Myths about Siberians

Many Siberian breeders, (as well as breeders of Sphinx and Cornish Rex), have made misleading claims about the allergen levels of these breeds. Working very closely with several breeders, Siberian Research has tested over 300 Siberians, and studied kittens from over 100 matings. We have performed considerable research into allergens levels of both Siberians and several other breeds. Some of the more common misleading ideas are discussed below.

Myth - All Siberians are hypoallergenic.
Siberian Research has compiled test data from over 300 samples of Siberian saliva and fur. About half of the Siberians tested had allergen levels that were significantly lower than normal street cats. Some Siberians had exceptionally low allergen levels. These very low allergen cats could be placed in homes with severe cat allergies. A few Siberians tested with very high allergen levels and caused severe allergic reactions.

Myth - Siberians produce no Fel-d1 allergen
All Siberians tested to date produced some Fel-d1 allergen, though some produce only a very small amount. There is growing evidence to suggest that Fel-d1 performs a critical function in the early development of kittens. Street cats show a wide range in Fel d1 levels, and an even wider range is seen in Siberians.

Myth - Siberians produce a different type of Fel-d1
The feline allergen (Fel-d1) from Siberians has been tested both structurally and chemically. No changes was found in either the structural or chemical makeup of Siberian Fel-d1. There is no evidence to suport any claim that Siberian Fel-d1 is different than the allergen found in other cats.

Myth - Male cats always have more allergen than females.
Stud males in ten Siberian catteries were studied in detail. Low allergen males tested very similar to low allergen females. These males tended to cause fewer reactions in cattery visitors than the breeding queens. In cats with normal levels of Fel-d1, the allergen levels of un-neutered males is higher than females, although the levels were reduced by neutering.

Myth - Fur tests are very accurate.
Fur testing is much easier to perform than saliva sampling, but the results in kittens and queens can be very inaccurate. Levels of Fel-d1 in the coats of queens during late pregnancy and nursing tend to be much higher than normal, and they tend to cause more reactions in cattery visitors during that time. Fur levels in studs tend to increase through the rut season of March to October.

Myth - Saliva tests are always accurate. 
Siberian Research strongly recommends re-testing where there is any question regarding the validity of the sample. Repeating saliva tests demonstrates the current tests are accurate about 80% of time. 

Saliva testing is more accurate than fur sampling, but several problems have been found. The older style saliva test methods used by SRI have a much higher error rate than tests currently available through KittenTesting.com  

Myth - Kittens from low-allergen parents are lower allergen.
Matings from multiple Siberian catteries have been studied and the kittens were monitored for Fel-d1 production as they matured. The results were very consistent, and demonstrated a pattern of the genetics involved. Most low allergen matings are capable of producing normal allergen levels in kittens.

  1. When the sire and dam have normal Fel D 1 levels, all kittens tend to have normal allergen levels.
  2. If either the sire or dam has lower Fel D 1 levels, about half of the kittens from the litter will have allergen levels that are lower than normal - though not exceptionally low.
  3. If both the sire and dam are low allergen, the kittens will range from very low to full normal (high allergen).


DISCLAIMER: Feline allergens can cause serious and potentially fatal reactions in some individuals. Allergen information provided is not a substitution for medical advice. We recommend consulting a medical doctor prior to visiting and/or purchasing a Siberian cat. Siberian Research Inc. and Lundberg Siberians disclaim all liability from individuals or catteries where allergies or feline allergen levels are concerned.

©  Lundberg Siberians    2004

 Tom Lundberg 2005