- Maine Coons are not hypoallergenic.
- They produce a normal amount of Fel d 1, the protein responsible for allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
- Fel d 1 is a protein found in the skin, saliva, fur, oily glands, and more of cats.
- Ways to combat the reaction include medication, keeping the house and all cat gear clean, and regularly baths for your Maine Coon.
- If curious whether or not you can live with a Maine Coon despite an allergy, visit a local Maine Coon cattery.
Are Maine Coons hypoallergenic? In black and white terms, no, they are not hypoallergenic.
But reality is a bit more complex. I own a Maine Coon. I also won the most allergic-patient contest, according to an allergy screen and my doctor’s words.
If you suffer from allergies, or maybe a person in your household suffers from allergies, there’s still hope in owning a Maine Coon!
Let’s talk about that.
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What Causes Cat Allergies
The main culprit behind cat allergies is Fel d 1. What is Fel d 1?
Fel d 1 is a secretoglobin protein that in cats is encoded by the CH1 (chain 1/Fel d 1-A) and CH2 (chain 2/Fel d 1-B) genes.An update on molecular cat allergens: Fel d 1 and what else?
In plain English, Fel d 1 is a protein that comes mainly from the oily skin glands of a cat. However, it can also be in cat’s saliva, urine, and tears.
If inhaled, Fel d 1 causes coughing, excess mucous, and constriction of airways.
Maine Coons produce a normal amount of Fel d 1, meaning they are not hypoallergenic.
Is Maine Coon Fur Hypoallergenic?
Maine Coon fur is possibly hypoallergenic. But as a cat grooms itself, Fel d 1 from saliva and dander (dead skin flaking off the cat) transfer onto fur.
Which then renders the fur reactive and causes the following for suffers:
- itchy water eyes
- nasal congestion or itching
- hives and skin inflammation
To answer the question “are Maine Coons hypoallergenic?” we have to say no, they are not.
Feline Allergic Reactions Are Complex – There’s Still Hope
Whether a Maine Coon is hypoallergenic is not 100% correlated to you having a reaction to it.
Allergies are complex reactions in the body that are not a black and white thing, meaning your allergic reaction could be none, or minimal.
- I have personal experience with allergies. I even suffer from eczema to this day, being too familiar with the inflammation and itching.
- I know about daily antihistamines and topical steroids to live a normal life, and understand the decrease in quality of life due to the immune system freaking out.
Like I said, I won the most one of the most reactive patient award, according to my doctor.
At first, holding Chelle in my arms would cause itchy red skin and slight hives. Luckily, I do not have any of the coughing or nasal issues. Now after a few years, I am pretty much immune.
I lucked out with a light reaction to my cat. I have another take on the situation, though. The fact that I am allergic is a constant push to be extra tidy and live a better, cleaner life!
Dealing with a Maine Coon Cat Allergy
There are a couple of things to try. The first is reactionary and easy to do, but does not address the root cause. The later methods are proactive.
By the way, I do not want to make light of the photo above. Poor kitty is suffering from congestion, dry eyes, and maybe even asthma. Kitty needs a humidifier and to see a veterinarian as soon as possible!
In my younger years, I thought that medication was the cure for everything. I always reached for an over-the-counter antihistamine.
Benadryl (or generically known as Diphenhydramine) was the first OTC antihistamine I tried to help my Maine Coon allergy.
And it worked like a charm. Until 2 hours in, where it straight kicked my butt straight to sleep.
Don’t use a sedative antihistamine like Benadryl for a cat allergy, it’s like a bringing Bacardi 151 to a church picnic – people end up on the floor.
I moved onto some newer antihistamine – these are so-called “second generation” antihistamines and are more “refined” in their action. What worked best for me was generic Zyrtec, or Cetirizine. Cheap, long lasting, and non-sedating.
Taking medication is not recommended long term, though. And not an optimal way to live with your cat.
By the way, antihistamines are also effective if your cat is suffering from allergies too!
Keep Your House Clean
A much better approach is to do the hard thing, and keep the house clean to minimize allergies from your Maine Coon. If you keep the fur and dander from building up, it makes a huge difference.
Use a lint roller regularly on furniture or fabric.
Mop and wipe with a damp towel often to keep surfaces dust and allergen free.
Don’t forget your Maine Coon’s favorite corners, higher spots, and hideouts. Consider getting a modern cat tree with hardwood and no carpet!
Launder bedding, pillows, rugs, towels often. Cloth and fiber are literal magnets for fur. Wash your sheets!
Use a pet-hair specific vacuum with a HEPA filter to catch even the smallest particulates.
Low Dust Hypoallergenic Litter
Take care of the litter box right away after your Maine Coon uses it. Switch to a low dust non-irritating cat litter.
Sweep around the litter box too. Maine Coons are big cats, and as they hop out of the litter box, it kicks up to the outside. Look into a litter that does not track.
Keep your Maine Coon Clean
Bathe your Maine Coon cat once every month or two and use a degreasing shampoo. This removes excess dander, fur, and saliva that they have been using to groom themselves.
Most cats will hate you for this step, but you may luck out with your Maine Coon, because as I have written about before, they are fond of the water.
They enjoy like playing with water, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll love a bath. Take proper precautions with PPE, use lots of snacks, and hugs. Some cats have no issues with this, others will be a harder time.
Your Maine Coon Sheds, Take Care of That
With regular brushing and de-shedding!
As a sizable and long haired cat breed, Maine Coons shed, and I find tumble weeds and bits of fur constantly, even with daily brushing and deshedding. You will never find a purebred short hair Maine Coon.
The fur is like silk or fine cotton consistency, so tell friends it’s just Maine Coon glitter. 😅
Your Maine Coon will recognize that you are doing something for it. In my household, when I come back home in the day time, my she will get up and greet me with a light chirp.
Then I can grab the brush and give her my fullest attention for about 5 – 10 minutes, about 3 times a week.
But listen – if shedding is a crazy amount they might need a cat food for shedding, with higher quality protein and especially fats, like coconut oil, fish oil, and omega fatty acids!
What About Other Hypoallergenic Cats?
There are numerous breeds that produce less Fel d 1. But all cats still produce it.
A long hair breed that produces less Fel d 1 is the Siberian cat. If you are looking for a Maine Coon substitute that is of comparable size and coat, check out the Siberian.
Siamese cats are not hypoallergenic, but better than many long haired breeds. Their short hair sheds less and proper coat maintenance is minimal.
Norwegian Forest Cats
The Norwegian Forest Cat AKA Wegies are another large long haired cat breed. They share similar physical features as Maine Coons, though Maine Coons can be larger. They produce a normal amount of Fel d 1 and require work to keep allergens and dander at bay like with Maine Coons.
Shorthair Hypoallergenic Cats
Shorthair cats with less Fel 1 d include the Balinese, the Javanese, the Sphynx cat, or the Oriental Shorthair.
Where to Find Maine Coon Kittens for Sale
If you feel good that you would be okay with a slight reaction, and then go ahead and start looking for an CFA or TICA accredited cattery.
You can go to a cat show in your city and meet the breeders and cattery owners there. Alternatively, check online and social media. Most cattery owners have websites and are active on Facebook and Instagram.
Schedule a time to visit their cattery. You must do this – it’s not only to assess their operation and check the quality of their cats. It’s also test how you react to live Maine Coons!
How to See If You Will Be Allergic
Once you’re at the cattery, you have direct exposure to the Maine Coons, and can gauge your level of response to it.
Do this before getting too deep into the fantasy of owning a Maine Coon cat. It will keep you from getting married to the idea.
We know that people make decisions emotionally, then defend it with logic 🙂 Especially when it comes to animals.
However, if you do have a bit of a reaction to Maine Coons, but feel it’s worth it, go on! I commend you for even asking “are Maine Coons hypoallergenic?” and learning more.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best cat for someone with allergies?
The best cat for someone with allergies is a breed that produces low Fel d 1, the protein that causes allergic reactions in sufferers.
If you’re looking for a big, long haired breed like a Maine Coon, look into the Siberian cat. Otherwise the Balinese, Devon Rex, Sphynx, and Russian Blue are great shorter haired alternatives.
Do Maine Coons shed?
All cats shed, and the Maine Coon is no exception. Their coat requires daily brushing and regular deshedding to remove dust, dander, allergens, dirt, and others.
The good news is with regular coat maintenance and deshedding, Maine Coons are much less likely to cause allergic reactions.
Are Maine Coons high maintenance?
Maine Coons are not high maintenance as you think, despite their long luxurious coat. As a 100% natural cat breed, their fur is less inclined to tangle versus the long haired breeds, like Persians.
Daily brushing and deshedding are all that’s needed to keep their coat nice. They are also independent and social cats, so they can spend time with you or be off by themselves, with no neurosis.
I’m Gary Hu, a proud cat dad to a 15 lb Maine Coon. Have taken care of outdoor and indoor cats for over 10 years, and learned tons on behavior, habits, health, and products. I help new Maine Coon (or any other cat) parents with common questions and issues based on real, practical experience.