If you can invest in an air purifier, it will surely help with cat allergies. Air purifiers help remove tiny allergy and asthma triggers in the air. And as a bonus, they can help remove any pet odor.
Cat dander is a primary cause of allergens in your home. The air purifier can reduce the amount of dander in your home, hopefully reducing the number of times you sneeze per day.
Don’t Allow Your Birman on Your Furniture
If you love cuddling up to your Birman, you may not like this suggestion, but I feel the need to mention it. Keeping your cat off of your bed, couches, and other seats can reduce the number of allergy attacks you have. It will prevent too much of their fur from getting on the bedding and other fabrics. Plus, you won’t be laying your head down on any shedding or tiny allergens that they produce.
Another option if you enjoy cuddling with your cat is only to allow them on your couch and not your bed. Allergens may attach themselves to your sofa, but assigning a designated cuddle spot can reduce your allergies because they’re not lying on the pillows on your bed.
Give Your Birman a Bath
For those brave enough to give their cat a bath, it can help with shedding and, in turn, allergies. But, of course, you don’t need to give them a bath that often, maybe once a month or so. But, there are steps you can take before subjecting your cat, and yourself, to the potentially unpleasant experience of a bath.
Take Allergy Pills Daily
For those who have an allergy to cats, but it’s not severe, you may be able to take a daily allergy pill to limit your symptoms. Over-the-counter allergy medicine has worked wonders for many people. However, if you suffer from more severe allergic reactions, you may want to talk to your doctor about what options you have.
Can You Build Up Immunity to Cat Allergies?
Many people wonder if they can build up immunity to cat allergies if they’re around them enough. Unfortunately, there’s a simple yes or no answer to this. While some people do build up an immunity to cat allergies over time and exposure, there’s a chance that increasing your exposure will worsen your allergies. Keep in mind, there’s no way to tell whether you will build immunity or worsen your allergies before surrounding yourself with a cat.
Birman cats are not hypoallergenic cats. Luckily for Birman owners or aspiring Birman owners, they do produce fewer allergens than other cat breeds. Taking proper care of your Birman and investing in an air purifier can reduce the number of allergy attacks you experience.