Hypoallergenic Cats: The Catty Side to the Debate
So, you’ve learned through this site how people with dog allergies can survive becoming dog owners. But what if you have cat allergies and want a cat? Luckily, your situation won’t change much from that of a dog owner with dog allergies. You just need to be aware of the reality surrounding hypoallergenic cats.
Much like how it is for dogs, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat.
Even if you know by now that there are no hypoallergenic dog breeds, you might still think you could find a hypoallergenic breed among cats. But unfortunately, you’d be wrong. No matter how hard you look, there is no hypoallergenic cat breed.
But luckily, you’re not allergic to the cat itself per se. No, what you’re actually allergic to is the proteins found in a cat’s saliva, urine, or dander. When your body comes into contact with these substances, your immune system overreacts in an attempt to protect your body from them. In response to this overreaction, your body might produce symptoms like watery, red, or itchy eyes; facial pain; hives; or a runny nose.
But you can still own a cat if you have allergies.
The good news is that cat allergies generally aren’t considered to be a common cause for anaphylaxis (that is, a life-threatening allergic reaction). So owning a cat isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
But what if your allergic reactions happen to be particularly severe?
Then, you might want to look into immunotherapy, which has shown to be quite effective at reducing cat allergy symptoms. Under this treatment, you’ll receive an injection of cat allergen into your bloodstream from a professional or consume drops or tablets with the allergen for a number of months or years. In either case, it allows your body to gradually get used to coming into contact with the cat allergen until eventually, it stops overreacting.
Too time-consuming for your tastes? Then, consider the following advice.
You just might want to consider the following breeds for fewer allergic reactions.
While there are no completely hypoallergenic cats out there, there are breeds that produce fewer proteins. And choosing to own a cat from one of these breeds can significantly reduce how frequently or severely you experience your cat allergy symptoms.
To learn more about these near-allergen-free felines, take a look at the following list.
If you’re looking for an elegant, yet friendly near-allergen-free breed, look no further than the Balinese. These cats sport silky, flowing pale fur coats alongside a vastly affectionate personality. And luckily, their fur coat only has one layer instead of the natural two layers that many other longhair breeds have. So grooming is easy and you have fewer allergens to worry about.
For those of you who’d rather own what looks like an exotic wildcat, you might, instead, choose to go with the Bengal. These cats are a mesmerizing breed to own. Not only are they quite confident, devoted pets that possess a beautiful leopard-like coat, but they are also happy to live alongside other pets and interact with the rest of the household. They’ll even enjoy being around water!
So, if you want a unique cat breed that stands out from most other breeds out there and won’t affect your allergies as much, this is the breed for you.
Cats from the Burmese breed are one of the least demanding ones out there. As sable-colored shorthairs, they don’t need much grooming. And as family members, they love having your attention as much as possible, but not to the extent that they will demand it. Instead, fearless and playful, they will follow you wherever you go, enjoying their time spent with you. They’ll even go so far as to tolerate the family dog (if you have one), and they are considered to be good with children.
It’s important to note though that these cats tend to be overly trusting. And coupled with their fearless nature, they can unintentionally run into any number of dangers if they’re let outdoors.
Enjoy lots of chatter? Then, go with the Colorpoint Shorthair! This breed is affectionate and loves to talk, whether it’s just to purr contentedly on your lap or to give you the daily gossip as you walk through the house. They’re also quite an intelligent breed, easily learning to play fetch or interact with more complex toys.
What’s more, like their Siamese relatives, Colorpoint Shorthairs are easily manageable. They sport a similar shorthair coat that requires little grooming and looks gorgeous, displaying a largely white body with colored tips around the face, limbs, and tail. And they need nutritious food rich in protein alongside enough exercise to keep their slim, muscular body in shape.
Covered in a one-layer curly coat and poised in stature similar to that of a Whippet with elfin ears, the Cornish Rex is an extremely active cat. For the entirety of their life, you can expect to enjoy and at times put up with their kitten antics, whether that’s playing games of fetch and catch or watching them use their agile paws to pick up and throw items around. But despite the immense energy required to keep track of them, they make for loving companions.
Similar in appearance and style to the Cornish Rex, the Devon Rex is also quite active and has even grown a funny reputation because of it. Labeled as a mix between a cat, dog, monkey, and Dennis the Menace, this breed is well-known for its playful and mischievous nature. They’re curious about anything and everything around them and willing to get into anything if you let them. They’re also notorious food hounds, as they will go for any food on your plate.
But when they’re not getting things they shouldn’t, the Devon Rex is happy to spend all their time with you. So you can expect to find them sitting on your shoulder while you read, talking to you as you do household chores, or even just sleeping under the covers with you as the two of you sleep.
The Devon Rex is social that it’s not advised to leave them on their own for long periods of time. Even just the company of other pets is more preferred than being left alone entirely! So make sure you have someone to comfort your Devon if you’re planning on going out.
Another Siamese relation like the Colorpoint Shorthair, the Javanese is equally affectionate and easy to groom, but not as chatty. They don’t want to tell you all about their day that frequently. Instead, they’re more than happy to just be near you wherever you let them. And in turn, they’ll grace you with the presence of a silky-coated, graceful friend while occasionally talking to you in a variety of voices, depending on what they need or want.
Known as either the Oriental or the Oriental Shorthair, this breed is another offshoot of the Siamese, and they’re here to claim your daily schedule. Closely bonding with people they deem as their own, the Oriental will involve themselves throughout the lives of their owners. Whether that means examining your toothbrush for you before use or letting you know what you should pick from the refrigerator, the Oriental is here to make their presence (and opinions) known.
If left to their own devices, the Oriental will likely start going through drawers, purses, or other areas. They are a curious and intelligent breed, so nothing stops them from taking a look unless you’re there to divert their attention.
But once you’re there, they will be more than happy to do anything to please you.
A gentle, timid breed, the Russian Blue can be an elusive beauty to strangers. They display a stunningly shiny blue shorthair coat framed around brilliant green eyes. Strangers might not get to see this view often or at all, but owners will be pleased to see their Russian Blue quite frequently. Sensitive to the moods of their owner, the Russian Blue will always be there for comfort.
Considered a national Russian treasure, the Siberian reflects that representation through their illustrious triple-layered, water-repellent coat. This coat may seem like it would create more allergens and be less favorable to people with cat allergies. But the Siberian tends to produce fewer allergens.
On top of that, this breed is very personable. They love being in the company of their owner, children, dogs, and any other animals really. No matter the type of company, the Siberian generally remains naturally calm, fearless, and easygoing.
Surprisingly originating from Toronto, Canada, the Sphynx typically has little to no fur all over its body. Covered in cute, colored wrinkly skin, this breed will need special care when it comes to grooming. They can’t absorb their bodily oils through fur, so you’ll need to periodically bathe them and clean their ears and nails.
But on the plus side, this breed produces fewer allergens than other breeds, so they are much less likely to trigger an allergic reaction. And they are quite affectionate, always wanting to be with their owner or show off in front of their owner.
Don’t forget to consider allergy medication for further relief.
After finding which of these hypoallergenic cats suit you and your allergies, you may still want to look for allergy medication. After all, there’s always a chance that your new feline friend will trigger your allergies. No matter the breed they come from, they will still produce dander and saliva!
Antihistamines, such as Claritin®, provide you with a fast-relief response. So as soon as you notice your cat allergies starting to act up, you can take an antihistamine and feel better in no time. But some can make you feel drowsy, which you might not want if you tend to do activities that require your full attention.
Corticosteroids, such as FLONASE®, will work more effectively than antihistamines, but they take time to work.
Both forms of medication have their pros and cons, so you need to determine what will work best for you.
Then, you’ll be allergy-free enough to celebrate your newfound cat ownership with your feline friend for years to come!