Many people who love animals are allergic to some of them, cat allergies are one of the most common. If you’re allergic to cats, then you know all about sneezing, wheezing and watery eyes which accompany allergies to cats.
There are some best hypoallergenic cats for people with allergies that will not set off your symptoms, or at the very least, they will be mild.
What causes allergies to cats?
People who have an allergy to cats are reacting to the protein in the cat’s skin, saliva, and urine (1). Because the allergen stays on the cat’s fur when the cat grooms herself, the tiny skin flakes that come off of the cat (which is normal) causes problems for allergic people.
Furthermore, these cat flakes then stick to the carpet, furniture, walls and float around in the air causing further allergy problems for allergic people. This is why if you cannot resist adopting a cat, only the best hypoallergenic cats should be considered.
People with strong allergies must be particularly aware of scratching. If a cat scratches or licks you, the allergen can cause serious itchiness and even welts on you. These allergens last even after a cat is long gone, and you will continue having allergy symptom bouts (2).
Did you know that allergenic secretions are produced more by male cats than female cats? Also, neutered male cats produce fewer allergens than intact male cats.
Finally, light-colored cats of either sex have been observed to produce less allergens than dark-haired cats, and adult cats produce more allergens than kittens do.
What are hypoallergenic cats?
There is good news for cat lovers that have an allergy to cats. Some cats are considered hypoallergenic cat breeds which are mostly free of allergens, though not completely.
These hypoallergenic cat breeds will produce less dander while others have less saliva or don’t secrete as much of certain proteins which causes the issue in allergic people.
However, there isn’t a cat breed which that is considered 100% hypoallergenic. They simply produce a fewer number of allergens.
Being allergic to cats doesn’t mean that you’ll never have a chance to adopt a cat. Some people who have allergies to cats may find that they won’t be affected by certain cat breeds at all and not just these specific best hypoallergenic cats.
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9 Best Hypoallergenic Cats for Allergy Sufferers
What you’re really looking for is a breed of cat that’s more hypoallergenic in comparison to other cat breeds. When doing so you should take other things into consideration as well. Each cat can vary in the number of allergens that they produce. This means that the same breed of cat, on an individual basis, may affect you differently.
The bottom line is to choose your cat wisely.
It’s best to spend some time with the cat you’re planning to live with and bring home before you actually do that. You can test this relationship in the cattery or animal rescue center where you adopt your next pet.
Now, here are the nine best hypoallergenic cat breeds that have a low allergen level:
The Balinese doesn’t really look like it should be a cat for people who suffer from allergies. But the longhaired Siamese actually causes less of a reaction in many allergy sufferers.
Because this cat is long-haired, some people are surprised that the hair doesn’t cause allergy problems, but the actual hair is not a reason an allergy is caused. It’s what attaches to the hair.
The Fel D1 protein which can be an allergen though does cause allergic reactions, and it is produced less in this cat than in other breeds so reactions aren’t more unlikely.
2. Russian Blue
Russian blues are known for producing less of the glycoprotein Fel d1 which is what causes allergies in some people.
Also, Russian Blues are beautiful cats with a bluish tint to their fur. They have blue eyes too so they are enjoyable cats to own regardless.
3. Oriental Shorthair
Even though this cat is classified as hypoallergenic, daily grooming is suggested to keep the cat’s dandruff at a minimum. These cats come in over 300 patterns and colors.
Their coats are very fine short coats, and the cats infrequently shed. Many people with allergies have no reaction or very mild ones to Oriental Shorthairs.
This breed of cat doesn’t have an undercoat which means fewer allergens to deal with. It also has a medium-long coat of fur which doesn’t mat.
The fine topcoat means less shedding because the cat has less hair. This means that there is less dander lying around in your home.
5. Devon Rex
You will need to clean a Devon Rex’s cat paw pads and ears often to avoid oil build upon them. But you won’t have to bathe this cat frequently because these cats shed very little.
Their coats are soft downy fine hair. Most people with allergies to cats find that Devon Rex is the best choice for them for whatever reason.
6. Cornish Rex
This cat is susceptible to oil buildup on its skin so frequent baths are necessary. Cats generally have three layers of fur. The guard layer is the outer coat; the awn hair is the middle layer of fur and the down hair is the undercoat.
The Corish Rexes only have the soft down hair of the undercoat which causes people allergic to cats to suffer little or not at all from allergies.
A Siberian has a coat that is moderately long and shaggy. However, the enzyme levels are lower than normal in this breed so it’s considered hypoallergenic as the fur is freer of allergens.
75% of people who have allergies to cats don’t have reactions to the Siberian breed, according to animal shelter statistics.
This cat doesn’t have any hair at all, but it isn’t maintenance-free. A Sphynx does get a build-up of oils on its skin which is gummy so frequent bathing is necessary.
Also, the large ears of the Sphynx will need to be cleaned often. So while you get this super hypoallergenic cat, you must also be prepared to care for it accordingly.
9. Bengal cat
Bengals are one of the most popular cats. These cats aren’t hairless and the production of Fel D1 isn’t less than other breeds, so why are they hypoallergenic?
A Bengal cat has a beautiful fine pelt that requires less maintenance. This means that the cat doesn’t groom as often so there’s not as much allergen-rich salvia in their fur.
Also, shedding really isn’t an issue either with Bengal cats since they shed little, so the dander isn’t spread around much either.
Note: Purchasing a hypoallergenic cat breed will provide you with a better chance of not having an allergic reaction but not guarantee it. Proper cat grooming and bathing your cat can actually decrease how allergic you are due to the removal of many allergens.
What Kind of Allergic Reactions Might You Have?
Everyone has different reactions when they’re allergic to cats. There are also different degrees of allergy reactions to different cats, from mild to moderate, to severe. Below is a list of reactions dealing with cat allergies:
Mild allergy reactions.
Mild allergic reactions to a cat may be a simple itching, a runny nose, and sneezing. You could also develop rashes, hives, and watery red eyes. It’s not serious.
Moderate allergy reactions.
Moderate reactions for allergic people may be various degrees of discomfort including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and high-pitched abnormal breathing sounds or wheezing. You may experience tightness or discomfort in the chest as well as coughing.
Furthermore, you may have feelings of anxiety, dizziness, or palpation of the heart. You could start coughing or become nauseous or vomit. Your face, eyes, and tongue could swell, and you could have trouble breathing and swallowing, or even become unconscious.
Severe allergic reactions.
A severe reaction dealing with cat allergies is anaphylaxis shock. If this happens, then medical attention is needed immediately. Your airways could narrow and your blood pressure could drop which could lead to you becoming unconscious or even dying.
This strong type of allergic reaction to cats is very rare but should be treated immediately as decided by your doctor if it occurs. If you know that you may be allergic to cats, it’s best to get tested and also adopt only hypoallergenic cats.
Note: Allergic reactions shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you can, remove yourself away from a situation as soon as possible that causes an allergic reaction and take allergy medication to relieve symptoms if needed.
Finding Out How Severe Your Allergies Are
It’s important for you to find out just how severe your allergies to cats are if you’re going to be around feline soften. This step is important to avoid potential complications.
Because some reactions are extremely serious, and some can even be life-threatening, you may want to get a cat allergy test done if you suspect that you have an allergy to cats. You can have testing done with an allergy specialist to see if you are allergic.
Allergy testing is pretty simple and there are two ways to go about it. You could have skin tests performed or blood tests. Talk it over with the doctor or your GP to decide.
When You’ve Found the ONE
After spending time with the cat of your choice over a couple of days at the place of purchase, if there’s no allergic reaction, it’s time to bring your new loved one home.
Also, even though your cat is hypoallergenic, you should take steps to minimize any possible allergic reactions. If you’re the person who has allergy issues then, the frequent bathing and grooming should be left to a member of the family or a groomer.
Additionally, 84% of allergens that are already existing can be removed by washing your cat 2-3 times a week. This helps to hinder the development of future allergen levels.
Another claim is that using distilled cool water when bathing your cat can help in the reduction of allergen levels.
Too, wash your face and hands after handling your cat and keep the cat litter in an area that is well ventilated. In addition, be sure to take any allergy medications recommended to relieve any allergy symptoms.
Picking the best hypoallergenic cat breed isn’t the only way to avoid allergic reactions. There are actually ways to decrease irritation associated with allergens in cats.
Making Your Cat Less Irritating for You Allergies
If you have allergies, there are ways to make your cat less irritating for your allergies.
- One way is to keep your cat indoors. When cats go outside, pollen can attach to their fur as well as other contaminants which then will be brought inside. This can cause an allergic reaction. So, keep your cat indoors; it’s safer for your cat as well.
- Bathing your cat will remove salvia and dander from the fur which will reduce your allergic reaction. So when your cat is a kitten, get it used to be bathed. Also, you or a family member can wipe your cat with a warm washcloth daily. This is good if a bath has been missed or if your cat isn’t feeling especially cooperative.
- If you or a family member brush your cat on a regular basis, it will help to remove the excess fur and dander.
- Be sure that your cat has fresh water at all times. If not, your cat’s skin may become dry which will up the production of dander. When fresh water is provided, your cat will drink more, and this will help to maintain hydration.
- Keep your rugs and floors vacuumed frequently to prevent a buildup of fur and dander. This will help keep any allergic reactions in check. In addition, using a lint roller on your clothes and bedding is another useful thing to do.
- As much as you would like your cat to sleep with you, it’s not a good idea if you are allergic to cats. So, keep your bedroom closed and your cat off your bed.
- By keeping up with the fur brushing and dander removal, will help to keep the allergies under control.
So, if you’re looking for a cat and you have allergies, a hypoallergenic cat can help with this. Since these cats cause very little allergic reactions in people who suffer from cat allergies, you may want to consider purchasing one of these cats if you want a pet.
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