While there’s nothing quite as comforting as snuggling up with a little ball of fur, the reality is that about 10% of the United States population suffers from some form of pet allergy.
If you’re allergic to cats, you might find yourself paying the price for that fuzzy cuddle session, most likely to the tune of sniffling and sneezing. Finding out what cats don’t shed may help your dilemma however, it’s not a 100% guarantee to stop those allergies.
The good news? Having a cat allergy doesn’t have to restrict you from having a feline friend of your own. By having a better understanding of what actually causes cat allergies, as well as some of the best breeds for people allergic to cats, you can make a more informed choice.
Because most allergic reactions to cats are caused by the Fel d 1 protein (not the shedding of fur), those with cat allergies could still suffer even around cats that don’t shed (unfair, we know!). Still, for those who aren’t allergic to cats and who wish to reduce the amount of lint rolling and vacuuming needed to keep their homes fur-free, there are some cat breeds that don’t shed.
As you could probably imagine, these are all hairless cats! Some examples of the non-shedding cat breeds to consider include:
If you’re considering a hairless cat, there are some special care tips you should be aware of. For starters, hairless cats are more prone to skin issues (including blocked follicles and infections), so they may need more regular grooming and bathing.
Likewise, because they have no fur for protection, hairless cats must be protected from the sun (yes, cats can get sunburn!).
They can also suffer from a loss of body heat due to their lack of fur, so making sure a hairless cat has access to plenty of cozy blankets and warm areas in your home is a must. Some hairless cats may even tolerate wearing a sweater or other warm apparel specifically designed for cats (and they look adorable, too).
If you’re not set on a hairless cat but would still like to bring home a cat that sheds less than others, consider one of these types of cats that shed least:
Keep in mind that even cat breeds that are known for shedding the least will still shed some. Likewise, shedding can vary quite a bit from one cat to the next. A healthier cat, for example, may shed significantly less than a cat with underlying health problems.
Regardless, ask any cat owner and they’ll agree (unless they own a hairless cat)—living with cats means accepting that at least some of your upholstery, rugs, and clothing are going to be covered in cat fur some of the time. Fortunately, there are plenty of great products on the market that make removing pet hair easier than ever.
For flooring, many cat owners swear by investing in a robot vacuum; these can easily pick up cat hair off of carpeting and hard floors so you don’t have to lift a finger. Likewise, owning a quality cordless stick vacuum makes it easier to spot-clean upholstery, curtains, stairs, and other places that your robot vacuum might not reach.
As a cat owner, lint rollers will also be your friend, especially for removing fur from clothing. Keep a few around the house and possibly one in your car, too.
There’s no such thing as a hypoallergic cat.
Let me repeat that again.
Hypoallergenic cats are a myth!
Specifically, the term “hypoallergenic” means that something is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. In reality, there’s never any guarantee that a cat will be allergy-proof. There are, however, some breeds of cats that are known to release lower amounts of the Fel d 1 protein that causes allergic reactions in humans. These breeds include:
If you’re committed to the idea of adopting a cat and want to minimize your chances of experiencing an allergic reaction, one of these breeds will likely be your best bet.
Most people assume that if they have an allergic reaction to cats, it’s caused by fur/shedding. In reality, it’s not fur that causes allergic reactions. Instead, it’s an allergy to a protein known as Fel d 1. This protein is produced by cats and released both in the saliva, urine, and even the skin glands.
People with cat allergies have immune systems that recognize the Fel d 1 protein as a threat; as a result, the immune system works to attack them in the same way it would fight off a virus or other illness. Unfortunately, this triggering of the body’s immune response can cause such symptoms as:
Ultimately, the only way to know for sure whether you have a cat allergy is to visit your doctor for a skin or blood test.
There are plenty of people who have regular contact with cats and even bring cats into their home, despite having allergies. Ultimately, it comes down to how severe your allergies are and what measures you’re willing to take to reduce your exposure to allergens. If you have allergies (or suspect you do) and are thinking about bringing a cat into your home, it’s always a good idea to consult with your physician first.
From there, consider looking into a hairless breed or a breed that is known to produce lower levels of the Fel d 1 protein. You may also be able to actively remove some allergens (such as those from cat dander) by investing in a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for your home’s furnace. These filters are the best for removing pet dander and other allergens before they reach your air registers.
You can also remove allergens by regularly running a vacuum with a HEPA filter in areas of the home where the cat spends the most time. Vacuuming flooring, rugs, upholstery, and even curtains at least once a week (and preferably much more often) can make a huge difference when it comes to allergy symptoms.
Because the Fel d 1 protein is also found in high concentrations in cat urine, many cat owners also find it helpful to have a non-allergic member of the household scoop and change the litter box. If you have no choice but to handle the litter yourself, consider wearing a mask while doing so—and always wash your hands and any exposed areas of your arms afterwards.
Some cat owners with allergies also keep certain areas of the home “off-limits,” such as bedrooms or other rooms with carpeting/bedding. Because pet dander and hair is easier to remove from hard floors, keeping cats in areas of the home with laminate, wood, or tile flooring can be a reasonable compromise for those with cat allergies.
And of course, be sure to explore treatment and management options for cat allergies. Medications, including antihistamines, can help to suppress the body’s immune response to the Fel d 1 protein. Allergy shots and other treatments may also be available to help you find relief, so speak with your doctor for more information.
I wish I could tell you that there’s a cat breed that won’t aggravate your pet allergy (or a pet allergy for somebody in your family). Unfortunately, the reality is that all cats produce the Fel d 1 protein (the main cause of cat allergies) and all cats except for hairless ones shed fur.
On the other hand, now that you have a better understanding of what causes cat allergies and which breeds are best for those with allergies, you can make a better informed decision regarding whether bringing a new feline friend into your household is right for you. And if you do decide to adopt a cat or kitten, you can take some proactive measures to minimize allergens and maximize the enjoyment of your new pet!
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Hello and welcome! I’m a genuine cat lover and devoted parent of two adorable kitties. As you can see, cat adoption is meaningful for me. I believe it’s a humane and loving option. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the people who operate rescue shelters. To show my gratitude for their selfless dedication, I’ve designed this website to help enlighten potential feline owners and raise awareness for cat adoption. Please join me and other cat lovers in our efforts to ensure every kitty has a happy, healthy life!
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