Are you a cat lover that suffers from allergies? Then you’re most definitely not alone!
According to research, cat allergies affect between 10% – 20% of the world’s population.
But fret not! The feline population is graced by a wide assortment of breeds that produce fewer allergens.
You’ll also find some helpful tips on minimizing allergic reactions to cats, as well as some important things to consider before adopting one.
Let’s begin by looking at the causes of cat allergies.
What Causes Cat Allergies
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not actually the cat fur that causes allergies.
In fact, the true culprits are microscopic proteins that hidden away in cat’s skin cells, saliva and urine.
These tiny offenders are known as Fel d proteins and there are eight versions recognized by the World Health Organisation.
And they’re so light that they can stay suspended in the air for hours, finding their way into your nose, eyes and lungs.
The result is often watery eyes and nasal congestion.
These allergenic proteins cling onto your cat’s fur when they groom themselves.
So when your cat sheds or you pet them, these allergens can spread around your home.
Symptoms of Cat Allergies
- Coughing or Wheezing
- Facial pressure or Pain
- Itchy or Watery eyes
- Shortness of Breath
- Skin Rash or Hives
What Makes a Cat Breed Hypoallergenic?
Cats that shed less fur and dander tend to produce fewer allergens and are often considered hypoallergenic.
These include cat breeds with single undercoats such as the Cornish Rex, as well as those without a coat at all such as the Sphynx.
Bear in mind that no cat is 100% hypoallergenic – it’s still possible to have an allergic reaction given that each person’s allergy is unique to them.
OK, so what cat should you get if you are allergic to cats?
Top Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
Here are 15 hypoallergenic cat breeds that come highly-recommended for allergy sufferers.
The Balinese cat is a medium-sized breed with a striking appearance and playful nature.
Originally derived from the Siamese cat, they have a silky, medium-length coat and signature color points comprising darker colors on the ears, face, paws and tail.
Thanks to their coat, Balinese felines produce significantly less Fel d 1 than many other breeds, thus reducing the risk of allergic reactions.
Their silky coat won’t mat or tangle easily due to the absence of a dense undercoat. So brushing once or twice a week should be enough to minimize shredding.
Bengal cats are like the living embodiment of the word “wild”. Picture a mini leopard lounging on your couch, and you’ve got a Bengal.
They’re renowned for their strikingly beautiful coat that screams ‘jungle chic’. Happily, they’re entirely domesticated and wonderfully affectionate.
In fact, despite their fearsome ancestors, Bengal cats are a low-maintenance, high-reward breed
Like all hypoallergenic cat breeds, they produce fewer allergenic proteins, making them an ideal choice for people with mild to moderate allergies.
The short, plush coat is more like a pelt. Although quite dense, it lies close to the body which means that shedding is reduced.
A quick brush once a week should be enough to keep the Bengals’ coat shiny while reducing any loose hair and dander.
The Burmese breed is a solid little powerhouse of a cat, wrapped in a silky, short coat that comes in a variety of beautiful, warm colors.
Their eyes, large, expressive and round, are often a captivating gold color.
Reduced Fel D 1 production levels mean that people with mild to moderate allergies should be able to coexist more comfortably with Burmese.
Their short, fine coat doesn’t shed much and is a very easy to care for. A gentle brush once a week should be enough to remove any dander or fur.
Colorpoint Shorthairs are the stunning cousins of the Siamese breed.
They have the same sleek bodies, expressive almond-shaped eyes and a pointed pattern coat.
They also share the same playful and curious natures of their illustrious relatives.
However, the color variety is actually more diverse than the traditional Siamese palette.
Sneezes and sniffles should be minimized thanks to the reduced production of the Fel D 1 protein.
The Colorpoint Shorthair, with its short, fine coat, is about as low-maintenance as you can get.
Brushing once a week should keep their coats looking glossy and healthy while removing any loose hairs that might carry allergens.
The Cornish Rex looks like its stepped straight out of a whimsical cartoon fairytale.
With its large, bat-like ears, high-arched back and slender body this cat is truly one of a kind.
Despite its unusual, almost otherworldly appearance, the Cornish Rex is a warm-hearted, playful, and affectionate breed.
Instead of the usual three layers of fur most cats have, Cornish Rex cats have just undercoat (aka down hair). So this makes them less likely to shed dander.
Their unique coat is also easy to maintain – a once-weekly brushing session should suffice!
With its pixie-like face and large ears, the Devon Rex also seems to be plucked out of some magical fable.
This breed is renowned for its slender body and high cheekbones as well as a loyal, affectionate temperament.
It’s often dubbed “the pixie of the cat fancy.”
In terms of hypoallergenic qualities, Devon Rex cats have a unique coat that works in their favour.
Like the Cornish Rex, the Devon has fewer hair layers – typically just a single layer of soft, curly fur. This means they shed less dander and require less maintenance.
Again, a weekly brushing session is generally enough to keep their fur in top shape, while keeping allergens out of the air.
The Javanese cat is a picture of grace and elegance.
Imagine a slender, medium-sized feline, draped in a medium-length, silky coat that comes in a range of striking colors and patterns.
Their blue, almond-shaped eyes are full of life and curiosity.
Don’t let the name fool you, though – these cats are not from Java but are instead a variant of the Colorpoint Shorthair.
When it comes to hypoallergenic properties, the Javanese are considered a better choice for allergy sufferers.
They produce less of the Fel d 1 protein and have a single-layer coat that sheds less dander.
The Javanese’s single-layer, medium-length coat is relatively low-maintenance.
A brush through their coat once or twice a week will keep it looking sleek and shiny while reducing any loose hairs and dander.
The LaPerm is known for its soft, springy curls that can range from tight ringlets to long, wavy locks.
Their expressive eyes and tufted ears give them an endearing, somewhat mischievous look.
They’re playful and affectionate which makes them ideal as family cats.
Laperms don’t shed as much as other breeds and thus don’t produce as much of the dread Fed d 1 protein.
Despite their curly coats, LaPerms are relatively low maintenance.
Their fur doesn’t mat easily, so a weekly brush should be enough to keep their curls looking their best and the dander to a minimum.
Friendly and sociable, the Ocicat features a striking spotted coat and athletic build.
The coat comes in various shades and is adorned with beautiful spots that are highly-reminiscent of wild cats such as the ocelot or leopard.
It’s also short and satiny, shedding less than many other breeds, which of course can mean fewer allergens floating about in the environment.
Given the sleek composition of the Ocicat’s coat, a weekly brushing routine should be enough to remove dander and loose fur.
The Oriental Shorthair is a thing of beauty, boasting a sleek, svelte body, wedge-shaped head and oversized ears
The breed boasts a diverse range of coat colors and patterns – over 300, to be precise.
Their coat is also short and fine. As far as personality goes, the Oriental Shorthair is as vibrant as its appearance.
They’re known to be curious, intelligent and incredibly sociable.
Like all the other hypoallergenic cats listed on this page, the Oriental Shorthair is a low-maintenance breed.
Their short, fine coat only needs a weekly brush to stay shiny, healthy and free of dander.
The Peterbald is the epitome of feline elegance and is recognized by its sleek, muscular body, large bat-like ears and almond-shaped eyes.
Peterbalds have a variety of coat types, ranging from completely bald to a short, velour-like coat.
They have an uncanny knack for getting along with just about everyone (including other pets) and are affectionate by nature.
The Peterbald is often touted as a good choice for people with allergies, particularly those with little to no hair, simply because they have less fur to shed.
The Peterbald is as low-maintenance as they come, especially if they’re hairless.
A weekly wipe-down with a damp cloth can help to remove any oils or dust from their skin.
For those with some sort of coat a gentle weekly brush through should suffice.
The Russian Blue is another elegant breed with a plush, blue-gray coat, striking green eyes and a somewhat regal disposition.
They tend to have sweet and gentle natures and often form deep bonds with their favourite human parents.
Russian Blues are often favoured by allergy sufferers due to a reduced production of Fel d 1.
This, combined with their dense double coat that traps allergens, can make them more tolerable for individuals with mild to moderate cat allergies.
The Russian Blue’s dense double coat requires a bit of upkeep to stay in top shape.
Although a weekly brush is fine to keep the coat shiny and healthy, twice-weekly is more advisable for keeping loose hairs and dander at minimum.
The Siamese is one of the most recognizable cat breeds, known for its striking color points, deep blue almond-shaped eyes and sleek, short coat.
These cats are the epitome of elegance, sporting a svelte, muscular body and wedge-shaped head.
But Siamese cats are not just eye candy – they’re known for their intelligence and playful nature.
They also have a penchant for “talking” to their owners with a distinct, melodious voice.
Siamese cats tend to produce less of the Fel d protein – their short coat sheds less dander as well, so they’re more tolerable for individuals with allergies.
When it comes to grooming, the Siamese is fairly low maintenance. Their short, sleek coat requires minimal grooming
Once again, a weekly brush should be enough to minimize any loose hairs that may carry allergens.
The Siberian cat is a majestic breed, hailing from the snowy landscapes of Russia.
Known for their luxurious triple coat, full ruff and tufted ears, Siberians are built for surviving chilly climates.
But their appearance isn’t their only impressive quality.
Siberians are famous for their playful, adventurous spirit and their remarkably friendly disposition, making them excellent companions.
The Siberian’s thick, water-repellent coat does require some maintenance to keep it in top condition.
Weekly brushing should be enough to keep the tangles at bay while promoting a shiny appearance.
With that said, during the shedding seasons in spring and fall, you may need to brush them more frequently to manage the extra loose fur.
The Sphynx cat, with its hairless body, large lemon-shaped eyes, and pronounced cheekbones, is a breed that often prompts a double-take.
Although rather unusual in appearance, Sphynx cats are known for their extroverted, affectionate nature.
What’s more, they’re considered true ‘people’ cats and love nothing more than being the center of attention.
Sphynx cats are well-suited to allergy sufferers because they lack a fur coat, so there’s nowhere for common allergens like dander to hide.
You might think the Sphynx’s lack of fur means they require no grooming. In fact, the opposite is true.
Sphynx cats need regular baths to remove the oils that their skin produces, which would normally be absorbed by fur in other breeds.
Without regular baths, this oil can build up and lead to skin problems.
Adopting a Hypoallergenic Cat
We should again point out that no cat is 100% hypoallergenic. There’s no such thing as an allergy free cat unfortunately!
But the breeds mentioned above are far less likely to trigger a sneezing fit, or any other allergic flare-up for that matter.
With that said, you should spend time with your chosen cat before adopting.
After all, everybody reacts differently to different breeds and even individual cats.
So spend time with a hypoallergenic cat before you adopt, paying careful attention to your body reacts.
Interact with the cat and spend as much time as you can. Think of it as a test dive.
But instead of checking the car’s performance, you’re checking for sneezes, itchy eyes or a runny nose.
Where to Adopt Hypoallergenic Cats
In terms of finding a hypoallergenic cat, you’ve got a number of options.
If you’re looking for a specific breed of hypoallergenic cat, breeders are a great place to start.
Reputable ones will take great care to ensure that they’re cats are healthy and happy.
Be sure to conduct thorough research and choose a breeder that prioritizes the health and well-being of their cats.
Rescue Organizations and Shelters
Although slightly more challenging, finding a hypoallergenic cat in a shelters or rescue organizations is certainly not impossible.
Shelters house a diverse range of cats looking for their forever home. So it’s possible that you might find a hypoallergenic breed among them.
Plus, adopting a cat from a shelter means you’re giving a loving home to a cat in need.
Online Pet Adoption Platforms
These platforms compile available cats from various shelters and rescue organizations, making it easier for you to find a specific breed in your area.
Hypoallergenic Cat Networks
There are several online communities and networks dedicated to hypoallergenic cats.
These platforms can provide valuable information, tips, and sometimes even adoption opportunities.
How to Reduce Allergens in Your Home
As well as regular grooming, there are a number of things that can help to alleviate cat allergies further. Here’s a run-down.
Clean Your Home Regularly
Regular home cleaning is really important for addressing cat allergies.
The logic is simple: allergens come from your cat’s dander, saliva, and urine which can lurk in the environment as well as your cat’s fur.
So by maintaining a clean home, you’re effectively reducing the number of allergens that could trigger your allergy symptoms.
Vacuuming is by far the most effective method. In fact, it’s probably gong to be your best friend in the battle against cat allergies.
A high-quality vacuum with a HEPA filter can work wonders in sucking up the dander and fur that has settled into your carpets, rugs and upholstery.
Vacuuming at least once a week is a must. But if your allergies are severe, you might want to consider doing it more frequently.
Clean Your Cat’s Bedding
Next on the list for cleaning are your cat’s belongings including bedding, blankets toys and the litter box.
All of these are potential sources of allergens. Wash them regularly in hot water to kill any clinging allergens.
Opt for a litter that produces less dust and clean the box frequently to keep those allergens at bay as well.
Buy an Air Purifier
Allergens are so light that they remain suspended in the air which makes them easy to inhale.
This is where air purifiers can be especially useful. These devices actively remove allergens from the air, releasing clean, fresh air back into the room.
The best ones will include a HEPA filter – these are capable of removing up to 99.97% of particles in the air, some as small as 0.3 microns.
This can really reduced the amount of dander floating about, thus helping to alleviate allergy symptoms.
Remember that while air purifiers are a great tool, they should be used alongside regular cleaning to be truly effective.
Hopefully, you’ll have gained some valuable insights regarding hypoallergenic cat breeds.
The ones mentioned above are all very well-suited to allergy sufferers.
If you’re thinking of adopting one, remember that it’s not just about avoiding allergic reactions.
It’s also really important to find a cat that fits your lifestyle and personality.
So, take your time, do your research, and soon you’ll find your dream companion that fills your home with joy but also lets you breathe easier!
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