Happy, Healthy, Hypoallergenic

January 30, 2016 | Tampa Magazine | Pets

Pets for people with allergies.

As much as we love our fur babies, their fur can make it difficult for even the biggest animal lovers to fully embrace pet ownership. Between allergy-inducing dander and shedding, welcoming a pet into your home can become a cleanliness issue and a serious health issue for some people. In fact, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 15 to 30 percent of people with allergies are allergic to dogs or cats. And while there is no breed of cat or dog that is 100 percent allergen-free, hypoallergenic pets may be just the right solution for some allergy sufferers and those who just can’t deal with having fur everywhere.

Savannah Cats

catSeminole Heights resident Elon Friedman has never been able to be around cats without his allergies being affected. Until, that is, he and girlfriend Paije Kaiser invested in a pair of Savannah felines. “Now I can have (my cats’) fur in my face and not be affected at all,” Friedman says. A Savannah is a cross between a domesticated cat and a Serval: a wild, medium-sized African cat. While they are primarily inside cats, Friedman says they definitely still have a wild streak in them. “Ducky is a whole other kind of cat,” Friedman says. “He makes different noises, he’s real intense when it comes to food or human food — you just see the difference.” Because Savannah cats love the outdoors, Elon and Paije walk them frequently. Savannah cats are marked by their larger ears and distinct markings. Ducky and Loki are, respectively, F4 and F5 of generations of their breed and can cost up to $1,500. F1 Savannahs, on the other hand, can fetch upwards of $20,000.

To find Savannah cats or breeders, log onto savannahcat.com.

“I was always the worst around cats and now I can have (my cats’) fur in my face and not be affected at all.”
-Elon Friedman, Savannah cat owner

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