Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds: The Less Fel D1, the More Tolerable Your Cat Allergies Might Be
Cats known to trigger less allergic reactions
An estimated 10% of people have an allergy to cats or other pets. Furthermore, it was found that people are more likely to be allergic to a cat than dogs. For those suffering from a cat allergy, yet still long to have a feline companion, some hypoallergenic cat breeds might be worth considering.
What causes peoples’ allergies to cats?
It is often mistaken that peoples’ allergies to cats are triggered by cats’ fur. Actually, what causes allergic reactions are the proteins in the saliva, urine, and dander of a cat. Such proteins are more commonly known as Fel D1. Each cat breed produces a different amount of Fel D1 or other cat allergens. As such, allergic reactions to a particular cat may be better or worse when compared to other breeds.
Two points worth noting
There is no known cat breed that is non-allergenic
Before any allergy sufferer gets their hopes high, it should be noted that “hypoallergenic” doesn’t mean non-allergenic. No cat breed is non-allergenic. The cat breeds we’ll discuss are termed “hypoallergenic” because they are “low-allergen.” This means that they produce less allergens compared to other cat breeds.
Adopt, don’t shop
We also want to note that we strongly discourage purchasing cats of any kind- hypoallergenic or not- from breeders. We hope that those seeking hypoallergenic cat breeds prioritize adopting cats at their local shelter[s], first and foremost. Please use resources like PetFinder to seek out hypoallergenic cat breeds that are awaiting forever homes like yours.
Hypoallergenic cat breeds
Although the Balinese is furry and is often called as “long-haired Siamese,” it produces less Fel D1 protein. Similar to the Siamese, it’s sweet and highly social. You would love to have one around.
Being a “short hair,” the Oriental Shorthair does not require much maintenance. However, to keep its allergen levels low, it’s still suggested that you groom them regularly.
Oriental Shorthair cats are active and natural entertainers. They’re known to invite themselves to whatever you’re doing. If you’re bored, they’ll help you lighten up and feel energized.
The Javanese is another cat breed that produces minimal allergens because they have less fur. They only have a medium-long single coat.
Javanese cats are intelligent, boasting exceptional communication skills. They’re also active and playful.
Because Devon Rex cats have shorter hair, they produce less allergens. They’re known for their unique look, too: satellite-dish ears, mischievous eyes, and an overall ethereal appearance. This cat breed is very affectionate and cuddly.
Another Rex breed, the Cornish Rex’s fur is also short and sparse. However, Cornish Rex cats typically need more grooming to lessen the oil build-up on their skin.
When it comes to personality, the Cornish Rex is known to be playful, active, very friendly, and loving to their owners. They make a great lap warmer in the wintertime.
Perhaps the most notorious hypoallergenic cat is the Sphynx. Since Sphynx cats are hairless, they’re ofen recognized as best for those who are sensitive to cat dander. However, Sphynx cats still require regular maintenance, especially are their large ears.
Sphynx cats’ personalities, are known to be similar to that of dogs. They are very lively, active, devoted, and loyal.
Similar to the Balinese, the Siberian is covered by a long coat, but still considered hypoallergenic because they produce fewer Fel D1 in their saliva. Reportedly, around 75% of those with cat allergy do not show any reaction to Siberians.
Siberians are affectionate, intelligent, and playful, especially around water.
If you are an allergy sufferer who adopts a hypoallergenic cat, we do not encourage that you become lax about your allergy. After all, these cats still release allergens.
To weaken the amount of Fel D1 exposure these cats emit, we recommend regular bathing and brushing of feline companions. We also encourage washing toys and bedding at least once every week.