Maine Coons are majestic looking cats and it is well-liked by many cat lovers around the world. But one look at this cat breed and many cat allergy sufferers will think twice about going near a Maine Coon.
Given their impressive fluffy coats, it might seem like a potential to send your cat allergy into the stratosphere.
There are a couple of hypoallergic cats that are more suitable for someone with cat allergies.
But are Maine Coon cats considered to be hypoallergeinic?
Maine Coons aren’t considered to be hypoallergenic as they produce the same amount of allegens as most cats. But the upside is that most Maine Coons do not shed as much as other long hair cat breeds. This breed might still be a viable option if you know how to get rid of dander at home.
By the end of this enlightening journey, you’ll not only have comprehensive knowledge about this captivating cat but also a clear understanding of whether a Maine Coon cat is the right match for you or your family.
Understanding Cat Allergies
I will be the first to admit how frustrating having a cat allergy can be.
I am allergic to cats to some degree and it sort of happened along the way during my years of cat ownership.
Cat allergies are immune responses triggered by exposure to allergens from cats.
When someone who is sensitive to these allergens comes into contact with them, the body mistakenly identifies them as harmful.
The immune system will then produce an inflammatory response in the nasal passages or lungs, causing symptoms that can range from mild to severe.
You should know that it’s not the cat’s fur itself that’s allergenic.
Instead, the allergens are usually present in the cat’s saliva, urine, and dander. These are the tiny flakes of skin that cats shed along with their fur.
These allergens are also known as Fel d1 and Fel d4.
The main source of Fel d1 comes from the cat’s sebaceous glands while Fel d4 is from the cat’s saliva.
Cat Allergies Symptoms
Here are some symptoms that you can experience during a flare up:
- Chest Tightness
- Running Nose
- Short Of Breath
- Watery Eyes
As you can see, having an allergy attack is no fun at all and can be rather debilitating.
It is always good to keep some antihistamines on standby to alleviate the symptoms.
I have lost count of the number of times I had to postpone my plans because of a sudden allergy attack at home.
Are Maine Coon Cats Hypoallergenic?
What does it mean when we say that a cat is hypoallergenic?
The term “hypoallergenic” in cats refers to breeds that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals compared to other breeds.
However, it’s crucial to understand that no cat breed is entirely hypoallergenic.
Some cat breeds naturally produce lower amounts of allergenic proteins or have specific grooming habits that spread fewer allergens in their environment.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Maine Coons aren’t considered to be hypoallergenic.
If you are someone with severe cat allergies and sensitivities, the Maine Coon is not the right cat breed for you.
Maine Coon cats are not hypoallergenic due to these reasons.
They Have A Triple Coat
Maine Coons are hardy cats that can withstand the cold due to their thick fur coat and it consists of three layers.
The outer layer is water-resistant and helps keep the Maine Coon dry. The inner two layers help to keep the cat warm during cold weather periods.
Long-haired cats like the Maine Coon tend to shed more than short-haired cat breeds.
And coupled with the fact that Maine Coons come equipped with three layers of cat fur, that’s quite a lot of fur to be shed.
Maine Coons also shed more during the winter and summer months to help regulate their body temperature according to the seasons.
Greater Dander and Allergen Exposure
Many cat allergy sufferers think that it is cat fur itself that is causing their allergic reactions and sensitivities.
If you have a pet allergy, it is important to know how to get rid of pet dander at home.
The main culprit or allergen responsible for cat allergies is the protein ‘Fel d1 and Fel d4‘. Cats produce this protein in their saliva, oil glands and urine.
When a cat grooms itself, this protein is passed on to the fur and sticks to it.
And when the cat starts to shed its fur all over the house, the allergen gets distributed as well.
The Fel d1 protein is also secreted by a cat’s oil glands in its skin.
When a cat sheds off its dead skin or dander, it can also start to cause an allergic reaction if you inhale it.
Maine Coons Are High Maintenance Cats
Take one look at a Maine Coon cat and you can tell it will be a high-maintenance cat. The rule of thumb is the shorter or lesser fur a cat has, the lesser grooming it requires.
Maine Coon cats require daily grooming due to their heavy and thick fur coat.
The cat grooms itself by licking the outer coat but a lot of dust is trapped in the inner layers.
This can be solved by brushing your Maine Coon cat daily to remove dust and loose fur.
However the more you brush your cat, the more dander and Fel d1 you will breathe in.
Therefore it would be better to use a mask or groom your Maine Coon in a well-ventilated area to prevent any allergic reactions.
Still Keen On Keeping A Maine Coon?
If you are still dead bent on having a Maine Coon even after knowing that they aren’t hypoallergenic cats, here’s what you can do.
Sterilize Your Cat (Preferably Female)
All cats produce Fel d1 but there are some factors that can affect its production.
For example, a study has shown that male cats produce more Fel d 1 than females. And neutered male cats produce less Fel d 1 than non-castrated males
The takeaway here is that if you really want a Maine Coon and you are sure that your nose can handle it, your best bet is to go with a female that has been spayed.
She will still produce the allergens but it will be a lot lesser.
Give You Main Coon A Wipe Down
It is not feasible to give your Maine Coon a bath every day just to get rid of the allergens.
It will cause a lot of distress to your cat and dry out its coat.
What you can do is give your Maine Coon a good wipe down with a wet towel.
Don’t use any scented wet wipes that can cause irritation and more shedding.
Just a wet towel or baby wipes will do.
This can help keep your cat allergies at bay if you towel wipe your Maine Coon daily.
Use A Mask When Clearing The Litter Box
When clearing the litter box of your cat, make sure to use a mask that can filter out the Fel d1 and Fel d4 proteins.
This allergen is also found in a cat’s urine and can cause an allergic reaction.
It is also good to place the Maine Coon’s litter box in a well-ventilated area which can help disperse the allergens properly.
Train It Well
Maine Coons are very easy to train and can be used to your advantage when trying to reduce your cat allergies.
Train them to not enter your bedroom as you don’t want the cat leaving the protein in your sleeping area.
Some cats enjoy suckling or licking their owners which is bad for someone suffering from cat allergies as the Fel d1 concentration in cat saliva is very high.
You should train your Maine Coon not to lick you if possible.
Keep Your Main Coon’s Fur Neat And Trimmed
Besides daily grooming for your Maine Coon, it would be a good idea to bring your cat to a professional groomer once a month for them to do a proper job.
A good groomer will give your Maine Coon a shower and remove its dead fur and skin. They will also trim the fur if it’s getting out of hand.
One thing that you should not be doing is shaving your Maine Coon just to reduce shedding.
Giving your cat a lion cut can do more harm than good if you do not know what you are doing.
Maine Coon cats use their fur to regulate body temperature and the lack of it can cause issues.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
As kids, our parents are always telling us to wash our hands before eating or touching our faces.
That is a good way to prevent yourself from getting infected by nasty bacteria or viruses.
The same rule applies here when it comes to your cat.
Always wash your hands after touching your cat so as to not spread dander to your face.
And it is also best to not kiss or smell your cat.
Can Maine Coons Be Hypoallergenic?
Not out of the blue unless it is genetically modified. There are some Maine Coon mix breeds that are supposedly more hypoallergenic. However, these breeds are rare and hard to find.
But by using the methods above, you can reduce the allergens in your home to a great extent.
What Are The Best Cat Breeds For Someone With Allergies?
You should know by now that there are no special traits that make Maine Coon cats hypoallergenic.
However, there are some cat breeds that are known to not induce allergic reactions as often as other breeds.
The Siberian is known for producing way less Fel d1 protein which makes it a good candidate for allergy sufferers.
Cats with very short hair like the Bengal, Devon Rex and Cornish Rex shed and groom less as well.
This means less dander flying around at home for your to inhale.
Does A Maine Coon Cat Make A Good Pet?
Maine coon cats are also known as ‘gentle giants’ amongst the cat breeds and for good reason.
They are one of the largest cat breeds and can grow up to a whopping 25lbs.
Carrying a cat of this size is enough to make your muscles burn after a few minutes.
Despite their large size, Maine Coon cats are very gentle and docile in nature hence the nickname.
They socialize well with humans and other pets.
Aside from this, they are also very playful and intelligent cats. Many Maine Coons are very dog-like in behavior and enjoy playing fetch and going for walks with their owners.
They are also known for being affectionate cats that love to cuddle and hang out with their owners.
Are Maine Coons Expensive?
Maine Coons are one of the most expensive cat breeds to own due to their popularity.
Maine Coon kittens can easily cost $1000 and more depending on the grade of the breeder.
It takes time and effort to breed a healthy bloodline of Maine Coons hence the higher asking price.
Do note that female Maine Coons produce less Fel d1 than male cats so it is better to get a female if you have cat allergies.
As amazing as Maine Coons are, you should think thrice about owning a cat if you have severe cat allergies or sensitivities.
It can be torturous dealing with an allergic reaction on a daily basis because of your cat.
If your allergy symptoms aren’t that serious then you can help manage the situation with the above suggestions.