So you want to get a cat, but you’re worried about your allergies acting up. understandable with all that fur and dander floating around. The good news is that a few breeds of cats are less likely to trigger allergic reactions in humans. These hypoallergenic cats, as they’re called, produce less of the Fel d1 protein, the primary allergen found in cat saliva, urine, and dander. By choosing one of these breeds and maintaining good hygiene in the home, you can enjoy cuddling and playing with a furry feline friend without constantly sneezing and wiping your eyes. In this article, we’ll explore the options and help you find a hypoallergenic cat that fits your lifestyle. With the right breed and some common-sense precautions, you’ll be on your way to a rewarding relationship with a cat you can love without regretting it later.
What Makes a Cat Hypoallergenic?
What makes a cat hypoallergenic? Simply put, it’s all about their fur. The primary allergen in cat saliva and dander that causes allergic reactions in people is the Fel D1 protein. Cat breeds with lower protein production tend to be hypoallergenic.
Less shedding means less dander.
Hypoallergenic cats shed very little, so there’s less dander—those tiny skin flakes covered in allergens—floating around. Their fur is like human hair, growing longer before grooming or naturally shedding. Breeds like the Siberian, Devon Rex, and Cornish Rex only shed seasonally.
Low Fel D1 level
Some breeds produce very little of the Fel D1 protein. The Siberian, for example, has one of the lowest levels. The Cornish Rex and Devon Rex also produce little Fel D1, and their nearly bare coats produce little dander.
Regular grooming is vital.
Frequent brushing or bathing, at least once a week, removes dead skin cells, dander, and other allergens before they build up. Vacuuming often with a HEPA filter also helps. A cat’s absence from the bedroom can reduce exposure while you sleep.
While no cat is 100% hypoallergenic, breeds that shed less, produce less Fel D1, and are well-groomed can have less of an effect on allergy symptoms. Researching to find a cat that fits your allergy needs and tolerance level is worth the effort. Living comfortably with a cat despite your allergies can be possible with the right breed and care regimen.
The Top 5 Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
When it comes to hypoallergenic cat breeds, you have a few great options.
Siberian has a thick coat but produces little Fel D1, the primary allergen in cat saliva and dander. Siberians are very friendly, and playful, and they enjoy being around people.
The Devon Rex
The Devon Rex has a soft, short coat and little undercoat, minimally producing dander and sheds. Devons are energetic and mischievous, and bond very closely with their humans.
The Cornish Rex
Like the Devon Rex, the Cornish Rex has little fur and an undercoat but a slightly coarser coat. Cornish Rexes are playful and agile and enjoy learning tricks and playing with puzzle toys.
The Balinese, or long-haired Siamese, have a silky single coat and produce little feathers. Balinese are social and intelligent and bond very closely with their owners. They are playful but tend to be calmer than the Rex breeds.
The Oriental Shorthair
The Oriental Shorthair, or shorthaired version of the Siamese, also produces little fur and sheds minimally. Orientals are social, intelligent, playful, and enjoy interacting with humans. They tend to be less vocal than Siamese.
With the right breed and regular grooming to minimize loose hair and dander, you can enjoy the companionship of a cat even if you have allergies. Talk to breeders about their breeding programs and experience with allergic owners. And when you visit, be sure to spend plenty of time with the cats to ensure your allergies don’t act up before bringing one home!
Tips for Living With a Hypoallergenic Cat
Tips for Living With a Hypoallergenic Cat
Caring for a hypoallergenic cat requires adjustments to ensure your allergies stay controlled. Here are some tips to help you live comfortably with your feline friend:
Make your bedroom a cat-free zone. Don’t allow your cat in the bedroom, so you have one place free of cat dander and saliva. Wash all bedding frequently in hot water to remove any cat allergens that may have traveled in.
Maintain regular cat grooming. At least once a week, brush or comb your cat to remove loose hair and dander. Even for long-haired breeds, bathing your cat monthly can help minimize allergens. To get rid of tangles, brush your hair before washing.
Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum often to clean. Run the vacuum daily, especially under furniture, where cat hair and dander collect. Empty the vacuum after each use.
Consider an air purifier. Place an air purifier, especially one with a HEPA filter, in the rooms where your cat spends the most time. This can help remove airborne allergens that regular vacuuming and grooming miss.
Wash your hands. Always wash your hands after handling your cat to avoid transferring allergens to your face, where they may trigger a reaction.
See an allergist about medication. For persistent allergy symptoms, visit an allergist. They may recommend allergy shots or other immunotherapy treatments, such as antihistamines, decongestants, or nasal sprays, to help reduce your reaction to cat allergens so you can live more comfortably together.
Adjustments to your routine and environment allow you to have an enjoyable life with your hypoallergenic cat. While no cat is 100% non-allergenic, taking proactive steps will make a big difference in controlling your symptoms. Staying on top of grooming, cleaning, and medical care will help ensure you and your feline companion have a long, happy life together.
Finding a Responsible Hypoallergenic Cat Breeder
Finding a responsible breeder is critical to getting a healthy, hypoallergenic cat. Do some research on reputable local breeders in your area that specialize in hypoallergenic breeds. Some things to consider:
- Check out online reviews from other customers. Look for mostly positive thoughts about health, temperament, and the overall experience.
- Ask if the breeder does genetic testing on their breeding stock for diseases common to that breed. This helps ensure healthy kittens.
- Visit the breeder in person. Get a feel for their facilities and how well the cats are cared for. Look for signs that the environment is clean and the cats seem happy and well-socialized.
- Discuss the breeder’s breeding practices. Reputable breeders typically only have a couple of litters a year to avoid overbreeding. They should also prevent continuously breeding the same female cat.
- Ask about health guarantees and returns. Most good breeders will guarantee the kitten’s health for a certain period of time. They should also be willing to remove any cat if you can no longer keep it.
- Check that the kittens have had proper vet care, like deworming, flea prevention, and the necessary vaccinations for their age. Ask for vet records for the parents and kittens.
- Consider if the breeder is involved in breed clubs or shows. This often indicates their passion for the breed and commitment to breeding to high standards.
- Trust your instincts. If something feels off, keep looking. The right breeder for you is out there.
Finding an ethical, responsible breeder will give you the best chance of bringing home a happy, healthy, hypoallergenic cat to join your family for years. Do your part by providing the cat with high-quality food, regular vet checkups, exercise, play, and lots of love and affection!
Bringing Home Your New Hypoallergenic Kitten
Bringing your new hypoallergenic kitten home is an exciting time! Once you’ve picked out your furry friend, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition.
Prepare the essentials
Before bringing your kitten home, stock up on the basics: high-quality kitten food, dishes for food and water, litter and a litter box, toys, a scratching post, grooming supplies, and bedding. Place the litter box, bed, food, and water in an easy-to-access area away from loud noises.
Pick a confined space.
When bringing your kitten home, confine them to one room with their essentials to prevent them from hiding or getting hurt exploring the new space. A bathroom or spare bedroom works well. Visit and play with your kitten frequently so they can get used to your scent and presence. After a couple of days, slowly introduce them to other rooms while supervising them closely.
Set a routine
Establish a regular feeding and play schedule right away. Feed your kitten multiple small meals daily of high-quality food for their age and size. Play with interactive cat toys like feather wands and laser pointers for 10-15 minutes daily to bond with your kitten and keep them stimulated.
Handle with care
Spend time each day gently petting, brushing, and holding your new kitten to get them accustomed to human touch and contact. Rewarding your kitten for excellent behavior with food and praise will help socialize them and teach them to appreciate interaction and grooming. Their ability to be friendly and well-adjusted will increase with the more favorable experiences they have as children.
A new kitten needs time, consideration, and planning before being brought home. You can make sure your hypoallergenic kitten settles in happily and healthily by putting up the necessities, restricting them first, creating a routine, showing them lots of love, and engaging in pleasant interactions. You can have a devoted friend for years with some love and care!
So there, you have a few options if you’re looking for a feline companion but want to avoid sneezing and sniffling. While no cat is 100% hypoallergenic, these breeds produce less of the Fel d 1 protein that triggers most cat allergies. Do more research on the species that interest you, then visit your local animal shelter or breeder to spend some time with the cats and see how your allergies react. With some luck and the proper precautions, you’ll be curled up on the couch with your new furry friend in no time; allergies be damned!