The Himalayan is gorgeous, sweet, playful and laid-back. They’re like the perfect combination of their parent breeds, the Siamese and the Persian. While kitten-like in their playfulness, they are very much an indoor cat who likes to chill with their humans.
Sounds like a perfect addition to your family, right?
However, Himalayan cats hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, Himalayan cats are NOT hypoallergenic. On top of that, they have long fur and shed quite a bit, spreading those allergens everywhere. Unlike some breeds, they also don’t seem to produce a lower amount of the most common allergen, Fel d 1. However, female cats and kittens do generally produce less of that pesky allergen.
That said, this kind of cat can be hard to give up on, given their affable personality and their gorgeous looks.
The Himalayan Cat
However adorable, these kitties do have a bit more action in them than their parent breed, the Persian. This is, courtesy of their other parent breed, the Siamese.
The Himalayan is that perfect combination of laid-back and happy with indoor life, with bursts of utter playfulness, vocality and curiosity. If you are looking for an eternal kitten, look no further.
They do come with a few bad traits as well, such as health-concerns that are typical of the Persian (Polycystic Kidney Disease) and the occasional moody moment.
But overall, these gorgeous furballs charm the pants of any human lucky enough to be in their lives.
Okay, so, let’s talk about the furry elephant in the room.
Do they really shed that much?
Yep. They do. That’s the downside of being able to call the glorious Persian your ancestor.
They have a luscious coat that needs washing once a month and brushing daily to keep mats at bay and allergens from spreading around the house via dander and hair.
Unfortunately, they also don’t seem to be one of those breeds that produce less of the most common allergen (Fel D 1), either.
However, further research on that is still required. So far, only a few breeds have the backing of some preliminary research and can claim they are somewhat hypoallergenic. So, fingers crossed.
One thing we do know, though. It seems that kittens and females produce less of the allergen, followed by neutered males and with intact males being the worst offenders. No matter the breed.
So, if you’re dead-set on a Himalayan kitty and you happen to be allergic, opt for a female cat.
Meanwhile, there is no harm (provided your allergy isn’t lethal!) in taking some benadryl with you and visiting a few breeders to do an empirical test. See just how bad life would get.
You see, individuals of every breed have differing levels of those allergens, making it hard to guarantee any hypoallergenic kittens. On the other hand, that also means that you may just luck out with your kitty!
Either way, there are ways to manage your allergy. Many seem to be able to make it work, as long as they’re willing to put in the effort.
So, if you do press on with adopting a Himalayan kitty, the following guidelines will be of vital importance to your comfort.
Managing Your Allergic Reactions
All right, so you’ve decided to go for it and adopt your kitty.
How will this work, practically speaking?
You’ll need a plan of attack. It’ll be you vs the allergen. Luckily, I have a 3-pronged plan of attack for you. Once you add these new routines, you may just live happily ever after with your precious, sapphire-eyed furball.
The Environmental Prong
First off, we need to cast a critical eye over your home and devise a plan of attack to keep those allergens from getting…well, everywhere.
Here are some ideas:
- Vacuums with a micro-filtration device (like a HEPA filter). Let’s start by bringing out the big guns. It’s probably a good idea to invest in a vacuum specifically designed to suck those hairs right out of your house. Also, see if you can talk someone into doing this for you, as hair tends to go flying during the process. This process isn’t exactly conducive to minimizing allergic reactions. Trade them for some other household chores that won’t put your health at risk!
- Handheld HEPA Air Purifiers. These babies are worth the cost. They can be added easily to any room that needs it. I’d especially recommend putting them in rooms with a lot of textiles as textiles tend to be cat hair magnets. You’ll breathe a lot easier!
- Dusting while using furniture polish. Make it a point to spray the polish right onto the surface area you’re dusting, as that makes it more effective. Did you know, by the way, that if you dust often, you can remove air-borne cat allergens by 95%?
- Declare textiles your public enemy. Fabric will harbor fugitives. It’s in its nature. It will keep those allergens snuggly and safe, where they can do maximum damage. So, adopt a minimalist approach and cast a critical eye over which textiles are absolutely a necessary evil in your house and which ones you should remove to safeguard your precious sanctuary.
- No cats in the bedroom. I know. This one sucks. But, unfortunately, your bed is the perfect cat hair trap and you spend 8 hours a day rolling around, breathing deeply in there. It’s just not worth the risk or the hassle, sorry.
The Kitty Prong
So, now we address your Himalayan. We need several ways to minimize those pesky allergens hopping from your kitty over to you. Here we go!
- Have a spa day! Train your cat to love taking a bath. While cats have a very good reason to despise water (Due to the lack of oil in their coats, they’re at risk of hypothermia), they can be convinced of its virtues. Go at their pace, gently introduce them from a young age, and provide them with tons of treats, affection and a heated bathroom. Also, procure a special allergy shampoo from the pet shop to use, as this will remove dander and allergens from your kitty’s coat. Be careful not to overwash your cat – once a month is just fine. Otherwise you risk drying out their skin, which creates even more dander that will get spread around the house…with the allergen on board, of course.
- Beware of pre-existing conditions. Some cats are prone to a dull coat and dry skin, which allows dead hair and dander to build up. While you’re at the pet shop for that special shampoo, pick up some Omega 3 fatty acid supplements, which help keep your kitty’s coat gleaming and dander-free!
- Brushing is a must. For both your sakes. Himalayans have a gorgeous coat, but it needs daily brushing to keep from matting. Meanwhile, you need your kitty to be brushed so that dead hair and dander don’t get stuck in their coat…along with those allergens. Or worse, released into the wild whenever your kitty snuggles up somewhere in the house. See if you can convince both someone in your household who isn’t allergic to do this loving task. It’ll keep you from being exposed to the flying hair.
- Talk to your vet about acepromazine. This is a type of medication that you can add in very low doses to your Himalayan’s food. It should significantly help with your allergic reactions.
The Human Prong
So, last but certainly not least in our pronged attack – you!
Let’s see how we can safeguard your last line of defence: your body.
- Washing your hands. Every time. Make it a point to wash them every time you touch your Himalayan. Just put hand cream next to the sink and make it such a part of your life that you don’t even think about it anymore.
- Ode to a washing machine. Worship your washing machine and use it religiously. They are your best friend in removing those pesky allergens from your clothes. Help it out by choosing wisely when it comes to the materials your clothes are made from. Cottons top wool and polyester as hair really grabs on to the latter two, for example.
- Set some boundaries with your kitty. Often, our kitties will share their love by licking. As sweet as those kitty kisses are, saliva is another source of cat allergens, so see if you can teach your kitty by walking away instantly when they like you, and washing your hands. Encourage them to show their love instead by bunting (headbudding you, basically) and purring, as well as cuddling. Smart as they are, they won’t take long to catch on.
Medically Available Options
- Allergists. Invest in seeing an allergist. They may be able to help you narrow down how to best handle your allergy. You may even be a candidate for immunotherapy, where they use injections to desensitize your body to your kitty.
- Over-the-counter products. Try out some allergy tablets and benadryl and see which one would help you in a pinch. It’s always smart to have some on hand in your purse, jacket pocket and in your first-aid kit at home.
- Alternative Remedies. Two options that actually show a lot of promise in managing allergy symptoms in the holistic arena are the neti pot and plain saline nasal spray.
Breeds You May Want To Consider Instead
Let’s face it, unless you really are in love with the Himalayan breed ( and even if you are), you may want to consider your options.
There are some cat breeds that have a definite leg up on the Himalayan. And some of them are even long-haired!
You see, some cat breeds produce lower levels of the most common allergen Fel D 1. The scientific research is still ongoing, but so far things like really good for the Siberian cat. Limited research there confirms that, generally speaking, Siberians really do produce a lot less of the allergen.
That said, the amount of Fel D 1 produced depends on the genetic background of each individual, so you cannot guarantee that every Siberian kitten will have lower levels.
But, so far the Siberian cat is definitely the one to beat.
So if you’re looking for another gorgeous, long-haired breed that is laid back and actually loves the outdoors, as well as snuggling up with their owner, the Siberian would be well worth checking out.
The other option is the Balinese cat. Long-haired like the Himalayan, they share a lot of other characteristics as well. This is because they share a parent breed, namely the Siamese!
You see, the Balinese started as a mutation of the Siamese. Interestingly, Siamese cats do not have lower levels of Fel D 1. While the research still has to back this up more (and isn’t as far along yet as with the Siberian, for instance), it looks like the Balinese does produce less Fel D 1.
Additionally, some Siamese do seem to produce less Fel D 1 but only if they have a Balinese ancestor!
Due to their shared Siamese ancestor, the Balinese share the Himalayan’s curiosity and interest in their owner’s activities,as well as their vocal nature.
They also tend to be more laid-back than the Siamese, but might not be as easy-going as the Himalayan, due to the missing Persian influence.
So, as you can tell, all hope is not lost.
Even as an allergy sufferer, your perfect felline roommate may be just around the corner!