Our Journey to buy a Hypoallergenic Siberian Cat

Siberian mama cat brown coloringMy children love animals, and I love animals. Have you ever seen the story about the lady who had 130 cats in her apartment? Well, that could be me, and I'm not ashamed to say it. All the animals would be fed and loved. The main reason I'm not a cat lady, and why we have no pets at all, is because my husband and son are allergic.

I pretty much wrote off ever having pets until this summer when my son started collecting snails and caterpillars; anything to love. It was kind of sad, and my husband took it really seriously. He started researching hypoallergenic cats and surprised me when he announced earlier this month that he'd like to get a cat.

I tried not to get too excited. I knew it was a long shot, and the best price for a hypoallergenic Siberian cat I could find was $800. I repeat, that was the best price. But he had already thought this through and decided it would be worth it.

And so the journey began. We located a few breeders (they weren't like puppy mills, believe me!) nearby and made plans to visit them. I started getting really excited. I started reading about appropriate feeding and pet care. I started reading about toilet training and planning for having a pet. I found out so many exciting things about Siberians and I instantly loved them.

We visited our first cattery yesterday. And this was the result:

hypoallergenic cats? Cat allergy resultsNOOOOoooooooooooooooooo! This picture was taken an hour or so after our visit, once he had been cleaned up and given benadryl. You can't tell by the picture but he had hives all over his eyes and cheeks. His eyes were mostly swollen shut before I took the photo. My husband had itchy, red eyes and a runny nose.

To be fair, this was an extremely rigorous allergy test. We visited a 600 square foot house with 13 cats and a dog. My son is very allergic to dogs and while the dog was not in the home at the time, his hair/scent/dander was still present. We stayed for 1 hour and he was miserable.

It's a good reminder that hypoallergenic does not mean nonallergenic. That being said, we went home pretty broken hearted. I took the photo of my son so I'd remember why I couldn't have a cat. Oh how I want a cat.....

We had one more appointment today with another cattery. This time we visited with 2 kittens in our van. That way there would be no cross-reactivity with her dog and we wouldn't have the allergen exposure times 13.

How did it go? My husband didn't react much at all, and my son had some itching and 2 small hives on his chin, after about an hour. I did remind him continuously to snuggle his face into the cat and rub his nose, eyes, mouth. All the things you wouldn't normally do if you were seriously allergic. After our visit, we all wanted to get a cat.

We're still discussing it. In some ways, I look at my son's picture and think, how could we ever consider it? The two people that will be effected the most are my son and me. My son for obvious reasons. Me? I'll be the only one changing the litterbox, toilet training, and bathing the cat. I'll also be the only one constantly washing bedding and vacuuming. Oh the vacuuming!

Can I be the super-vacuum queen and keep our house as dander/fur-free as possible? Can I have a cat and not let it sleep with me (since Mr. allergy sleeps next to me...)? How about the weekly cat bath? Will my son be able to live with a cat in the house? If he had no reaction, it would have been a quick and easy decision. Now we are on the fence.....

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Welcome to My World said...

From what I read, people are not allergic to the dander but to the saliva of a cat. When they clean themselves, the saliva is all over their body and that is what causes the reaction. I adopted Flip, my cat when I was engaged and my fiance had previously told me he was allergic. Result, the cat is still here but the marriage never worked out. :)

- Marybeth I. said...

I would like a cat too - my kids really want one but I am also allergic. I cannot tell you how miserable it feels when I am around cats. It is so much worse than seasonal allergies. I felt so bad for your son when I saw his picture. Poor little guy!

Cher said...

Stopping by to say Hi and now following you from a fellow Mama Bzz'er!

Mami2jcn said...

I can so sympathize! I'm the allergic one in our house, and my older son desperately wants a pet to love. This weekend we got him a fish.

Even though I'm allergic to both cats and dogs, I can actually handle poodles. We have thought many times of getting one, but we're waiting until the kids are older and can help out with the dog walking. A cat would be great because you don't have to walk them, but my severe allergies make that impossible.

I had heard a while back that Russian blue cats were hypo-allergenic, and saw one at our local shelter. I spoke to the shelter about how I could test the cat out to see if I was allergic. They let me bring it home and foster it to see how I'd do. Despite being on strong allergy meds, I had a full-blown allergy attack and had to return the cat within a day. I've heard about Siberians being hypo-allergenic as well, but now I just think there's no such thing as hypo-allergenic when it comes to cats.

Jessica-MomForHim said...

Oh my goodness! Poor guy! I have tears in my eyes for him. That just looks miserable. And if he had hives on his chin after a short visit in the minivan, how would it be if it lived with you? I'm so sorry, I know you are excited about this. :-(

LV said...

Oh my! He looks so miserable. Hugs little one.

Drama queens mum (Kimberly) said...

I love cats & would be heartbroken if I couldn't have 1. I'm visiting from MBC & now following you.

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