So, you want a cat, but you or someone in your family is allergic and you want to know which cats are hypoallergenic? The truth is, no cat is going to be truly, 100% hypoallergenic. Meaning, that they are going to always have some of the potential irritant on them and in the air. The good news though, is there are cat breeds, much like there are dog breeds, who are far more allergy friendly than others, even if it isn't a complete fix, it's often enough that people with mild to moderate allergies can still have the kitty of their dreams. Before we leap into the cats, lets briefly talk about what causes these allergic reactions.
What Causes Cat Allergies?
It would seem that the most common allergy people face when dealing with cats stems from something in their saliva called Fel d 1, which, naturally when they lick and clean themselves transfers onto their fur, it essentially dries and for our purposes here, becomes a form of dander. So, when you pet them, when they shed, or just generally hang out, it goes places and you, dear allergy sufferer, come into contact with this.
Why is this important to know? Well, when picking out the cat breed that's right for you, it's good to know the potential cause of your problem, so you can make more informed decisions. Which brings us onto our first cat breed.
Siberian's are an unexpected first on this list! They have long, fluffy, lovely fur and a playful, bold personality type that is sure to be loved. Oh, and they apparently produce less Fel d 1 than other cats, making them a good choice for people with pet allergies. Now, if given the opportunity, I'd try hanging out around them for a little while first, see how you react, if at all to them before making the leap. But, I think that can really be said about any potential breed you are looking to get.
An important thing to note with any long haired cat is that grooming and brushing really is mandatory, especially as they get a bit older and things get away from them a bit more easily. No one likes matted fur, so looking into cat grooming supplies early and being prepared is really for the best.
Here we go from the luscious curls of the Siberian to the cute, short and soft fur of the Devon Rex! With very little to shed, this kitty really is a breeze to groom. It's considered one of the most hypoallergenic (as much as any cat can be) cat breeds because of this, since they don't spread allergens as readily as other furry felines. These cats tend to be quite lively and friendly, really enjoying human interaction and love.
They make really good shoulder cats and will happily lounge there with you while you work!
Much like the Siberian, Russian Blue's are said to produce less Fel d 1 making them a good choice for people allergic to it. Plus, they have a plush double coat of fur, making them extra soft to the touch. Russian Blue's are a quiet, reserved kind of cat. They tend to be shy of strangers, but loving towards their family, especially that one person they deem as "the absolute bestest thing ever".
With how shy these lovely fluffballs can be around new people, they really like having places to hide until they decide it's okay to come out. Though, they will find a place to hunker down anyway, it would be really nice gesture to try and get them a safe, pretty cubby like a felted cat cave.
Bengal's have such short, fine hair, and their shedding is minimal. Perhaps not as minimal as the Devon Rex, but you'll still find yourself without to many grooming worries. Because they don't shed the way some other cats do, you'll have less allergens floating around to worry about.
Something to remember with Bengal's though, is they have a lot of energy. They are very intelligent and have an energy level to match, so you really want to have things around to keep them busy! Some people have taken to getting cat sized "hamster wheels" for their Bengals. They also like being as high up as possible, so a nice tall cat tree for them to climb would be a good thing to look into!
These cats take "short hair" even more seriously than the Devon Rex in that... Well, they are hairless cats. Cute little gremlins, aren't they? They are definitely a popular choice amongst allergy sufferers because they don't have hair to shed or trap in other allergens, such as Fel d 1 or pet dander. Now, that's not to say that the Fel d 1 can't be present, but it's likely to be significantly less so than with many other cats.
These little guys love to snuggle and are quite lively felines. They love to be the center of attention and are even a popular as a therapy cat (cats who go into places like hospitals and sit with sick people, children especially, to help them feel better) because of it. Since they don't have any hair though, they might get chilly a bit more easily, so when they can't be under the covers with you, it might we worth getting them a sweater.
The Balinese is a variety of Siamese cat, in case you couldn't already tell. These lovely long-haired felines happen to produce less of the fel d 1 protein as well, making them another potential choice. They are going to shed though, and more than some of the other cats on the list, so if the dander is more your problem, these guys might not be optimal.
Oriental Shorthairs are another member of the Siamese family and they have short, fine fur, making their grooming a cinch and meaning they shed less, making them a good candidate for people with allergies. An added plus is that they kind of look like fuzzy little house elves, just look at those ears!
So, to answer the question of which cats are hypoallergenic... Well, none are 100%, but there are seven cat breeds listed here that come close, or as close as you're going to get. Some additional good news for allergy sufferers is that there is more that you can do, outside of finding the right hypoallergenic pet for you.
You can allergy proof your house, making it just that much harder for those pesky allergens to stick around. I'll be going into how to do that in a future post, so be sure to check back next week for that!