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Hypoallergenic cats

If you get itchy eyes or sneeze endlessly whenever a cat is near – chances are you’re allergic to cats. If you’re a cat lover, this is pretty inconvenient. Luckily, there are some breeds that might not set off your allergies, known as hypoallergenic cats.

Discover what hypoallergenic cats are, the best cats for allergies and more with our helpful guide.

Provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc.

What are hypoallergenic cats?

Hypoallergenic cats are specific breeds of cats that produce fewer allergens than others. They’re also referred to as low allergy or anti-allergy cats.

Despite this, there’s no such thing as a fully hypoallergenic cat. Some breeds are more allergy-friendly than others due to the amount of protein they produce. Hypoallergenic cats may also have less saliva or don’t shed as much fur, which means there is less risk of protein spreading around your home.

What causes cat allergies?

Surprisingly, it isn’t a cat’s fur that causes allergic reactions. It’s actually a protein called Fel d1 and Fel d4 – found in their sebaceous glands, saliva and dead skin cells (dander).

When a cat cleans itself, this protein is transferred to the fur and loose skin, eventually lingering in the air and spreading to furniture and clothes.

This means that someone with allergies could experience an allergic reaction without even being near a cat.

Common cat allergy symptom

If you suffer from allergies, then you’re already familiar with the symptoms. However, if you’re keen for a kitten of your own or worried about a family member, it’s worth knowing the common allergic reactions. These include:

  • Sneezing
  • A runny nose
  • Itchy, red or swollen eyes
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Asthma
  • Skin irritations (like rash, redness or hives)

Allergy sufferers could also experience anaphylaxis in more severe cases, but this is rare.

If you’re after a particular breed of cat, it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor or allergy specialist to test your sensitivity to cats.

Hypoallergenic cat breeds

You might not want to limit yourself to just one type of cat – we understand. However, there are some cats best suited for people with allergies. You might even find your favourite breed is an anti-allergy cat.

Long-haired hypoallergenic cats

Short-haired hypoallergenic cats

How to deal with cat allergies

If you suffer with cat allergies, there are prescription and over-the-counter medications available. These include antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops and inhalers. However, it’s important to remember that these are designed to relieve your symptoms, not eliminate the allergy completely.

If you have a hypoallergenic cat but still suffer with allergies, the following steps could help to minimise your allergic reactions.

Bath and brush your cat

Although cats are self-groomers, regularly bathing and brushing them can help to reduce allergies. Outdoor cats tend to pick up allergens on their fur – like dust, pollen or grass – which can trigger more allergies.

Indoor cats, meanwhile, will need baths to get rid of excess oil buildup on their skin, saliva and other allergens such as cat litter or dust.

Create a cat-free zone

Designate a room in your home – like your bedroom – as a cat-free zone. Limiting the areas where your curious cat can roam around will mean less places for allergy-causing protein to stick around.

It will also reduce the amount of loose hair and dander you come into contact with, and help relieve your allergy symptoms.

Get an outdoor cat shelter

If your cat likes spending time outside, it could be worth getting a cat house or shelter. This will prevent your furry friend from finding shade in grassy patches or underneath allergy-causing shrubs. It will also grant your cat a clean, safe spot to relax out of hot or cold weather.

Keep the house clean

If you happen to suffer with allergies, there are areas you can focus on cleaning more deeply to reduce symptoms – mainly places where your cat likes to sleep and lie down.

That includes vacuuming carpets and floorboards regularly, and washing your cat’s toys and bedding. It’s also worth cleaning your cat’s favourite spots to get rid of dander build-up in those areas.

Frequently asked questions

What cat is best for those with allergies?

The best cats for people with allergies include Siberians, Russian Blues, Balinese, Oriental Shorthairs, Devon Rexs and more. Hairless hypoallergenic cats, such as the Sphynx, are also allergy friendly.

How can you tell if a cat is hypoallergenic?

No cat is 100% hypoallergenic. However, the term hypoallergenic cat refers to breeds that shed less hair and produce fewer Fel d1 allergens. They may also have very short hair that hold less of the Fel d1 and Fel d4 protein – but there are also long-haired hypoallergenic cats.

Are hypoallergenic cats expensive?

The cost of hypoallergenic cats can vary depending on the breeder, location and other factors. Purebred cats can be quite expensive, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand pounds. However, there are also cats in need of homes at local shelters which can be adopted for a much lower cost.

Which cat has the least allergens?

The hairless Sphynx is the cat most associated with being a hypoallergenic cat breed. This is because there is less or no hair carrying the Fel d1 allergens. Siberians are another popular hypoallergenic breed. Despite their long, thick fur, they produce less allergen-causing proteins than other cats.