Siberian Cats and Kittens
What is "hypoallergenic" where cats are concerned, and what are "reasonable expectations" for allergy sufferers at this time?
Feline allergen is a very small glycoprotein created in the salivary (saliva), lacrimal (tears), sebaceous (skin), and perinatal glands. Salivary Fel d1 becomes airborne during grooming, sebaceous Fel d1 tends to be distributed across the fur, with the highest levels being found near the skin. Perinatal glands secrete the allergen onto the feces. The highest concentration of Fel d1 is found in the perinatal glands.
Feline allergen (Fel d1) is found only in cats and accounts for up to 60% of cat allergies. Typical reactions to the allergen vary, but includes symptoms ranging from mild runny nose and itchy eyes, to severe reactions such as swollen eyes, hives or difficulty breathing.
Individuals allergic to cats and not other animals are usually allergic only to Fel d1. The allergen is very potent and can remain in a home for six months after removal of the cat.
Ongoing research show that all cats produce Fel d1, but the amounts are quite varied.
Studies by Siberian Research have shown is a very strong correlation between the allergen level in saliva and the perceived allergic reaction in highly allergic individuals. Siberians with very low allergen levels pass this trait to some (but not all) of the kittens in the litter.
Production and secretion of the Fel d1 allergen is controlled by hormones and stress. In normal cats, the highest levels are found in males that have not been neutered. Females that are pregnant, nursing, or females that have not been spayed. The males and females have similar levels of Fel d1.