Hypoallergenic Cats: Best Cats for Allergies

If you suffer from allergies, having a cat rub its forehead across your leg can be an unnerving (and itchy and sneezy) sensation. Unless, of course, it’s a hypoallergenic cat! In this article, the experts at PD Insurance run through the best cats for allergies.

Strictly speaking, all cats can cause some level of irritation in those with cat allergies. But the good news is some cats are safer than others. That is, they appear to produce fewer allergens.

This can be a godsend for any ‘cat people’ who suffer from cat allergies! So for all you would-be cat mums and cat dads out there, here’s what you need to know.

Are there hypoallergenic cats?

Technically speaking, hypoallergenic cats don’t exist. But don’t despair. While all cats can cause problems for those with cat allergies, some breeds do offer a level of allergy respite.

In other words, it’s a hypoallergenic sliding scale, rather than an on-off switch.

What causes cat allergies?

Cat allergies are, largely, caused by a protein that’s found in cat saliva, skin and urine, called Fel D1. And because cats are so well-presented, spending large portions of their days grooming, lots of Fel D1 ends up coating their fur.

So the fur itself isn’t typically the issue.

Cats do produce dander, however, this is less likely to be the cause of an allergy than saliva. Plus, the Fel D1 in cat saliva can stay in the air for weeks to months, hence you can sneeze or itch even when cats aren’t in the room.

→Related article: Cat and Dog Allergies: Why They Happen and How to Deal with Them!

List of hypoallergenic cats

Why some felines cause fewer reactions in allergy sufferers is not well understood. Perhaps they don’t lick themselves quite so much. Or it may just be down to a diet that regulates protein production. Interestingly, some cats (especially females) produce less of the allergy-causing protein!

Notably, most of the cats on the following list produce less Fel D1 than other breeds.

Here’s a shortlist of five hypoallergenic cats:

1. Siberian

Siberian cats top the list of hypoallergenic cats, despite their long, lush fur. That’s a shocker for those of us who would naturally associate more fur with a higher spread rate of the Fel D1 protein!

For reasons unknown, the Siberian cat appears to produce less of the protein, making it a safer bet for those with allergies.

2. Balinese

This small, sociable cat also appears to get good results with cat allergy sufferers.

Like Siberians, they appear to produce less of the allergy-causing protein. Balinese cats are also known for being low maintenance due to their low level of shedding.

3. Devon Rex

The elfin-faced Devon Rex is one of the few cat breeds that developed without intentional breeding. And they are also one of the more hypoallergic cats.

While the verdict is still out on why this curly-haired kitten causes fewer allergies, if you’re looking to adopt a cat then this may be your match.

4. Russian Blue

While not at the very top of the list of hypoallergenic cats, the sleek Russian Blue cat also produces less of the Fel D1 protein.

5. Sphynx

For many who suffer cat allergies, the Sphynx cat may not top the list of hypoallergenic cats. If, however, you know the root cause of your problems is cat dander, rather than the Fel D1 protein, then the hairless Sphynx is great. This feline’s lack of fur also means there will be less of the bothersome protein floating around your home attached to cat hair.

The verdict

While no cat is 100% hypoallergic, it’s good to know there are some possible workarounds for cat lovers with allergies who hanker for a pet.

Before you adopt a ‘hypoallergenic’ cat, it might pay to see if you can spend some time with the cat first. There are many cases of those with allergies grabbing themself a Siberian cat only to find no respite from itchy eyes, sniffs and sneezes.

Why not ask the adoption centre or breeder if you can spend some time visiting the cat?

You can also take extra precautions with pets at home, for example:

  • Avoid letting pets in your bedroom. Many allergy sufferers feel the effects worse at night, so make your boudoir your pet’s no-go zone.
  • Wash your hands after holding your pet. This is hygienic in every way.
  • Shared grooming. If someone else in your household isn’t allergic to cats, ask them to groom your cat. This may reduce the amount of time your cat spends on self-grooming and help reduce the allergens floating around your home.

And if you’re wondering, generally speaking, don’t bath your cat. However, hairless cat breeds can be the exception to the rule.

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author andrew broadley

About the reviewer of this page

This report was reviewed by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.

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