Visiting a Cattery

NOTE: Feline allergens can cause serious and potentially fatal reactions in some individuals. Allergen information provided by SRI is not a substitution for medical advice. We recommend consulting a medical doctor prior to visiting and/or purchasing a Siberian cat. 


Following are suggested ideas for allergy test visits at a cattery. The optimal outcome is an authentic allergy test that gives visitors a clear indication of their response to Siberians in general, and also to the kitten they wish to purchase.

Most reactions to cats are from Fel d1. Reactions to other animals such as dogs, horses, hamsters or rabbits indicate reactions to secondary cat allergens. These allergies can cause a higher rate of failure in kitten placement.

When purchasing a kittens for allergy reasons, we suggest working with catteries that saliva test their studs and dams for naturally low levels of Fel d1 allergen. A cattery visit should be started by testing with the breeding cats which produced the kitten desired.

Prior to a visit, review the severity of the allergic response to cats. Mild reactions may include itchy eyes, runny nose, or sneezing. Severe reactions include difficulty breathing, or welts. When cats have caused severe or high risk reactions in the past, visitors should check with their physician before visiting a cattery.

Visitors should always bring their own medications with them - including eye drops, inhalers, and antihistamines. For legal reasons, catteries should avoid providing medications. If a reaction should occur, visitors should promptly wash their hands and face with soap and water to remove surface allergen. Emergency services should be called in cases of severe difficulty breathing. (Catteries might consider offering visitors a clean apron or smock which can be removed if the person reacts.)

When possible, cattery visitors should consider not taking antihistamines before the cattery visit, as it will mask the severity of reactions. Visitors should always check with a physician before stopping prescription medicines.

Allergic visitors should plan to spend an hour or two at the cattery to obtain a clear reading of their reactions. The majority of Fel d1 reactions are show within 15 minutes of exposure. Secondary reactions will show only with longer exposure.

Reducing secondary allergens by cleaning rooms to remove surface hair and dust mites is appropriate. Litter boxes should be clean and fresh, and the house aired out prior to the visit. Soft upholstered furniture collects large amounts of allergens and dust mites, and should be covered or avoided by visitors.

Begin a visit with a known low allergen dam in the cleanest room possible. Allergic individuals should bury their face in the adult dam for a brief time. Preferably, the dam should not have been bathed in the prior weeks. If an unacceptable reaction occurs to the least allergic dam, purchase of a kitten may be unadvisable.

Kittens do not have the same levels of allergens as are present in adult cats, and is a poor indicator of allergic response. Kitten fur tends to have Fel d1 and dust from the litter box.

Visitors may react strongly to nursing kittens, but not the mother. This reaction may be seen in combination with allergies to eggs or milk. When these same kittens are older, this reaction is usually less severe.

Reaction to litter boxes is very common, and can be from many sources. Dusty or perfumed litter can both cause problems for allergic individuals. The feces and urine contain many cat allergens including Fel d1. It is always advisable for allergic individuals to keep the litter box in a room well isolated from the living quarters.

When visitors have had no reaction and are ready to leave, expose them to queens or sires with higher allergen levels. This will help verify how reactive the individual is toward cats. If an individual is reactive to Fel d1 and not other allergies, they tend to quickly react to higher allergen cats.


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