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Old 01-03-2011, 04:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Shedding, Dander, and The Lion-cut

Allergies have always been a problem between my boyfriend and I. I'm fine around all of the cats, and so is my boyfriend with one problem: Rochelle. Unfortunately, we think we've tracked down the culprit to his inside allergies to her and her longer denser coat. The winter months have been pretty bad on Rochelle's shedding as well. So we are looking for ways we haven't tried to cut down on the dander a bit.

I do groom Rochelle quite often...at least once a day. When I'm finished, I have at least a full handful of her hair, usually more. I use a combination of plastic brush and wire brush, and I spend at least a half hour or more, depending on how long that session takes to get all the loose hair. Thank goodness Rochelle loves to be brushed, heh.

Baths are kinda out of the question, as Rochelle hates water...seriously, her paws get wet and she's in freak out mode. I also read that bath's really aren't good/needed for cats anyways because they keep themselves so clean on their own...am I right on this?

I do wash bedding, blankies, and some toys, on a regular basis, and I keep the apartment pretty clean at all times, to reduce the dust and dander as much as I can.

My boyfriend does take medication for his allergies, but this winter has been really bad on him with the constant weather changes and such. And this is our first winter with the cats, and Rochelle's coat has just been shedding non-stop. I can't seem to keep up with the grooming, and it makes me sad to see that the two of them can't really interact.

SO after all that, on to my topic of the lion-cut! I read that this haircut for cats can reduce dander and obviously shedding, and that it can be ideal for people who have cat allergies to be able to live with the animals they love. Not to mention, it's absolutely adorable.

Are there any other pros to the lion-cut? Any cons?

Are there any other ideas I can try to help reduce dander and shedding?

Thanks much!
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I thought that allergies have more to do with the cat's saliva when they groom themselves, so even with a lion cut, she's still going to groom herself. But I could be all wrong about that, thankfully, I have no experience with allergies.

You're right about baths, unnecessary unless they get into something, etc.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, I believe cat allergies have more to do with the cat's saliva than anything else...I think it works by the cat grooming themselves, their saliva getting on the dander and hair, and then the dander and hair falling out and getting all over your house, and that's where the allergies come into play. I think the lion cut works by cutting down the amount of hair and dander that the cat has access to to lick. It doesn't prevent it completely, but reduces it by a large amount. I could be wrong though.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would think the lion cut could only help. I probably would have given Gigi one if it wasn't so cold right now.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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See that's something I'm a little worried about...Rochelle being cold. She's indoor only, and has absolutely no intentions of going outside. We keep our apartment a little on the warmer side (about 77 degrees...the cats love it! ) and there are plenty of warm beds, blankies, and other places to curl up in if she did feel cold. Think that would be sufficient? I know cats like to be extra warm, but I'm not sure when enough is enough, heh.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Cat allergies are not caused by cat hair, but by cat dander. Cat dander also is unrelated to cat hair. Rather, dander comprises microscopic particles of dry cat skin. Cat dander, in and of itself, is not an allergen and would be harmless were it not for something called Fel D1, which is a glycoprotein found in the glands underneath a cat’s skin, and in the cat’s saliva and urine. When a cat grooms, the cat’s saliva dries on its fur and mixes with the dead skin cells that have been shed and have landed on the cat’s fur – and both the saliva and the dead skin cells contain the dreaded Fel D1 allergen.

Your boyfriend might be particularly allergic to Rochelle, but it would have nothing to do with the length or density of her coat. Instead, different cats produce Fel D1 in differing amounts. As an aside, one of the most “hypo-allergenic” cats around is the Siberian – which is a long-haired cat, but one that happens to produce very low levels of Fel D1. If you find your boyfriend’s symptoms are worse with Rochelle, then it is likely that Rochelle produces higher level of Fel D1 than do either Samantha or Alice.

Long story short, a lion cut won’t help the allergen situation. Rochelle will still groom and the Fel D1 in her saliva and her skin cells will still become airborne. Of course, a lion cut will reduce shedding and so if you want to proceed with the lion cut to reduce “clean-up” relating to shedding, then you can go ahead. Although it won’t help with the allergen production, I don’t think it would hurt either.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow, thanks for the info, Susan! Rochelle must produce more of the Fel D1 then, because my boyfriend has had little to no problems with the other girls. Thats quite interesting. Hmmm...I'm not completely sold on the lion cut, I had just read that it was good for allergies...and thats why I asked you wonderful people before believing blindly in the magic of the internet. It's still tempting for the hair reduction though.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Gigi's an inside kitty, too, but with no (working) heating system in the crappy house I rent, when I'm not home, there's no heat. (I won't leave a space heater on when I'm not home, I have a terrible fear of fire.)

It's in the 50's in the house right now, but my cats could care less with their long hair.

Rochelle will probably still shed the same, it'll just be shorter hairs.
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hehe, I could deal with the shorter hairs...the clumps I find on my floor are no fun to clean up. Her hair is really dense, but fine like rabbit fur, so it sticks in our carpeting like crazy and messes up the vacuum cleaner. XD
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There are a couple of things you could try to help with the allergies, although neither is guaranteed to work. First, when you groom Rochelle, I would try to do so in a room/area where your boyfriend doesn't spend much time (if you have such a room/area). When you're grooming, you're "tossing" all of those little microscopic dead skin particles all over the place (more so than Rochelle would do on her own), which doesn't help matters. In addition, I've heard a HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter) can be very effective in controlling the microscopic dander particles, although I understand they're not cheap.
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