If you are a cat-loving allergy sufferer, these hypoallergenic cat breeds might be the fix. It sounds like an impossible combination, but there is hope. People living with cat allergies may be able to tolerate certain hypoallergenic cats.
These 10 breeds are the best choices for folks with cat allergies because they either have low levels of allergy-producing proteins, are very low-shedders, or have almost no hair at all. You might even be able to say "Goodbye" to sneezing and "Hello" to your new best friend.
Can "Hypoallergenic" Cats Really Help?
While hypoallergenic cat breeds are not completely allergen-free, they typically produce lower amounts of the Fel d-1 proteins that cause allergic reactions. Also, each breed is thought to be better for allergy suffers for different reasons. Some shed less Fel d-1 protein, while others don't have much hair, or their special coat helps prevent allergic reactions. Every person is different, and you may tolerate these cats better than others.
Remember, no cat is completely non-allergenic. Each cat is also an individual, so it's possible you could be allergic to one Bengal cat, for example, and not allergic to another.
1. The Sphynx
The Sphynx is a nearly hairless breed of cat, although some of these cats have a fine down covering their body. Since this breed has so little hair, it doesn't shed much, nor does it have a lot of dander. These are both materials that the Fel d-1 proteins stick to, so the Sphynx may not cause discomfort for allergy sufferers.
Due to their lack of hair, the Sphynx appears to have multiple wrinkles covering their bodies; people usually either love the way these cats look or they think they are the ugliest cat ever. We'll let you decide which camp you fall into! In addition to being hypoallergenic, the Sphynx is also friendly and a good choice for families.
2. The Devon Rex
The Devon Rex is hypoallergenic due to its curled coat. With one of these cats, there's less shedding and, therefore, fewer allergens floating around your home. The Devon Rex is a people-oriented cat who likes to snuggle. If you don't like cats that jump up on furniture and counters, you may want to look for another breed because the Devon Rex likes to jump.
3. The Cornish Rex
Even though they look similar, the Cornish Rex is not related to the Devon Rex. This cute breed does have a fine coat of curly hair, but the Cornish Rex has a much leaner, more elongated body profile compared to the Devon. Due to the fineness of the hair, it sheds very little. The Cornish Rex is an active, playful breed. It retains its kitten-like playfulness for a lifetime.
4. The Siberian
The Siberian is a long-haired cat, but it has been found to have only a fraction of the Fel d-1 that other cats have. Due to the lack of this allergen in their body, the Siberian is often praised as the best cat for allergy sufferers despite their long hair. Siberians are friendly and dog-like; they often follow their owners around the house and meet them at the door after they have been gone. This breed is also very loyal, playful, and friendly.
5. The Balinese
The Balinese is another long-haired breed that produces low levels of Fel d-1, so they're a good pet cat for people with allergies. Because the protein is present in a cat's saliva, it's best to keep your Balinese from licking you to keep your allergies to a minimum. However, this can be tricky because this breed is incredibly affectionate and social. They have a similar personality to the Siamese.
6. The Bengal
The Bengal is different from most other low-allergen cat breeds in that they have a pelt-like coat. This is due to the fact that they're a hybrid breed created by crossing an Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic housecat. Their pelt doesn't shed much, which can be great if you have allergies. However, these cats are incredibly energetic and require a lot of attention, so do not get one if you're looking for a hypoallergenic lap cat.
Be sure to spend some time around a specific breed before bringing them home to ensure no allergies are triggered.
7. The Russian Blue
They might not look like a hypoallergenic cat, but the Russian Blue is another good choice for allergy sufferers. Like the rest, this breed doesn't possess as much Fel d1 as other cats, though they do shed. With the Russian Blue, you will need to take precautions to manage allergens on your cat and in your home. But in return, you can enjoy a calm and easy-going companion in the Russian Blue.
8. The LaPerm
The LaPerm is a curly cutie who sheds minimally, thanks to their wavy fur. Not to mention, the texture gives this breed a very distinct and quirky appearance. The hair of the LaPerm won't trigger allergies as readily as other cat breeds, so there's a good chance you can live comfortably with one. LaPerms are quiet and curious cats who make excellent pets for the right household.
9. The Burmese
The Burmese is a very allergy-friendly breed, given that they are low-shedders. They have very short, silky hair that, fortunately, remains on the cat rather than making its way into your eyes and nostrils. Along with their stunning appearance, the Burmese is a loyal and intelligent companion.
Want an allergy-friendly cat that will stay by your side for decades? The Burmese is the breed with the longest lifespan at an impressive 18 to 25 years on average.
10. The Javanese
Although they're not a terribly popular or widely known breed, the Javanese is a good option for people who love cats but have allergies. Why? They also appear on the list of cats with low Fel d-1 in their saliva and skin. The Javanese is a cross between the Balinese (another allergy-friendly breed!) and the Colorpoint Shorthair, so you'll get a combination of both their personalities.
Hypoallergenic Vs. Non-Allergenic Cat Breeds
It is important to understand the differences in the words "Hypoallergenic" and "Non-allergenic." Hypoallergenic just means that the cat is less likely to cause allergic reactions in most people. There is no such thing as a cat that will never cause an allergy in anyone. Therefore, there is no such thing as a non-allergenic cat.
Certain cats are thought to create fewer cases of sneezing, wheezing, and itching in their people than other breeds. While you may think that fur is what causes your allergy, this is not the case. The protein Fel d-1 is found both in the saliva and the sebaceous glands (oil-secreting glands in the skin) of cats.
When cats groom themselves, the Fel d-1 attaches to the hair, and the fur can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people. The allergen is spread through:
- Airborne molecules
- Having a cat lick you
Some hypoallergenic cat breeds actually have thick, fluffy fur, but they just don't produce as much of the Fel d-1 protein as other cats. Other hypoallergenic cats shed less than average cats, so not as much of the allergen is spread around. There are a wide variety of factors that affect how you'll react, and your sensitivity plays a roll, too.
Spend Some Time with a Hypoallergenic Cat
When choosing a hypoallergenic cat, make sure you spend some time with the animal before you take it home. Having a pet is a lifelong commitment, and it is better to find out that you don't like their temperament or are allergic to the cat before they come home with you. With so many different breeds to choose from, you have a good chance of finding cat who is a good fit for your health needs, family, and lifestyle.