owner holds siberian cat - top on the hypoallergenic cats list

Hypoallergenic Cats: Be My Valentine


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What could be a better Valentine’s Day gift than a snuggle with your glorious feline friend, right? Not necessarily. For those who suffer from cat allergies, having a cat rub his or her forehead across one’s leg can be unnerving (and itchy and sneezy). Unless of course hypoallergenic cats exist? Do they?

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! 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 allergies, particularly to those who know they’re prone, some breeds do offer a level of allergy respite.

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

Here’s why:

What causes cat allergies?

Cat allergies are caused by 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 day grooming, lots of Fel D1 ends up coating their fur.

Cats do produce dander however this is less likely to be the cause of the allergy than saliva. 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.

List of hypoallergenic cats

Why some felines seem to be hypoallergenic cats is often unknown. 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!

What’s clear however is that some cats really do appear to cause fewer allergies.

Here’s a shortlist of five hypoallergenic cats:

1. Siberian cat

Siberian cats are top of the hypoallergenic cats list

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 cat

hypoallergenic cats like this Balinese produce less allergy causing protein

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 stuff. Balinese cats are also known for being low maintenance due to their low level of shedding. Did you know they’re sometimes called a long-haired Siamese cat? (Find out how Siamese kittens change colour with temperature changes; it’s fascinating!)

3. Devon Rex cat

Devon Rex cats are considered to be hypoallergic cats

The elfin-faced Devon Rex is one of the few cat breeds that developed without the help of intentional breeding for breed traits. And he’s also one of the more hypoallergic cats. While the verdict is still out on why the curly-haired puss causes less allergies, if you’re looking to adopt a cat then this may be your match.

4. Russian Blue cat

russian blues cause fewer cat allergies than many other breeds

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. This velvety short-haired cat with a grey-blue coat recently featured in one of our blog articles. Read about Steve the Russian Blue cat and his cat mishaps and adventures.

5. Sphynx cat

Sphynx don't shed and can be bathed

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 likely Fel D1 protein then the hairless Sphynx is great. This feline’s lack of fur also means less of the bothersome protein floating around.

Read about ugly cat breeds (that are mostly cute) to find out more about the Sphynx.

The verdict

While we know no cat is 100% hypoallergic, it’s good to know there are some possible workarounds for those who hanker for a cat whilst donning a handkerchief.

Do you want to bring home a cat but worried it might still cause allergies? Why not ask the adoption center or breeder if you can spend some time visiting the cat. Sometimes without warning, a certain cat or dog simply doesn’t trigger allergies. But 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 this your pet’s no-go zone.
  • Wash your hands after holding your pet. This is just hygienic in every way, especially now with COVID. Also read about preventing coronavirus in dogs and cats if you test positive.
  • 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 allergens floating around.

If you’re wondering, then generally speaking the answer is no, don’t bath your cat. However, read about hairless cat breeds that are the exception to the rule. This may also help them to be your hypoallergenic cats.

Avoid more health issues with pet insurance

Any responsible pet parent – allergies or not – will say their pet’s wellbeing is almost, if not just, as important as their own. Be sure to keep your cat’s health at its optimum with a cat insurance plan. Unhealthy pets tend to develop allergies of their own, which can of course affect you too.

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