The Ultimate Guide to Cats for People with Allergies
Today's Topic: Hypoallergenic Cats
To all those who fancy a feline but suffer when they snuggle, this one’s for you. That’s right allergy suffers, there are solutions for your sniffles.
If you love cats but suffer from cat allergies, you may be wondering if there’s such a thing as a cat that doesn’t make you sneeze, wheeze or scratch your eyes out.
The good news is it might be possible. Introducing hypoallergenic cats. Now you’re thinking, “Hey buddy, there’s no such thing as an allergy free cat!”
Let’s just see about that!
The next sections go deeper into what makes a cat hypoallergenic. If you’re hanging out to read our list of specific breeds, feel free to jump to that section using the table of contents!
Table of Contents
Hypoallergenic Cats - Do They Really Exist?
Yes! Hypoallergenic cats are breeds with a reduced likelihood of causing allergic responses. However, non-allergenic cats (ones that cause no allergies) are a myth.
(For a closer look at the difference, see our article which defines Hypoallergenic vs Non-Allergenic for Animals).
For many, the dream of owning a pet is often forgotten only because they suffer from allergic reactions. No matter how cute or cuddly, the simple truth is that most of our feline friends are allergen producing machines!
That’s why it’s wise to always check with your doctor before bringing home any pet if you have allergies. Everyone is different so it’s still possible that having a hypoallergenic cat will not work for you.
If you’re still wondering what makes a cat hypoallergenic, the next section for you!
Does Hypoallergenic Mean the Cat Won’t Shed?
Quick, put your lab coats on, it’s about to get sciencey up in here.
Allergy sufferers generally think that they are allergic to the fur of an animal. That’s why cat breeds which lack some or all of the normal layers in their coat are often believed to be hypoallergenic. Almost true.
In most cases, people are really allergic to -adjust your spectacles- the Fel d 1 protein present in the skin and saliva of cats.
So what does that mean for you?
It’s likely that your allergy comes from being in contact with the Fel d 1 proteins in your cat’s saliva and the oils from their skin. And you aren’t alone. About 10% of the population of people allergic to cats are likely allergic to this protein.
It’s not just the nature of a cat’s coat or shedding levels that are responsible for allergies.
Have you watched a cat recently?
Most spend a great deal of time licking their fur clean. If you’re allergic to the proteins in cat saliva, the amount of hair in the cat’s coat, or its shedding levels, make no difference to your allergies if it licks itself like there’s no tomorrow!
So What’s an Allergy Friendly Cat?
Now for the good news/bad news; every single cat has the Fel d 1 protein, making cats disqualified for the status “non-allergenic”. In plain English, there is no such thing as a cat that definitely won’t cause allergies.
Which begs the question, what makes a hypoallergenic cat?
The good news is some cat breeds naturally produce less Fel d 1 protein. Others produce less dander. While others don’t require as much self grooming so there’s less saliva trapped in their coats.
Meaning there may be a cat out there that you can enjoy without an intense allergic reaction. It really depends on your sensitivity. Across the board, cat allergy sufferers report fewer issues with these breeds which is why they make the cut for our list below.
To reduce allergens in your home even further check out our article “Complete Cat Allergy Guide: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for Reducing Allergies to Cats“ Yeah, we thought of that too. We’re just that good.
Always check with your doctor before bringing home any pet if you have allergies. Everyone is different so it’s still possible that having a hypoallergenic cat will not work for you.
15 Felines for People with Cat Allergies
Allergies are on the rise and this brings about a new era of alternative options.
All of these cats are considered hypoallergenic for various reasons. Most of them require less self grooming leaving less saliva trapped in their coats. Though, there are other features that contribute to why we added them to the list!
Also do further research and discuss with your health care practitioner before bringing one of these fur-babies home.
The secret to finding the best hypoallergenic pet for you comes down to knowing your sensitivities! There’s no amount of online research that can substitute for info specific to you and your allergies.
Long-haired Cats that are Surprisingly Hypoallergenic
Let’s start with the hairiest little lion of all. This whopping big cat might surprise you.
Although its hair is long, the Siberian naturally has ten times less Fel d 1 proteins than the average feline. That being said, they shed heavily.
If you are prone to breathing allergies, this may not be the best breed for you. However, if your allergy sensitivities are linked to Fel d 1, you’re in luck!
Regular grooming (bathing) and brushing are recommended if you suffer from allergies. Their coat has three layers, guard hairs (topcoat), awn hairs (mid-length) and a lower downy coat. That’s one fluffy fuzz-butt!
These cats are so large they are second only to the Maine Coon. Despite their size, expect kitten behaviors for quite some time. It takes 5 years for the average Siberian to reach maturity. These cats are warm companions for families and single-person homes.
Another long-haired hypoallergenic contender, this flowing beauty also possesses a low Fel d 1 Protein count.
These cats have an agile, elegant build and the gracefulness to their movements. It was those qualities that inspired breeders to name them after the graceful dancers of Bali.
These are very vocal cats who require stimulation and engagement to keep them occupied. Look out for destructive behavior if these needs are not met. These cats are full of personality and they love to interact with you all day long!
Never heard of this breed? That’s ok. We’ll hit the high points.
LaPerms originated with a gene mutation of a barn cat in Oregon, of all places. The first kitten was actually born hairless and later grew a curly coat. Selective breeding over the years brought us this original looking hypoallergenic feline.
Their curly coat comes in two lengths and keeps dander and shedding to a minimum, reducing allergens in the home. They also tend to self-groom less.
A LaPerm is a hypoallergenic cat who loves attention and time with its people. This cool cat has also been praised for its versatility as a snuggly companion or an active and playful goofball depending on the activity you’re involved in.
This entertaining elegant little alien cat has minimal shedding so it also lands on our list of hypoallergenic cats. A sister, shall we say, to the Balinese cat this breed shares many of the same traits.
This gorgeous feline has a long, lean body finishing with a lovely plume tail found in multiple coat color options. If you like a cat that talks back, you’ll enjoy this bundle of love as they love to vocalize. This social breed will fit right in your family.
Short-Haired Cat Breeds for People With Allergies
5. Oriental Shorthair
This unique set of whiskers makes the cut as a hypoallergenic fur friend because of its breeding being mixed with the Balinese.
For those who love variety, the CFA has confirmed that the Oriental now comes in over 600 different colors and patterns and they have multiple hair lengths. For allergy sufferers, the short hair length is recommended.
Also known as the ‘Lap Leopard,’ the Bengal is a personal favorite. It makes the cut as a hypoallergenic kitty because of its low maintenance coat. Having only one coat length, they have minimal shedding and do not spend very long grooming themselves. That means less saliva in their coats and on the dander that ends up in our home.
This cat has been called the cat for dog lovers. They are highly intelligent and require a stimulating environment with engaging surroundings. This is the Australian shepherd of cats folks.
They have a great capacity for learning tricks and continuing to wow you. Not recommended for owners who are not home often. They come in a stunning array of patterns and colors and are most famous for the leopard look.
7. Russian Blue
This gorgeous beauty has a velvet grey coat. The Russian Blue is known as a hypoallergenic cat because it produces less Fel d 1 proteins and its dense coat traps much of the dander and particles. This prevents them from becoming airborne and can, lessen allergy symptoms.
These hypoallergenic cats are known to be quiet and are considered some of the smartest cats around. Russian Blues prefer a quiet and stable environment and are not recommended for homes with young children or busy households.
They have been known to play shy of strangers and bond well with their owners. Regular grooming is required for their thick coat and will lessen allergy symptoms in the home.
8. Colorpoint Shorthair
The Baskin Robbins of cat coats, this feline comes in over 20 different colors. Considered hypoallergenic for their minimal shedding, and thin coat.
They are known to be extremely vocal, intelligent and needy; this is not a passive house guest. Colorpoint Shorthairs are playful and love to play fetch. This hypoallergenic feline is sure to entertain you. Essentially a Siamese cat in a costume, it’s hard to resist their beautiful blue eyes!
This is one cool cat. Producing fewer Fel d 1 proteins than the average feline, this cat is considered hypoallergenic. Sharing many similarities to the Bengal in its activity level, intelligence, and dog-like traits. They are a highly sociable breed who don’t do well alone for long hours.
This clown will keep you entertained and on your toes. Special note, they have no relation to the endangered wild cat Ocelot, but merely resemble their wild appearance. They are a great choice for allergy-prone families. With a little grooming and TLC, they’re sure to fit right in.
This small stocky cat is heavier than it looks. Known to be clingy and vocal they are a real companion animal for someone desiring a hypoallergenic feline companion with lower allergen markers.
These cats have a unique face with wide-set eyes which are yellow or green. They are known especially for their chocolate coat coloring though they also come in many other colors and varieties as well.
This fancy feline wants to be with you wherever you are, whether it’s playtime or cuddle time, count on a Burmese to be with you.
Nearly Bald Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
11. Cornish Rex
This hypoallergenic cat is originally from Cornwall England (thus the name.) They are bred to have a curved spine and a curly down undercoat, giving them an extremely unique appearance and a very soft coat.
Cornish Rexes can have long lifespans and rightfully so, as they are known to be very affectionate companions. They need regular baths as they have no outer coat to absorb the oils from their skin.
They’re hypoallergenic though, because they do not shed very much at all and regular bathing will limit the allergens secreted by the skin. All and all this is a great cat and an excellent option for someone in need of a hypoallergenic feline friend.
12. Devon Rex
This lovely little elf is not related to the Cornish Rex contrary to first impressions. This hypoallergenic weirdo is known for its curly hair, triangle face shape, and large ears.
They have three coat lengths, guard (although sparse), awn and down. This feline has a huge personality and is known for stealing your food and your heart. Devons are playfully mischievous and attention-seeking and are famous for being up in your business!
They are considered hypoallergenic because their hair absorbs the oils containing the Fel d 1 protein and they do not shed very much. With proper grooming, they are less likely to irritate your allergies. Well suited for allergic families seeking a furry goofball.
Are Naked Cats Good for Feline Allergy Sufferers?
A note on the bald furbabies. They may seem like an obvious hypoallergenic choice, they may even seem non-allergenic. Alas, not so.
They can be considered hypoallergenic if we think of the fact that there is no fur to be shed. However, let’s remember that common allergens are also found in the oil secretions of cats’ skin, and these cats have nowhere for those secretions to go.
So depending on the type of cat owner you are, the severity of your allergies and the way you like to interact with your furry, or not-so-furry family members, these guys may or may not be for you.
Let’s take a closer look.
Potentially Hypoallergenic Naked Cats
These little nudey-patoodies are from Russia. This potentially hypoallergenic breed has a hearty build and playful spirit. Known for their stretchy skin, wrinkles and tummy pudge, they certainly leave a lasting impression.
Some kittens are born hairless and others gradually lose their hair over time. Regular bathing, teeth brushing and ear cleaning are required to keep these interesting cats healthy and strong. This pearshaped pinky is a great start to our list of naked cats.
What do you get when you cross an Oriental Shorthair and a Donskoy? A long and slender almost hypoallergenic Peterbald that’s what!
These cats might look the same as the Donskoy, but they have many differences. One of which is their higher than average body temperature; this gives them a higher than average metabolism and immune system. It’s for this reason that they seem to heal quicker from scrapes and scratches than other breeds.
Some varieties have hair and others are born completely hairless. This is a newer breed and still hard to come by, however, for families lucky enough to have one, they do well with children and love field trips. Just don’t forget the sunscreen and cat harness!
This is the only cat that originated in Canada. Pretty cool eh?
Don’t let his alien appearance fool you, he makes a great loving companion. The Sphynx also has a higher than average body temperature which makes it ravenous, so beware leaving food out, this flabby possible fatty will snatch it up.
The Sphynx has a layer of fuzz all over its body and requires weekly baths like its other nude compadres. They are a highly inquisitive breed and you’ll often catch them getting into something. This cat is not afraid to be the center of attention, in fact, they revel in it.
Is a Hypoallergenic Cat Breed for You?
If you suffer from cat allergies but think that they aren’t too severe, a hypoallergenic cat with lower allergy-causing characteristics might just be for you.
Talking to a healthcare professional is a wise move before making a commitment this big. These lovely creatures can be in your life for around 15-20 years depending on the breed, but rehoming cats is such a sad thing.
If you do choose to bring home a hypoallergenic cat, think about adopting a homeless pet. Adopt if you can, shop if you have to, but whatever you do, do it responsibly and you’ll have no regrets!
Don’t forget to check out our helpful post on allergy reducing habits for cat owners.
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