In honor of “National Answer Your Cat’s Question” Day, I will be taking a couple of the letters that are questions regarding our furry feline friends.
Dear Hopeful: I want to get a cat but I’m worried about allergies, is there a breed that is better for someone who might have allergies? Thanks. — Corrine
Dear Corrine: Dealing with cat allergies or for that matter any pet allergies is a tough one. When is comes to pet allergies, cats are worst offender with up to 15 percent of all people being allergic to them. First you need to understand what is the actual cause of cat allergies. It is not the length of hair or the breed. It is the cat’s “dander” which is a combination of the cat saliva a protein otherwise known as (fel d 1), hair and flaking skin. All cats produce fel d1, it’s just a matter of how much. Male cats produce more than female cats and intact cats produce more than neutered cats.
As far as breeds go the hairless cat called the Sphinx (the co-star in the Austin Powers movies) triggers fewer allergic reactions in people. The Rex breed of cats who have very short, tight, curly fur are also less prone to make your eyes swell, itch and your nose run. The Rex breed also included the Devon rex and the Cornish Rex. The most hypoallergenic cat is the Siberian, which is a larger cat with long hair, and the Russian Blue, which is a smaller cat with low-shedding short hair. The Siberian cat produces the least amount of fel d1 so therefore is my No. 1 choice if you are looking for the best possible cat and are afraid you might be allergic.
Remember to keep you cat brushed by brushing at least once daily. Keep the cat brush clean by soaking in warm soapy water after every use. Wash cat toys, clean scratchy posts and cat beds on a regular basis. These little things will also help in reducing the effects of cat allergies. Hopefully this was helpful! — Hopeful Henry
Dear Hopeful: I’m looking to get a cat and have two small children. Is there a breed that is better with kids? Thank you. — Loren
Dear Loren: When it comes to cats and kids it is important to pick a cat that is more laid back and not so aggressive, especially when getting an older cat. However, it is just as important to teach your children how to play with their new cat. A lot of people roughhouse with cats and think they are playing with them. When what they are actually doing is teaching the cat to be aggressive. This is what often causes a cat to “play-bite” or keep their claws out when playing. So always play gently with your cat. If possible, get a kitten so you can train your new furry family member to be a laid-back cat. Start when they are kittens by gently petting their backs and lightly rubbing their bellies. Also, petting and holding their paws will get them used to it, making it much easier to trim their claws when needed.
When it comes to the type of cat, the Ragdoll breed is extremely laid back, non-aggressive and docile. They tend to relax when held. However the Ragdoll is also non-aggressive to its detriment; they possess a non-fighting instinct so, if they are attacked, they do not defend themselves. Due to this fact they must be kept indoors. They do love people and will often follow you around until you pick them up and give them the love and hugs they want.
Have fun picking out your new friendly kitty. — Hopeful Henry
— Write to Hopeful Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to P.O. Box PET, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. Come join us at our open house Feb. 25 from 2-7 p.m. at our new office location 870 Emerald Bay Road, Suite 104. You can meet Hopeful Henry and the rest of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA crew.