You love cats but whenever you're around them you sneeze, wheeze, and get red, itchy eyes. Sound familiar? If so you most likely have cat allergies. But don't panic – this doesn't mean you're doomed to live a life devoid of cute cats. You might be able to have a wonderful, sneeze-free life with a hypoallergenic cat. These are cats with less FEL D-1 protein, an allergen in cat saliva that gets transferred to cat coats and the air when they clean themselves. While these cats are not completely non-allergenic, hypoallergenic cats do allow many owners to live and breathe comfortably, even when the owner has severe allergic reactions to other cats. Read on for our rundown of top hypoallergenic cats.
Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
The Balinese, also known as the Longhaired Siamese, is high on any list of hypoallergenic cats. That's because these cute cats produce far less FEL D-1 protein than other breeds. Balinese cats are much like Siamese cats – most love being around people and have playful personalities. They're also recognized to be very smart animals that have good natures and boundless energy. The Balinese does not have an undercoat, so although it is a long-haired cat, it's known for its lack of shedding.
The Siberian, like the Balinese, is a long-haired cat with a smaller amount of the FEL D-1 protein than other cats. They are considered by some to be the best cat for allergy sufferers. They are friendly cats and usually do well in homes with children. Many compare Siberian cats to dogs due to their loyal and affectionate nature. And like dogs, these cats are usually much larger and stronger than your typical house cats.
No list of hypoallergenic cats is complete without the Sphynx – the famously hairless cat. Since this breed has very, very little hair, it doesn't have much dander either. Some people find these cats to be unattractive or unusual, but they are actually very friendly and intelligent, and make great pets. And in our opinion, hairless can be beautiful. Owners do need to give these cats some extra TLC – they need to be bathed and have their ears cleaned frequently. And they shouldn't spend prolonged amounts of time in the sun because they can get sunburns. All in all, the Sphynx is a fine choice for a hypoallergenic cat. They have few health problems, get along with most other animals, and have a distinctive, eye-catching look.
The Cornish Rex, like the Sphynx, is an unusual looking cat (although it does have hair!) that needs to be bathed regularly. It has a very fine coat and doesn't shed much. Many owners report their Cornish Rex cats are fun, affectionate animals that act like kittens throughout their lives. The Cornish Rex is also known to be a loyal, even-tempered cat that needs a lot of attention (so it might not be a good fit for someone that travels frequently or works long hours).
The Devon Rex is another cat with a unique look. These cats sport short, thin fur along with large eyes and ears. They also need some maintenance (their ears and paws should be cleaned frequently) but they do not require full baths. The Devon Rex breed has less hair so it sheds less too, which can be a great help with allergies. These cats love people, and unlike the Cornish Rex they're good on their own while you're away. You should consider giving your Devon Rex a warm bed in the colder months due to their thin coats.
As you can see, there are plenty of hypoallergenic breeds that allow allergy sufferers to enjoy the company of cats. You might also want to consider getting a female cat or a neutered male cat – both cause fewer problems for allergic owners than unneutered male cats. Also, light-colored cats tend to produce less FEL D-1 protein than darker cats. Be sure to spend plenty of time with a cat before bringing them home – that's the best way to know if you and your allergies can handle it. And be sure to brush your cat often, keep your home clean by vacuuming frequently, and wash your cat's bedding regularly to help cut down on allergens.
By Jay Matthews
About the Author
Jay Matthews has been writing professionally for over a decade. He's been an animal lover for even longer. When he's not creating articles or copywriting, he's slowly chipping away at a science fiction novel. He lives with his family and their cat Koko in Los Angeles.