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Home > Cats > Is an American Shorthair Cat Hypoallergenic? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Is an American Shorthair Cat Hypoallergenic? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

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Dr. Lauren Demos

Veterinarian, DVM

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

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As a true national treasure, the American Shorthair is among the smartest, calmest, and most loving cat breeds. However, if you’re one of the millions of Americans with cat allergies, this probably isn’t the pet for you. American Shorthair cats are not hypoallergenic and are not one of the breeds less likely to trigger allergies either.

In this article, you’ll learn why American Shorthair cats are not considered hypoallergenic and whether such a kitty exists! We’ll also give you tips for reducing allergens in your home and suggest some breeds that may be less likely to cause allergic reactions.

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Why Aren’t American Shorthair Cats Hypoallergenic?

According to research, cat allergies are triggered by proteins in various feline secretions including saliva. All cats produce the proteins but not in the same amounts or precisely the same types. The allergens are passed onto the cat’s fur when they groom themselves and spread into the environment when the hair and dander are shed.

American Shorthairs aren’t hypoallergenic because no cat is completely hypoallergenic. Even hairless cats still produce dander and saliva, which could cause an allergic reaction. Cats that produce fewer reactions in people with allergies typically shed less. American Shorthair cats have a thick coat that does shed regularly. Heavy shedding spreads allergens into the environment more effectively, leaving little relief for allergy sufferers.

american shorthair cat lying
Image Credit: Freer, Shutterstock

Which Breeds Are Less Likely to Trigger Allergies?

As we’ve learned, American Shorthairs are not one of the breeds considered a low risk for triggering allergies. The allergens produced by individual cats may vary, and even “allergy-friendly” breeds can still cause issues.

Some evidence suggests that the Siberian breed naturally produces fewer allergen proteins than others. More research is needed to confirm this finding, but if you have cat allergies, the Siberian may be a good option for you.

Here are some other breeds that are often tolerated by people with allergies:
  • Sphynx
  • Cornish Rex
  • Devon Rex
  • Burmese
  • Siamese
  • Oriental Shorthair

If you have cat allergies, try to interact with some of these breeds before committing to bring one home. Ideally, you can spend time with the cat or kitten you’re considering to see how your allergies react.

Reducing Cat Allergens at Home

Regardless of the breed you choose, there are some simple tips you can follow to reduce the number of allergens in your home.

  • First, brush or wipe down your cat regularly to keep shedding and allergy triggers to a minimum. Ideally, a family member or friend without allergies should perform this task. If you must do it, wear gloves and a mask to minimize your exposure to allergens.
  • Regular cleaning of household surfaces is also vital to minimizing allergens. Avoid sweeping or dry dusting since they can stir up more allergens. Instead, vacuum, mop, and use static cleaning tools like a Swiffer.
  • Change household air filters regularly and consider using portable air purifiers around the house. Keep at least one room in the house, such as your bedroom, off-limits to pets. This precaution gives your immune system a safe zone.
  • Talk to your doctor about additional strategies to control your cat allergies, such as medications or other treatments. Your vet may also suggest ways to minimize shedding in your cat, such as feeding special diets to decrease allergen production.
a person brushing the hair of a british shorthair cat
Image Credit: marketlan, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

American Shorthair cats may not be hypoallergenic, but no kitty really is! Unfortunately, the American Shorthair is not among those considered a better choice for people with allergies either. If you’ve genuinely fallen in love with the American Shorthair breed, try spending time with one to see how your immune system responds.

You can also try some of the techniques we covered to reduce allergens in your home. Allergies are one of the most common reasons cats are surrendered to animal shelters, so don’t commit to a new pet unless you know you can handle their presence.


Featured Image Credit: Apisit Hrpp, Shutterstock

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