We long for a kitten but we know how unfriendly pet hair can be to our sinuses. Is that the mental struggle you’re currently dealing with?
No cat is completely allergen-free, but thankfully some breeds are far more hypoallergenic than others. Many people, like yourself, have successfully adopted some of the hypoallergenic breeds listed below, without the need for antihistamines!
What makes a cat allergenic, or hypoallergenic?
The reason for a cat causing allergic reactions is because of the proteins found in their skin, urine, and saliva. These proteins (or allergens if you will) can be carried through the air or on our clothes, and can trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Sometimes this is nothing more than sneezing, but can commonly cause a runny knows, itching, or sore red and watery eyes.
On the flipside, a more hypoallergenic cat will produce fewer of those allergens, significantly reducing your chance of a reaction.
To get a little more scientific, these proteins are known as Fel d1. I won’t go into too much depth here, but if you want to “boffin up” then below is a decent research article on Fel d1 as the major cat allergen:
This article, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, covers various aspects of Fel d1, including its source, biochemical properties, and mechanisms of allergenicity, as well as its potential as a diagnostic and therapeutic target for cat allergy.
Let’s get back to more understandable cat stuff, as I know you don’t care too much about the science!
Before you run out and buy one of the following hypoallergenic cat breeds, see if you can spend some time with one (such as a friends, neighbours, or local breeders). The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a kitten only to find you can’t keep him.
Top Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
The below cat breeds are believed to be the least allergenic, or most hypoallergenic. To repeat the important point above, no cat is completely hypoallergenic, and research is also limited in this area.
Oriental Shorthairs are considered one of the most hypoallergenic cats, and probably the top choice for allergy suffers. They’re social and intelligent but also rather vocal. Due to their intelligence they sometimes need a fair bit of attention to keep them simulated, so be prepared!
Oriental Shorthairs can be trained to walk on a lead and play fetch, which is kinda cool and will amaze your neighbours.
Despite being a short haired breed they do shed a little.
Life Expectancy 8-12 years.
The Cornish Rex is such a loyal cat, and they love to spend quality time with their owners. It might be a good choice if you want a lap cat or like to be followed around.
As a breed they’re very athletic and intelligent, and like the Oriental Shorthair can also be trained to walk on a lead.
They shed a little, but far less than other breeds.
Life expectancy 9-13 years.
The legendary hairless cat as seen in Hollywood movies! Obviously being hairless means the Sphynx Cat has zero shedding, so will benefit the cleanliness of your home as well as your sinuses.
Owners tend to oil them on a weekly basis to keep their skin in good condition, and you also need to be careful of temperature changes and exposure to hot Aussie sun.
Sphynx cats are very energetic and known for being “dog-like”. Combined with their energy levels they’re also very playful, and they’re great to play with.
Life expectancy 8-14 years.
Russian Blues can be quite shy, so when you have guests over you’ll find your cat will vanish to a safe spot. That said, they love attention from their favourite human and become very loyal to that one person. In larger families, especially with kids, they tend to feel uncomfortable.
The Russian Blue is another intelligent breed who benefits from daily attention, and you’ll find them very sweet natured. They do shed a little.
Life Expectancy 15-20 years.
Bengals are highly active and often compared to a Leopard! Or shall we say tame leopard as these beautiful cats won’t eat you for dinner.
Not only are Bengals very hypoallergenic, they’re also loyal to their owners. They tend to need constant stimulation from both you and toys, and they love to play.
Life expectancy 9-13 years.
Siberians are a long-haired breed, so people are often surprised they are hypoallergenic – but they are! Research has shown they produce less Fel d1 than most breeds, which make them a great choice if you’re prone to allergens. Siberians hail from Russia where they’re believed to be one of the oldest domesticated cat breeds.
Life expectancy 12-15 years.