Are Siberians Hypoallergenic?

Are Siberians Hypoallergenic?
In 2005, in a joint non-published study with UC Davis, we found roughly half of Siberians produced less Fel-d1 allergen than other domestic cats and cat breeds. No other breed was found to have consistent changes in allergen level production. In connection with KittenTesting, we have now tested roughly 1000 Siberian cats and kittens. Only 15% of Siberians are suitable for homes with moderate to acute cat allergies.  

What is Cat Allergen #1?
Fel d1 is the first allergen discovered in house cats. It is a very small protein that seems to be a scent marker – possibly identifying self and group.  Allergens in plants and animals are given a number when it is identified.  At least eight cat allergens have been identified.

Do little kittens produce Fel d1?
Cat allergies begins to show when kittens are 11 weeks old, and Fel d1 levels increase slightly for several months.  Families with moderate to severe cat allergies should never purchase or agree to purchase kittens that are less than 12 weeks old.

Do low allergen matings always produce low kittens?
No. There are many allergen mutations in Siberians, and most are additive. Mating a low-allergen sire and dam has the best chance of producing lower allergen kittens, but normal allergen kittens can be found in most matings. Mating normal allergen Siberians produces normal allergen kittens.

Does fur length affect allergens?
Fur length does not increase or decrease the amount of allergen.  Cats remove allergen from the hair through grooming, but salivary allergen becomes airborne. Siberians can have fine undercoat hair that can cause eye irritation or mild itching.

Does color affect allergen?
Coat color is not directly related to allergen levels in Siberians, with one exception.  Silver, Smoke, & Bi-Metallic Siberians are considered to all be high allergen.  These colors were produced by outcrossing with Persians.  Why these colors produce higher allergens is unknown at this time.

What about Neva (Colorpoint) Siberians?
Early colorpoint Siberians from the St. Petersburg region tended to be much lower allergen than Traditional (Black Amber Tabby), but low-allergen mutations are found throughout the breed.  In the US, colorpoints are registered as Siberian, but several foreign registries Neva are considered a separate Russian breed.  

Do males produce more allergen?
Cat allergen is hormonally controlled, with non-neutered males producing the highest levels. After neutering, Fel d1 allergen levels in males and females are similar, though several other allergens actually increase. Allergen levels of exceptionally low allergen Siberian males do not seem to change with neutering.

Where is Fel d1 produced?
Fel-d1 is produced in the saliva, oil glands in the skin, and the perianal glands. During grooming, Fel-d1 from saliva becomes airborne. Allergen on the fur is oily transfers easily to clothing, carpet, and upholstery. Litter boxes always contain the highest amount of cat allergens.

Detailed articles about cat allergies: