Are Siberian Cats Hypoallergenic? The Truth about Siberian Cats!

Hypoallergenic grey siberian cat breed
Our Siberian kitten at 12 weeks old

I thought we would never own a cat. My husband is allergic. And my son is allergic. So we put pet ownership out of our heads until some how we came across the Siberian cat breed. My husband spent all sorts of time researching Fel-D1 levels and everything he could about cats and allergies. He was convinced we could do it.

So we began our search. First of all, you should know that there aren't very many Siberian cat breeders. At least on in our area. We called and emailed a few but they all had super long waiting lists and were hours away from our home. Then we found two that were close to home. They also had long waiting lists, but were close enough that we could go visit.


We visited two separate breeders. We found them both to be very loving homes filled with cats. Soft, lovey, playful cats. But my both my husband and son had severe reactions after visiting the homes. Click here to see results of our first breeder visit.

Even still, my husband was convinced we could do it. Or...that at least we wouldn't know whether or not we could do it until we tried. So we put a deposit on our cat and waited a long 4 months for her to be born. And then a long 10 weeks for her to be ready to come home.

We had a plan in place. We were going to make it work. You can see a detailed rendition of our plan (which I have stuck to!) but the biggest adjustments included regular baths for kitty, daily vacuuming, and instant litter box cleaning. In case you're wondering, those are all my jobs.

Once she was born, we paid $800 and brought her home. She hid the entire first day. Even still, she managed to get loved up enough that both my husband and son had allergic reactions. And we persevered.

We've only owned our cat for 2 months, but here are some truths about the Breed (from my experience) that I think might help you if you are considering adopting a Siberian Cat.

Siberian Cats are Expensive - Our cat cost $800 and I think the range is between $700-$1000. The waiting lists are usually long and you will have a very hard time finding one of these cats in a shelter. I searched the 5 state area daily for 5 months without finding a single Siberian. You can buy retired moms for a little less, but I never found one that was "for sale."

Allergies - They may or may not be hypoallergenic. My husband, son, and a few of our neighbors with allergies have all reacted to our cat. But - they can live with her. The first few days were rough for them. Maybe it was psychological. Maybe it was all the intense love she received. But whatever it was, they were allergic. They even started taking medicine. Then, we starting skipping doses.

Within a few short days, they had weaned off of the meds entirely. My husband occasionally complains of "itchiness" but my son rarely does. For the most part, they've adapted. They are medicine free, do not have runny noses or itchy eyes, and are living with her just fine. And she spends a lot of time with each of us. She sleeps in our bed and sits on our laps often.

Personality - According to all sources I've read, Siberian cats are considered "dog cats" because they are so loving and involved. I'm not sure if it's just because of the breed or because of the excellent socialization done by our breeder, but our cat is indeed loving. She purrs often. She wants to be in the same room with us. She's playful and she's tolerant. She has been dressed up, carried, smooshed, clipped, worn false nails, and all sorts of things - all with very little complaint.

She is indeed dog-like in the way she shows affection and plays, but she is also very cat-like. She pretends not to listen (or is in fact not listening) when being spoken to, she fights at-will, and she does whatever she pleases.

Size - Siberian cats are the second biggest cat breed. As a kitten, our cat is pretty big. And she's gaining weight quickly. How big will she get? I'll update this when I know for sure. As of this writing, she is only 15 weeks old and 5 pounds.
Since they are larger, they need a larger litter box (just for their bodies to fit!) I have loved this hidden litter box, when we have cat sitters they can't find the litter box! That's how you know it's good. Plus our cat likes it, it keeps things cleaner and is less smelly.

Shedding - For the entire first month, our cat didn't shed at all. But now that summer has hit, her fur is coming off in puffs. Our breeder said she'd have two "molts" a year. This must be the first one. Even still, with daily combing and vacuuming, it hasn't been a big deal.

If you have questions about adopting a Siberian cat, I'd be happy to share what our experience has been. My husband and son do have allergies. And they are allergic to our cat. But we are living with her - without medication or misery (except for the drape climbing!)



20 comments:

Bridget said...

I want to applaud you for attempting to find a shelter cat before buying from a breeder. I empathize with your family having allergies (while I guess, it's sympathize because fortunately I don't have allergies). I just want to emphasize, however, that people who are buying a special kitten (or any animal), that it's imperative to buy from a reputable breeder, something you obviously did. I wish tighter regulations existed so anyone with access to a male and female animal can't breed in order to make a few bucks. A lot of problems arise when people breed indiscriminately, just because one can doesn't mean one should.I understand that people don't like regulations but I believe that reputable breeders should welcome higher standards. Congratulations on the new addition to your family; she's really cute. Animals add so much to our lives; I'm happy your family gets to experience that as well.

Jayne said...

We brought our Siberian kitten home a week ago. I second all that you said. My allergic husband has had some reaction to the cat. He can be in the same room with him without any problems. If he pets the cat, he needs to make sure he washes his hands before touching his eyes. His allergies aren't gone, but they are much less than with other cats. Our kitten is very dog like. He wants more affection and play time than any other cat I have owned. We also knew he would grow into a large cat, but we didn't really know how large until we saw our kitten's father, who is 20 pounds. Our reputable breeder thought our kitten would grow to be 20-25 pounds, since he is growing so fast. He'll be the size of a dog in the end! We love every bit of him. I have really enjoyed reading about how your beautiful cat is doing. It has given me ideas about what to expect with ours. Thanks.

Massachusetts mama said...

We have a somewhat similar story. One of my daughters has reacted to some, not all, cats -- I have never had her tested, but I suspect she has a moderate cat allergy. Consequently we got a Siberian kitten from a breeder rather than getting a shelter cat, which would have been my preference. The first day my daughter had no reaction whatsoever. The next day she started getting itchy eyes and sneezing. I was panicked -- until I realized that pollen season had just kicked in, and several of my friends with hay fever began complaining about similar symptoms. Still, to be safe I started a cleaning regimen -- daily vacuuming, wiping down the kitten with microfiber cloths, etc.

Anyway, long story short, that was about three months ago. Pollen season has passed. My daughter is completely nonreactive to the kitten, who is now five months old and a total love. I no longer clean obsessively since it doesn't seem to be necessary. In our experience, the Siberian has been a terrific choice.

Jonathan said...

I couldn't have a cat for 40 years due to allergies. When I learned of the Siberian breed, I began researching and then visiting breeders. (It is strongly recommended that one spend several hours with the breeder before taking a cat home, or at least sleep with a swatch of fur.)

I learned that FEL levels, while generally lower for Siberians than other cats (and this HAS been tested in independent labs, contrary to what some vets believe), are not uniform. Some breeders have now succeeded in getting FEL levels to unmeasurable levels, which augurs very well for the future of the breed as a true hypoallergenic cat.

On my first visit to a breeder, I had a slight allergic reaction, so I did not adopt the kitten they had available.

My wife and I later decided to adopt an adult female, which is nearly impossible. Fortunately, a retired breeder became available nearby, and I had no allergic reactions after spending several hours at the breeder.

I have had no allergic reactions to our cat in two years, and I second the nice things said above about the breed. They are incredibly affectionate and well balanced. Next year, we plan to adopt a Siberian kitten to keep her company.

Anonymous said...

I adopted a shelter cat the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. He's supposed to be approx 8 months old and weighs 10 lbs. I thought he was part Maine Coon, but his coat is so different than the hair-like coat of the Maine Coon. He doesn't seem to shed, which is amazing to me. I can pick him up while wearing a black coat or sweater and - NO shedding!! His coat is downy, and he also has dew claws, and fur sticking out from between his toes. I think, looking at pictures, that he is Siberian or at least part. I've got to say that I am allergic to cats, but do not seem to be affected by Gomez as much as other cats. Personality traits: immediately comfortable in our home, with us and with the other cats. Trills when he walks (including in the middle of the night!) Always happy to be picked up, smooched, held, carried around, whatever you want. I believe he must be Siberian, and I'm in absolute love!

Jaeger Kolstad said...

I'm allergic to cats as well and live in Minnesota, is that near a well known breeder?

Angela said...

I'm sure there are breeders in Minnesota. There are a ton of forums online that discuss breeders and they are all connected to each other so they can give recommendations about each other.

Visit the breeder before you purchase so you can get a sense of your allergy tolerance.

Heather said...

A friend just alerted me to Siberian cats. I have always wanted a cat but I am allergic--I can be in the same room for a while but if I touch them or touch things they have been in contact with and then touch my face I get very sneezy and itchy. I don't want to live on medications just to have a pet. Reading this is reassuring but also worrying; it sounds like there are no guarantees, that it might take time, but that even with time my reactions might not settle back down. And I would hate to invest in a cat and have it attach to us only to have to get rid of it eventually (though we would of course look for a good home). What I'd like to know is how things are going for you and especially your husband and son now that it's been two years since you posted this blog?

Gin Jon said...

I did a lot of research on this breed before I even found a breeder. You are right that they may or may not be allergic , what I found through research is that apparetntky the color pointed siberians typically have even less of a chance for a allergic I reaction. M husband and I got our Siberian , color pointed of course, 7 months ago and she was been perfect. My husbands mom and him are very very allergic to cats, even dogs too and they both have no reaction to the kitten. Sometimes if she scratches him the spot might be a little itchy but he says its nothing different from getting scratched by a tree or branch or something.

Gin Jon said...

I did a lot of research on this breed before I even found a breeder. You are right that they may or may not be allergic , what I found through research is that apparetntky the color pointed siberians typically have even less of a chance for a allergic I reaction. M husband and I got our Siberian , color pointed of course, 7 months ago and she was been perfect. My husbands mom and him are very very allergic to cats, even dogs too and they both have no reaction to the kitten. Sometimes if she scratches him the spot might be a little itchy but he says its nothing different from getting scratched by a tree or branch or something.

Gin Jon said...

I did a lot of research on this breed before I even found a breeder. You are right that they may or may not be allergic , what I found through research is that apparetntky the color pointed siberians typically have even less of a chance for a allergic I reaction. M husband and I got our Siberian , color pointed of course, 7 months ago and she was been perfect. My husbands mom and him are very very allergic to cats, even dogs too and they both have no reaction to the kitten. Sometimes if she scratches him the spot might be a little itchy but he says its nothing different from getting scratched by a tree or branch or something.

Angela said...

Today is 11/19/2014 and I thought I would give everyone an update. We have now had our cat for over 4 1/2 years. My son is no longer allergic to her at all. My husband still gets allergy symptoms if he holds and pets her for an extended period, but can otherwise live in the house with her and not have any problems.
We have had many "allergic" people stay in our home and visit. None of them have had any issues. Of course, they typically avoid her, but some have stayed in our home for weeks at a time and had no problems. She has full access to all parts of the house and has slept in every bed (lol).
I have also fallen out of the mass cleaning habit. I still vacuum and dust but maybe once a week.

Are Siberians less allergenic than other cats? Maybe. Will your allergy get better? Will it get worse? There are so many variables and it's hard to know. They are nice, big, fluffy cats. I wish we could get another one so Reya would have a friend to play with.

Kristyn said...

I'm curious, how big did your cat get?

She is beautiful by the way!

Angela said...

She is approximately 10 pounds.

mary said...

hi so its been like five years do your son and husband still get reactions? or did most of them just kind of adapt, I really want a cat in the future, but my mom is highly allergic although she always says that when she lived on a farm there was one cat she wasn't allergic to (out of like 15 different breeds) , and based on her description his may be the breed. but ya how are ur son and husband doing?

Angela said...

My husband is still sort of allergic. He has been allergic his whole life, had allergy shots for years, etc. He will probably always be allergic. My son is not allergic at all anymore. :)

Unknown said...

How's your cats shedding?

Angela said...

My cat sheds in "tufts." When she is frightened or stressed, clumps will fall off as she runs away. If you comb them on a regular basis (a couple times a week) the shedding isn't so bad for the house, but if they sit on your lap and you are wearing black pants, you will have cat hair all over you. Make sense?

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am still trying to get a better understanding of how much a Siberian sheds. I know they have molting seasons, but generally throughout the year, could you tell me more about the amount of cat hair that is left behind on cloth furniture and floors? Thanks so much.

Angela said...

I would say she leaves hair everywhere - the light downy white hair. Floors not so much, but furniture and clothing a lot.

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!

Angela

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