Is there such a thing as an allergy-friendly cat or is that a myth? We made a list of the most suitable cats for allergic people.
Hypoallergenic cats – Do they exist?
It might seem hopeless for an allergic person to become a cat owner; however, some breeds cause fewer allergic reactions. With the right cat, even an allergic person could become a cat owner. We have listed a few suitable breeds below, alongside some essential information.
It is important to know there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat. However, there are still some cat breeds that allergic people share a household with, as they provoke less allergenic reactions compared to other breeds.
All allergic people react differently. Therefore, it is important to familiarise yourself with what triggers your allergies. In cats, the most common provocateur of allergies is a protein called 'Fel d 1'. The molecule is in the cat's saliva, skin, dander and in their urine. Remember that the cat spread its saliva as a part of a hygiene ritual and got nothing to do with their hair strains. It is in their fur because of their saliva.
Keep in mind that the only way to find out if a cat breed is suitable for your allergy is through personal experience. Find and spend time with the kind of cat you are contemplating getting before deciding.
Hypoallergenic cats | 1. Siberian
The Siberian cat has a longhaired, thick and fluffy coat, made to embrace it for some of the most extreme weather conditions on earth. It has an athletic build made for hunting in scarce conditions, and amongst other cats, it can be a mean one. However, towards its owners, it's a communicative and affectionate creature that goes well with people of all ages.
This breed is also one of the few breeds to be recognised scientifically as closer to 'allergy-friendly. The protein 'Fel d 1' produced by the Siberian mutates into a version causing fewer allergic reactions. Though, it is not entirely hypoallergenic, so make sure to meet one before getting one.
- Read more about the Siberian breed here
Hypoallergenic cats | 2. Neva Masquerade
The Neva Masquerade is a subtype of the Siberian breed, meaning they share many genetic qualities. The Neva's production of the protein 'Fel d 1', is similar to the Siberians'. It is a less provocative allergen. Therefore this breed could also be a potential candidate for allergic people.
The Neva Masquerade is a close relative to the Siberian, meaning they share many genetic qualities and personality traits. It is energetic and has a strong need for social bonding. It is a docile and talkative breed that loves to be around its owners.
- Read more about the Neva Masquerade here
3. Russian Blue
The Russian Blue stands close to its owners but dislike strangers. It appears to be a little shy as it tends to keep for itself when strangers come to visit, but they are affectionate and love to play silly games behind closed curtains. They often hide around corners before they charge towards their owner in a playful attempt to hunt them down. The breed also produces a less allergy-provocative version of the protein 'Fel d 1'. It can therefore count as one of the more allergy-friendly breeds. The natural reclusiveness of the cat might also be a good option for allergic individuals who can't have a cat in their face all the time.
- Read more about the Russian Blue here
Also known as the hairless cat. A common misassumption about the Sphynx is that its hairlessness makes it allergy-friendly. That is not true. Like all other cats, the Sphynx produces the protein 'Fel d 1', which is the most common allergen deriving from cats. Whether or not they have fewer allergy provoking molecules need more scientific research.
Still, typically, allergic owners report that they react less to the hairless cat. Keep in mind; the allergen is found in their saliva, urine, anal glands and often on their body due to self-grooming. The same goes for this cat, but they don't groom themselves because they don't have any hair. They also produce natural oils as if they have fur, which gets stuck to their skin instead. The skin can feel somewhat greasy, which means they will need bathing more often. Regular bathing can help reduce the allergen.
- Read more about the Sphynx here
5. Oriental Shorthair and longhair
The Oriental cat is almost identical to the Siamese cat. There are a few differences in their facial structure. Other than that, the Oriental comes in various colours, as opposed to, the Siamese which only comes in a few selected colours. Whether or not the breed is allergy-friendly still needs scientific documentation. Allergic owners tend to report that they react less to breeds related to the Siamese.
The Oriental breeds are intelligent cats with a high energy drive and social antennas on the size of their huge ears. They are demanding but affectionate and will seek to be the centre of attention. The only problem here is their need for physical contact, which can be overwhelming for some allergic people. However, the Oriental is a cat with lots of personality and can be a delight to share a household with if the circumstances are right.
- Read more about the Oriental here
Allergic owners report the Siamese to be less provocative of such reactions. However, scientific research is needed to clarify to what extent they are allergy-friendly.
The Siamese is a talkative and social cat with lots of need for attention. It is intelligent and docile, which means they love challenges. However, they need to be around someone all the time, or else, if left in solidarity for too long, they will become depressed and lonely. If that happens, it might become restless and destructive.
The Siamese does not require much maintenance. Other than an occasional brushing and a bath, aside from the usual hygienic measures, they are easy to care for.
- Read more about the Siamese here