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I have two kids, a 6 year old boy and a 4 year old girl. When my kids were born, we had two pet cats. One was a purebred ragdoll, the other was adopted from the shelter. Neither my son nor daughter showed any signs of allergy to our cats.
In 2009 we found new homes for the cats, because both of them were starting to poop and pee all over the house, including the baby things and we freaked out. We tried putting them out in the garage, but the climate here (extreme hot) did not make it a feasible option.
In 2011 we visited my sister's home, and she has two cats also adopted from the shelter. Both of my children displayed pretty extreme allergies to her cats. Both had red, watery eyes, and clogged noses. I had never seen them react this way before. I was shocked. When I removed the children from the cats, they immediately felt better.
I am a cat-lover. I have had cats all my life, and I'm dying to get one. I investigated and found that purebred Siberian cats are said to be hypoallergenic. I found a breeder in my area, and she agreed that I could bring my kids to her home for an hour to see how they react while interacting with her cats. My son had NO allergy whatsoever. It was truly amazing. My daughter however, had a slight reaction. She developed a small red rash around her mouth. Also, at one point the kitty was playing with my daughter and bopped her on the head. My daughter was startled by this and started to cry. When she cried, she rubbed her teary eyes, and then she developed a red rash around the area she rubbed. So it is clear that she has some reaction, but not as severe as with my sister's cats. So it is obvious to me that Siberian cats do have hypoallergenic qualities.
Here is my question. I desperately want a siberian cat. The breeder has also informed me that if I buy the cat, and my daughter becomes more allergic, I can return the cat back to her. (I really don't want to have to do that, as it will be a heartbreak for all of us, including the kitty). I have heard that some people develop more tolerance, the more they are exposed. I would not even be considering this option if either of my kids displayed the same reaction as they did with my sister's cats. Would you get the cat? I live in a large house, with tile floors throughout the main floor, and low pile carpetting upstairs. By the time we get the kitty, my daughter would be closer to 5 years old. Is she old enough to be reminded to wash her hands after touching the kitty?