Critter Corner: Cats for Seniors Who are Allergic

Dear Angel, 

My mother loves pets, especially cuddly cats like you. She enjoys coming to Mr. Farr’s office to see you, but she needs to take an allergy pill every time.  She is lonely and would really like a cat of her own, but is unwilling to take allergy pills every day or get allergy shots. Are there any other alternatives that you can think of? 

Thanks for your advice, 

Kat AllerGees 


Dear Kat,

I am sorry to hear about your mother’s dilemma. Cats make wonderful pets for seniors. In fact, studies have shown that petting an animal helps ward off depression and reduces stress. Luckily, there are options!

Hypoallergenic Cats 

Some feline breeds exist that are considered “hypoallergenic,” or produce fewer allergens than others. The following is a list which PetMD recommends for people who want to adopt a feline, yet feel options are limited due to allergies:
Another option 

Technically, there are no 100% hypoallergenic domestic cats, and some people, like your mom would still love to have a cat. So, toy manufacturer Hasbro is marketing a lifelike robotic cat for seniors who may be unable to have real fur-babies. The Joy For All Companion Pet cats look, feel, and meow like real cats. They respond to petting, hugging, and motion much like real kitties. “This two-way give-and-take helps create a personally rich experience that can bring fun, joy and friendship to you and your loved ones ages 5 to 105,” says the Hasbro website.
The robotic cats have built-in sensors that respond to motion and touch. Their motions are cat-like and the “Vibrapurr” features sound and feel like real purring, which can be very soothing to humans. If you pet the robotic cat’s left cheek, it nuzzles its head into your hand. And if you pet it long enough, it will roll over on its back for a tummy rub. Keep petting and it will curl up and go to sleep.

Hasbro’s Joy For All product line supports Meals on Wheels America’s efforts to reduce senior isolation and hunger. 

So, whether your mother adopts a real-life cat or purchases a robotic one, I hope she gets many hours of joy, companionship, and stress relief from her new “pet.” I also hope she continues to visit me at the office.

Purrs and kisses,

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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