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Is Norwegian Forest Cat Hypoallergenic Or Is This A Myth?

Is Norwegian Forest Cat Hypoallergenic Or Is This A Myth?

The Norwegian Forest Cat seems to have it all.

This majestic breed is very involved with its humans, but isn’t overly clingy. It’s also highly intelligent and learns the meaning of the words and tricks easily.

Even if you have other pets in your household, the Norwegian Forest Cat is likely to get along well with them.

This cat’s personality is awesome, and so are its looks. It has a long, dense, and fluffy coat that will charm you right away.

When mentioning this cat’s coat, here comes the next important question: Is the Norwegian Forest Cat hypoallergenic? Or, is the likeability to trigger allergies a downside of this breed?

Let’s get the answers and see whether you should consider living with this cat if you’re an allergy sufferer.

Is Norwegian Forest Cat Hypoallergenic?

Norwegian Forest Cat is lying on the laminate and looking away

The first thing to understand here is that no breed is truly hypoallergenic. This means that there is always a slight possibility that a certain cat may cause allergic reactions in humans.

However, some breeds do better than others. For instance, Siberians are far more advisable for allergy sufferers than Maine Coons or Himalayans.

So, where does the Norwegian Forest Cat stand on this issue?

This breed boasts a luxurious double coat that tends to shed. However, there are indications that this cat may actually produce lower levels of the Fel d 1 protein. This is a protein responsible for triggering allergic reactions in humans. 

According to Cécile Bienboire-Frosini and her associates [1], Fel d 1 protein is produced in large amounts in various anatomical areas of cats, such as the lacrimal, salivary, and sebaceous glands from the facial area, skin, and anal sacs.

Despite this, there remains a possibility that a Norwegian Forest Cat could still elicit allergic reactions in humans. This means that it isn’t considered hypoallergenic.

How Do Cats Cause Allergies In Humans?

a woman with frizzy hair sits on the couch and sneezes

Whether a cat is likely to trigger allergies or not could be a deciding factor for many cat fanciers.

Of course, you would like to share a life space with a feline friend. But, if you or any of your family members have severe allergy symptoms, this could be too hard to manage.

It’s essential you understand here how exactly cats cause allergies in humans. WebMD explains how people are allergic to proteins in the cat’s saliva, urine, and dander. 

Therefore, it’s not just the sumptuous coat of the Norwegian Forest Cat that plays a role in this, although it is one contributing factor.

Since allergy sufferers have oversensitive immune systems, their bodies mistake harmless things for dangerous agents. As a result, they attack them in the same way they would do with viruses or bacteria.

Allergy symptoms can vary in people. Some will sneeze, cough, or have itchy eyes. 

Others will show hives or rashes on their face and body. Some could, however, have serious breathing difficulties.

Can Allergy Sufferers Live With A Norwegian Forest Cat?

Norwegian Forest Cat walks around the house

I’m sure some of you are already discouraged while reading that the Norwegian Forest Cat isn’t an ideal choice for people with allergies.

However, I believe there’s reason to remain optimistic.

First of all, I suggest you spend some time with this cat before actually welcoming it into your home. Also, you can ask a professional breeder or veterinarian for their opinion.

Furthermore, it’s also essential to consider the severity of your allergic reaction. In some cases, it would be better to avoid sharing a life space with any cat at all.

Now, there is also some other advice I would like to share with you. These are some steps you should take if you plan to live with a Norwegian Forest Cat.

By adopting them, there is a great chance that you will minimize allergic reactions to a cat.

1. Bathing A Norwegian Forest Cat

Generally, washing a cat is not typically required. Cats are quite proficient at self-grooming.

There are, however, some occasions when they need our help with keeping their coats clean. For example, if a cat is obese or has health problems like arthritis that hinder their self-grooming abilities.

Washing a cat is also necessary and helpful in reducing its chances of allergy triggering. The Ohio State University suggests that regular bathing can decrease the concentration of allergens in cats by up to 84%.

Of course, you should always wash your Norwegian Forest Cat with a pet shampoo. In case you have any additional concerns, you can always reach your vet for advice.

2. Cat Training

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a highly intelligent and adaptable breed. This means all you looking for a cat to teach some fun tricks will enjoy the company of this cat!

Just look at the video below showing a Norwegian Forest solving a puzzle.

This cat’s intelligence can also be helpful for you to reduce its allergy-triggering chances. The cat training should start from the moment you welcome your feline friend.

The most important thing here is keeping your cat off your bed and off the sofa. Get it a cat bed right from the start and make it as cozy as possible. Put some nice blankets, pillows, and cat toys in it. 

Make your cat’s bed so comfortable that it doesn’t feel the urge to ever try going on yours!

This will significantly decrease the chances of your cat spreading its saliva, dander, and hair in the area where you sleep and rest.

3. Never Stop Cleaning

a smiling woman with her hair in a ponytail is cleaning the house

Does it seem to you like all you’re doing is just cleaning all day long? Well, things are about to get more intense if you plan to have a Norwegian Forest in your home!

Regular cleaning is another crucial part of being a cat parent, especially a parent of a long-haired cat like the Norwegian Forest.

Vacuuming will be necessary even daily, to keep your home dander and hair-free.

It’s also useful to even get rid of carpets, if possible, since this is where your cat could spread a lot of its bodily secretions.

Additionally, cleaning its litter box regularly is a must. Not only can allergies be caused by a cat’s urine, but it’s also likely that a cat will refuse to use a litter box if it’s dirty.

4. Limit Physical Contact With Your Cat

This one certainly seems like a challenging step.

One of the best parts of having a cat for me is cuddling it and feeling that soft, warm fur. And hearing a satisfying purring sound is just one of the best things ever!
Unfortunately, people with allergies may find themselves restricted in this regard.

If you want to live with a Norwegian Forest Cat, it will be necessary to limit physical contact with it.

This entails refraining from petting, hugging, or kissing your cat. If you simply can’t resist these affectionate gestures, it’s advisable to wash your hands promptly with soap and water afterward.

5. Medicines

a beautiful woman with long brown hair drinks an antibiotic

Cat allergies can be controlled with allergy drugs.

Antihistamines are most commonly used. Nasal steroid sprays turn out to be helpful for some people.

Allergy shots are another option, but this includes a longer period of treatment. You should contact your doctor before using any type of cat allergy medicine. 

Also, you should know that constant exposure to cats can decrease allergy symptoms in some people. However, some will just never manage to live with a feline friend, despite medical treatment.

Final Verdict

Is the Norwegian Forest Cat hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, no, it isn’t. Although it’s considered to produce less Fel d1 protein than other breeds, this cat still produces some of it. Also, it has a double, long, and luscious coat that tends to shed.

So, there is a chance that this breed will cause an allergic reaction in you. However, the good news is that this doesn’t mean you should give up on sharing your live space with it.

There will be some sacrifices needed for an allergy sufferer to live with a Norwegian Forest Cat. 

You’ll need to bathe your cat often. You’ll also need to clean a lot and even use some medications.

The most challenging aspect may involve restricting your cat’s access to certain areas of your home and, of course, limiting physical contact between you and your feline friend.

Living with this breed can be challenging for people with allergies, but it’s still manageable.

Have you had any experience with the Norwegian Forest Cat? Did it trigger allergic reactions for you?

We look forward to hearing from you!

[1] Bienboire-Frosini C, Durairaj R, Pelosi P, Pageat P. The Major Cat Allergen Fel d 1 Binds Steroid and Fatty Acid Semiochemicals: A Combined In Silico and In Vitro Study. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Feb 18;21(4):1365. DOI, Retrieved October 25, 2023.