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Home > Cats > Do Hypoallergenic Cats Exist? Facts & Best Breeds for Allergies (Vet Approved)

Do Hypoallergenic Cats Exist? Facts & Best Breeds for Allergies (Vet Approved)

Sphynx with different eye color

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Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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In the United States, millions of people suffer from pet allergies, and more are diagnosed each year. While dogs and cats can trigger allergic reactions, cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies 1. Unfortunately for feline fans with allergies, there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic cat.

However, those with cat allergies aren’t necessarily doomed to a life without a purring pet. In this article, we’ll discuss why there’s no truly hypoallergenic cat and list some breeds that allergy sufferers may tolerate better. We’ll also give you tips to reduce the allergens in your home and help you tolerate your pet better.


Why No Cat Is Truly Hypoallergenic

One of the most common misconceptions about cat (and dog) allergies is that they’re triggered by pet hair. If that were the case, we would expect low-shedding or hairless cats to be hypoallergenic.

However, the primary cause of cat allergies is a protein on their skin and saliva. Allergens build up on the cat’s fur as the kitty grooms itself, which is why shed fur can trigger an allergic reaction. Even hairless cats possess this protein on their skin and can collect more as they clean themselves.

In addition to this protein, cats have at least seven others that can trigger allergies. Every cat produces different amounts of these proteins, but they all have at least one, which is why there is no truly hypoallergenic cat.

chocolate point silver devon rex cat in the garden
Image Credit: jojosmb, Shutterstock

Which Breeds Are Best for Allergy Sufferers?

Individual cats produce varying types and amounts of allergens, so not every kitty triggers the same reaction in a person with allergies. While there’s no way to predict precisely which cat will make you sneeze, the following breeds are often better tolerated by those with allergies:

Again, the severity of an allergic reaction depends not only on the cat’s level of allergens but also on your immune system.


Tips to Help Reduce Cat Allergens at Home

Since there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic cat, cat lovers with allergies must adopt other strategies if they want to live comfortably with a kitty.

You can spay or neuter your cat since it can reduce the number of allergens the cat produces. Bathing your cat frequently, once a week, also significantly decreases the allergens present on their skin and coat. One reason that allergy sufferers better tolerate Sphynx cats is that their skin gets wiped so frequently.

At home, keep at least one room, such as your bedroom, cat-free to give your immune system a break. Use home air filters designed to trap allergens, or consider a portable air filter for specific rooms. Vacuum frequently, ideally with a machine that contains a filter.

If you’re the person at home with cat allergies, avoid doing the cleaning yourself or wear a mask. Sweeping and dusting should also be limited, as these cleaning techniques tend to stir up allergens more than remove them.

Finally, speak to your doctor about options for allergy shots or medications. Despite your best efforts, it may not be possible for those with severe cat allergies to keep a cat. However, these tips can help you give it your best shot first.

cat near door at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

What About Cat Shampoo?

Cat shampoo is another great option for cat owners who are looking to combat their allergies. Finding a pH-balanced formula geared specifically to felines will ensure their coat remain healthy even with the occasional bath.

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Although no pet is completely hypoallergenic, regular bathing can help reduce the amount of dander and other allergens in their fur and the air. We highly recommend Hepper's Oatmeal Pet Shampoo for this job!

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If you have cat allergies and are considering adding one to your house, try to spend time around the cat you wish to adopt first to see how your immune system reacts. As we covered in this article, there’s no guarantee of how any cat will make you feel until you’re exposed to them. If you find that you or an allergic family member cannot live with a cat, consider trying to re-home them with a friend or relative before contacting a rescue group or animal shelter.

Featured Image Credit: Lisitskiyfoto, Shutterstock

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