Best Breeds For Cat Lovers With Allergies

cat cats kitten calico allergies

Cat allergies are no laughing matter

Allergies to cats are no laughing matter; approximately 10% of the U.S. population suffers from pet allergies and cats are at the top of the list. Cat allergies can vary from extreme to mild, depending on the person. If you are one of the people afflicted with cat allergies, but are a cat lover, you do have some options. If your allergies are extreme, you may want to consult your doctor for allergy treatment or look into medically-designed hypoallergenic cats. However, for those who have mild allergies, we’ve compiled a list of cat breeds that are known to be hypoallergenic or that tend to distribute less allergens for a variety of reasons.

Cat allergies are caused by the prevalence of Fel D1, an enzyme in cats’ saliva. When a cat grooms his/herself, they use their tongue and spread Fel D1 all over their fur. This fur is then spread throughout the house. Hypoallergenic cats are cat breeds that either produce less Fel D1 or shed little or not at all. Remember that hypoallergenic does not mean that they are entirely allergen-free; just that they are less likely to set off an allergic person’s allergies.

Our favorite cat breeds for people with allergies are:

1. The Rex Cats: This includes the Devon Rex and the Cornish Rex. Both of these cats have a coat that sets them apart from other cats; they lack guard hairs and are only covered in the fur that lies beneath. Technically, these cats aren’t hypoallergenic, but the lack of guard hairs makes their shedding more tolerable for many people with allergies.

cornish rex colorpoint black white

The Cornish Rex’s short fur doesn’t spread like that of cats with guard hairs

2. The Sphynx Cat: The Sphynx cat is hairless, and therefore shedding is no longer an issue with this breed. Sphynx cats still lick and groom themselves, but without fur to shed, the spread of their allergens is much less.
3. The Russian Blue: The Russian Blue is hypoallergenic for two main reasons. First of all, their double coat helps to keep in allergens rather than spreading them throughout the house. They also produce less Fel d1, the main property that produces cat allergies.
4. The Balinese: The Balinese has long hair and a full coat, but don’t let this deter you. They produce less Fel D1, the main perpetrator of feline allergies.
5. The Bengal: Bengals have short, dense fur that doesn’t shed much. They spread less dander and fur around and have been known to spread less allergens than other cats.
6. The Javanese: The Javanese is one of only a few breeds that lacks an undercoat, making them shed less. Less shedding means less spreading of allergens

siberian forest cat piano grey

The Siberian may seem unlikely to be hypoallergenic due to their long fur, but they produce little Fel D1

7. The Siberian: Siberian cats have a medium-length coat, which would make many allergy-sufferers hesitant to the breed. However, Siberian cats have been known to have less enzyme levels in their saliva, which is a key source for allergens.
8. The Laperm: The Laperm is a curly-haired cat, and many Laperm owners believe that they are hypoallergenic. They have been known to shed less than other breeds, and many people with cat allergies have had little to no reaction to Laperms.
9. The Oriental Shorthair: The Oriental Shorthair breed has such short hair that sheds so little that they’ve been one of the most popular cat breed for allergy sufferers.

All of these breeds have been known to produce less allergens for a variety of reasons, but there are some other factors that influence how allergenic a cat will be. When choosing a cat for your household, taking the following factors into consideration may help someone with mild allergies find a cat that doesn’t make their sinuses explode:

Male cats produce more allergens than females: This is another unsolved mystery, but for whatever reason, female cats produce less allergens. If you have mild cat allergies, you may want to adopt a female cat.
Neutered males produce less allergens than unfixed males: When a male cat is neutered, his hormones change and he produces less allergens. You should always have your animals spayed and neutered regardless, but especially if you have allergies.
Kittens produce less allergens than full-grown cats: You may not be allergic to a kitten, but develop allergies to the same cat once they grow up for this reason. This, among many other reasons, is why adopting an adult cat is a good idea. This way, you will know right off the bat whether or not you are allergic to a particular cat and can avoid having to make the painful decision of what to do with a cat that is causing you terrible allergies.
Dark-colored cats produce more allergens than light-colored cats: For whatever reason, lighter-colored cats produce less allergens. So instead of a black or dark orange cat, lean towards a cat that has white as their base color.

Are you a cat-lover dealing with cat allergies? Let us know how you handle them in the comments!