Do you want a cat but you or one of your loved ones is allergic? It’s estimated that about 10% of the population is allergic to cats. But what exactly are you allergic to?1
There’s a protein in cats’ saliva called Fel d 1 that causes allergic reactions in many humans.1 Because they lick themselves to groom, this protein is all over cat’s bodies. When cats shed their fur, they’re leaving protein-soaked hairs around the house. Grooming your cat regularly may reduce the dander they shed, but won’t make them completely hypoallergenic.
There’s no such thing as an allergen-free cat, but hypoallergenic cats produce fewer proteins and shed less than the average cat. So they’re leaving less of the allergen around the house and on you when you give them kitty cuddles.
Let’s look at some of the most popular hypoallergenic cat breeds available and the common health conditions you should look out for. We’ll do a deep dive into the most hypoallergenic cats and other breeds that are typically safe for people with allergies.
These four cat breeds are some of the top hypoallergenic cats and are ideal for pet lovers with highly sensitive cat allergies because they produce significantly less of the Fed d 1 protein that causes allergic reactions in humans.
Resembling the popular Siamese breed, the Balinese (also called Javanese) has a silky smooth coat and a luxurious tail plume. But their fluffy appearance isn’t really indicative of their overall allergy friendliness. The Balinese is considered one of the least shedding cats among long-haired breeds. Like the Siamese, they’re talkative, have an easy-going personality, and are considered hypoallergenic.
Balinese cats are beautiful, but like all pets, this breed is prone to a few health problems. Here’s what to watch out for:2
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Heart defects
With its bushy coat and extra fluffy tail, this large and powerful cat breed isn’t one you would think to be hypoallergenic. Though a rare breed in the U.S., they’re gaining popularity for their lack of irritating dander and their affectionate, intelligent temperament. The Siberian is also one of few cat breeds that doesn’t mind getting a little wet and likes to play in water.
Siberian cats are relatively healthy cats, but there are two health conditions that pet parents should be wary of:3
Resembling a hairless breed, the Devon rex is sometimes referred to as a “poodle that purrs” because of their short curly hair and wagging tail when happy. Similar to its canine counterpart, the poodle, the Devon rex is considered hypoallergenic. This breed is usually on the smaller side, but makes up for it with their large and sociable personality.
The Devon rex breed is predisposed to a few health problems:
- Devon rex myopathy
- Fading kitten syndrome
The skin of a Sphynx is said to resemble warm suede, not unlike their warm, affectionate personality. Similar to other hairless cat breeds, Sphynx are one the most allergy-friendly breeds. Contrary to popular belief, most cats of this breed are not completely hairless, although they appear to be bald all over. That’s because their fur is so fine and short, it usually can’t be seen by the human eye. Shedding is almost nonexistent with these types of cats.
Sphynx cats are selectively bred with the intention of minimizing their health problems. However, they’re genetically predisposed to two health concerns: