Owning a cat can be challenging for those who have allergies. Fortunately, you can sidestep that problem if you find the right cat. Hypoallergenic cat breeds usually cause little or no allergic reaction and could be just what you’re looking for.
We’ll share the most popular hypoallergenic cat breeds, as well as some of the factors that lead to cat allergies and what you can do about them.
What Sets off Those Allergies?
Research shows that the main culprit is a protein known as Fel d 1 found in a cat’s saliva.
So even though you might think the biggest problem is cat fur, the source is their saliva. As such, when cats lick their fur, the protein becomes airborne and wreaks havoc with your allergies.
Fortunately, hypoallergenic cat breeds produce less protein, so they’re safer for allergy sufferers.
Other substances that cause allergies are cat dander and urine. These allergens can also land on surfaces in a house and stick around for months.
All in all, hypoallergenic cat breeds are a much safer option for allergy suffers. And in addition to breed, several other factors affect the amount of allergen produced by a cat:
- Kittens tend to generate less allergens than adult cats.
- Female cats tend to produce less allergen than their male counterparts.
- Neutered male cats produce less allergen than those that haven’t been fixed.
- Inexplicably, light-colored cats produce less allergen than darker ones.
Important Steps Before Getting Your Hypoallergenic Cat
Not all hypoallergenic cat breeds are created equally. In addition, if you have sensitive allergies, a particular breed might not suit you.
Before you bring a cat home, it’s recommended that you get to know them first.
You could visit them in a shelter or at the breeder’s location and spend at least an hour together. That way, you give your allergies some time to act up, and you also find out what it’s like to be around that breed.
Once you’re satisfied that your allergies are in check, you can prepare to bring your new cat home.
10 Best Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
Finally, the good stuff you’ve been waiting for. These are 10 of the best hypoallergenic cat breeds that could be your next furry roommate.
Balinese cats would seem like an unlikely member of this list with medium-length coats. Fortunately, they shed little fur and produce less Fel d 1 protein than other cats.
If you choose a Balinese cat, you’ll get a furry friend that’s very in tune with your moods and likes being social. They’re highly intelligent animals that get along with humans and animals alike.
2. Oriental Shorthair
As the name suggests, the Oriental Shorthair doesn’t have much fur. These fun companions come in various colors though black, white, and chestnut tend to be the most popular.
With these cats, you can expect a high level of curiosity and quickly changing moods. They have no problem being the center of attention.
These cats also have a medium-length coat that doesn’t shed easily. This is why they’re categorized as a hypoallergenic breed.
The Javanese come in various colors and are graceful, athletic cats.
They’re a great choice if you’re looking for a playful, affectionate companion that’s easy to train.
4. Devon Rex
The Devon Rex has both shorter and less fur than other cat breeds. As a result, you might not have to groom them as often but pay attention to the build-up of wax in their ears.
These cats are very affectionate, and since they shed less, they might be one of the few cats you’ll allow into bed with you.
5. Cornish Rex
This Rex cat has a bit more fur than the Devon Rex but still sheds less than other cats. However, they’re prone to a build-up of oil on their skin, so you’ll need to watch out for that.
Along with being affectionate, they’re very agile and adventurous cats. So make sure you’re prepared to give them a lot of attention.
The Sphynx is probably the most known of the hypoallergenic cat breeds. While it’s generally hairless, you still have to bathe them regularly to remove the accumulation of oil on their skin.
They’re a playful breed known for being very active and can be a handful if they feel like it.
Similar to the Balinese cats, Siberians have long coats. Their hypoallergenic status comes from having much less Fel D1 protein in their saliva than the average cat.
With a Siberian, you’ll have an affectionate companion that has an odd love for playing in the water.
8. Russian Blue
Though this breed has a thick coat, they don’t produce as many allergens as the average cat. Still, grooming will be essential.
The Russian Blue likes to play but is just as comfortable spending time alone. They might choose a favorite human, but they get along with everyone.
9. Colorpoint Shorthair
Another shorthair, this colorful cat has less fur than your average cat. That means less shedding and fewer allergic reactions.
These affectionate cats are extroverts who love making friends and spending time with their owners.
Ocicats make the list because of their short, soft fur. As a result, you won’t have problems with excessive shedding.
Though their spots look wild, Ocicats are loving and like being around their owners. However, they don’t like being left alone, so be prepared to give them lots of attention.
Other Factors That Should Help with Your Allergies
Even though hypoallergenic cat breeds won’t trigger your allergies as much as other cats, there are still a few areas you’ll need to pay attention to when you own one.
- Chew Toys – Toys that will collect your cat’s saliva can accumulate a build-up of the same protein you’re trying to avoid. You should make sure to wash them as often as possible.
- Beds and Bedding – Much like the chew toys, these items will collect your cat’s hair and saliva. You can keep things under control by washing them regularly. If you think it might be difficult to keep washing them in a timely manner, however, consider getting an extra bed and bedding separate from your cat.
- Grooming – Just because you’ve chosen your cat from a hypoallergenic breed, it doesn’t mean you’re excused from grooming. Research what your cat needs so you can address them properly.
The Challenge with Cat Allergens
As mentioned before, what makes cat allergens challenging to fight is that they spread from the cat’s saliva, skin and urine onto nearly every home surface and can linger for months, even after the cat has been removed from the environment.
Getting rid of these pesky particles can be a serious challenge, even for the cleanliest of homeowners.
For those with severe allergic reactions, this can be a serious issue. In addition, something like a scratch or lick can set off a skin reaction and cause itchiness, welts, and swelling on the skin.
The hypoallergenic cat breeds on this list naturally create fewer allergens than others.
However, they still produce a small amount, which can cause various symptoms depending on the person.
Choose one of the top hypoallergenic cat breeds and take the precautionary steps outlined above to limit potential reactions.
What are the Symptoms of Cat Allergies?
Depending on certain variables in an individual’s health, such as a preexisting condition of asthma, cat allergies can be mild or critical to one’s life.
Each person’s experience with cat allergies may be a little different. Some people, for example, have allergy symptoms with every cat encounter, while others find that their symptoms only flare up around particular cats.
But, most people suffering from cat allergies report some degree of the following symptoms:
- Watering eyes
- Runny nose
- Swelling or welts on the skin
What You Can Do to Keep Your Cat Allergies at Bay?
For some people, the severity of their allergic reaction makes it impossible to be around any cats. But for many, hypoallergenic cat breeds make it possible to own a furry feline with little to no reaction.
If you find you still have some reaction to hypoallergenic cat breeds, the following steps can help you feel better.
- Take an antihistamine to decrease the severity of your symptoms – speak to your doctor to ask about a recommended option.
- Get a friend or a family member who doesn’t suffer from cat allergies to periodically wipe the cat down with a wet towel. This will remove some of the allergens directly from the cat’s coat.
- Invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and use it often throughout your living area.
- Limit your cat’s access to your bedroom.
Final Thoughts on Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
If you’re a cat lover with allergies, hypoallergenic cat breeds are the answer to your problem.
With these breeds, you can still enjoy the companionship of a furry feline without the allergy attacks induced by other cats.
Just make sure you research a cat carefully and spend time with them before making your choice to ensure they’re the right fit.