Russian Blue Cats & Allergies

By Jane Meggitt

If you love cats, but felines cause sneezing and watery eyes, don't despair. It's possible that certain breeds of cats won't cause such a strong reaction. While there's no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic cat, some breeds have lower levels of dander and less of a protein in their saliva that triggers the allergic reaction. The Russian blue is one of these, and he's a good-looking solid gray cat, to boot.

Russian Blue Cats

With his plush "blue" gray coat and bright green eyes, the Russian blue is a striking feline. While he's just medium-sized at maturity, his body is muscular and elegant. He's a friendly, relatively quiet cat, who can be shy with strangers. He's also an exceptionally clean cat, so empty the litter box as often as possible. One caveat: If you find a "Russian blue" advertised at a shelter, it's likely just a handsome, solid gray cat. That feline might look like a Russian blue, but he probably lacks the elements making him relatively hypoallergenic. Find your Russian blue through a reputable breeder.

Cat Allergy Triggers

Fel d 1, a protein in cat saliva, is one common trigger for people allergic to cats. Remember that cats constantly lick themselves to stay clean. The Russian blue's saliva contains less of this protein than the average cat. Of course, the Russian blue still produces dander, urine and excretions from the sebaceous glands, all of which can cause allergic reactions. However, it appears that Fel d 1 content in saliva is the strongest predictor of allergies.

Keeping Allergens Down

There are ways to minimize your allergic reactions if a Russian blue shares your home. First, keep him out of the bedroom -- all of the time, not just when you're in there. Vacuum your home several times a week, using a high-efficiency particulate air filter. You also can install electronic air cleaners in rooms you share with the cat. Dampen your cat down with a warm washcloth at least twice weekly to reduce allergens. Consider consulting your doctor regarding immunotherapy injections, which can reduce your sensitivity to feline allergens.

Other Potential Breeds

Before bringing a Russian blue home, spend time with the animal to ensure you're not allergic to him. If a Russian blue does cause a reaction, or you want to consider another breed, you have choices. Other cats with low Fel d 1 levels include the thick-coated Siberian and the longer-haired Siamese relative, the Balinese. Cats who don't shed much and produce little dander include the Cornish rex and the Devon rex. The sphynx, a hairless breed, is another possibility.