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Hypoallergenic Cats that Produce Less Dander

Updated on December 19, 2019
Donna-Rayne profile image

Donna has been a cat parent and writer for many years and her passion is to share her love for cats with others.

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Can You Be Allergic to Some Cats and Not Others?

Have you ever noticed that when some people come in contact with cats they start to sneeze, their eyes start to water? And what about guests or family members who can't tolerate being around your cat or you have allergies to your own cat? What is it about cat hair that does this to people? What are we allergic to and are there breeds of cats that are hypoallergenic?

Low-Allergen Cats

Hypoallergenic cats aka low-allergen cats, these cats have low-allergen qualities that make it possible for most allergy sufferers to come in contact with a cat or to even own one. And if you do own one it can help prevent those watery eyes and sneezing fits that are associated with cats!

The Scientificness of Cat Dander

“George, it’s got to be you making our cat parents sneeze!” “Seriously, Henry, I thought you just passed gas!”
“George, it’s got to be you making our cat parents sneeze!” “Seriously, Henry, I thought you just passed gas!”

“Fel d 1 is a protein that in cats is encoded by the CH1 (chain 1/Fel d 1-A) and CH2 (chain 2/Fel d 1-B) genes. Fel d 1, produced largely in cat saliva and sebaceous glands, is the primary allergen present in cats and kittens and Fel d 1 is also produced by cat skin itself.” -Wikipedia Fel D1

What Causes This Allergy?

Some people are allergic to cats but, be rest assured it's a common allergy that cat lovers and non-cat lovers have! What causes this allergy is the protein in the cat’s saliva, skin, and urine resulting in “dander.” Cat's get this on their fur during grooming sessions and when the dander dries it becomes airborne and sticks on every surface that your cat comes in contact with.

Allergic Reactions Long After the Cat Has Left the Building

Fel D 1 is why people have allergic reactions long after the cat has left the house! It is the result of their dander which is so small that it remains airborne for an extended period of time and allergy sufferers can and will inhale this dander!

Microscopic views of pet dander.
Microscopic views of pet dander.

What Does Science Say About This?

Cat allergies are caused by your body’s immune system that acts like it’s being attacked by these harmless proteins and this causes inflammation that makes your eyes water and itch, causes nasal congestion and sneezing.

For the most part, when cat "adopting/shopping" keep in mind that not all cats are hypoallergenic, in the past there were some cat breeders that tried to breed 100% pure “hypoallergenic” cats in which they had no success at all because it’s just not possible because of this Fel D1 allergen.

Oh dear, I wonder what their thinking, I know I must have it too… Poor George!
Oh dear, I wonder what their thinking, I know I must have it too… Poor George!

Hypoallergenic Cats Produce Less Dander

However, there are hypoallergenic cats that produce less of this Fel D1 protein and this means less chance of allergy sufferers to be allergic to a specific cat breed! There's a small variety of hypoallergenic breeds to choose from ranging from shorthaired, longhaired, fluffy and hairless. These breeds don't shed as much (hairless don't at all obviously) It all depends on what you like and how the cat fits into your family and lifestyle!

Did You Know?

Male cats produce more of the Fel D1 protein than female cats and kittens produce less!

Hypoallergenic Breeds that Produce Less Dander

12 Cat Breeds That Are Hypoallergenic

  • Balinese
  • Oriental Shorthair
  • Javanese
  • Cornish Rex
  • Bengals
  • Sphynx
  • Siberian
  • Burmese
  • Colorpoint Shorthair
  • Ocicat Devon Rex
  • Siamese
  • Russian Blue

Now, let’s look at the most beautiful hypoallergenic cats and the different breeds! Ultimately, their nature and personalities are wonderful and some love to cuddle, take walks and others love to nap next to you and spend time with their family!

The Burmese Beauty - AKA the Chocolate Siamese

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Possible Congenital Deformity

The Burmese may be carriers of a congenital deformity that doesn’t affect the parents but it will affect the kittens. Additionally, the Burmese ancestry dates back from Southeast Asia and they were imported to Britain by soldiers who adored them.

Did You Know?

The coloring of the Burmese cat is the foundation for several “new” breeds such as Bombay, Tonkinese, and Burmilla.

Coloring Foundation of "New Breeds"

The Burmese coloring is beautiful and robust and has become the foundation for several “new” breeds such as Bombay, Tonkinese, and Burmilla.

Attributes of the Burmese Cat:

  • Amusing
  • Playful
  • Super smart
  • Very talkative
  • Short-haired
  • Silky coat
  • Muscular (beautiful to watch them move!)
  • Produce less of the Fel D1 allergy-causing protein
  • A highly social cat
  • Easy to groom – very little grooming is needed for this feline
  • Longevity
  • An extremely healthy cat

The Gorgeous Siberian Cat

Siberian and Siberian crosses are the best-tolerated cats for those who have allergies. They produce less of the proteins that cause the allergen itself.

Did you know that the Siberian cat is the national cat of Russia and they’re also known as the Siberian Forest Cat, however, they’re usually referred to as the Siberian or the Siberian cat and the Moscow Semi-Long-hair cat?

Did You Know?

The Siberian cat is the national cat of Russia AKA the Siberian Forest Cat.

The Siberian Cats Claim to Fame

Unlike the Rex or Sphynx cat breeds, the Siberian cats claim to fame is due to the belief they produce either none or very little of the allergen compared to other cats. Some allergy sufferers have reported having absolutely zero allergic reactions when surrounded by this cat!

Attributes of the Siberian Cat:

  • Medium to large cats – considered one of the largest breeds
  • Excellent mousers- they no longer have to work on farms keeping the Siberian granaries mouse-free
  • Fluffy Cats – With dense-lush fur allows this cat to withstand harsh Russian winters.
  • Three layers to their coats with a moderately long coat.
  • Love-to-play
  • A few personality quirks – they love to play in the water and love taking a full bath!
  • Extremely gentle feline – with a great temperament
  • Affectionate with its family

Allergy Sufferers Reported

Some allergy sufferers have reported having absolutely zero allergic reactions when surrounded by this cat!

The Bengal Cat AKA the Asian Leopard Cat

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Bengals Are A Mixed Breed

Bengals are a mix between a domestic cat and an Asian Leopard cat and they come in a variety of beautiful colors with distinct markings. It's wise to prepare your budget before buying this cat breed because they are well over 2k if not more!

A High Energy Cat!

This cat is a moderately healthy breed and is only recommended for families who have experience with large cats who have an incredible amount of energy because Bengal cats are the most energetic of the top 5 best hypoallergenic cats, therefore, prepare yourself to take this cat for daily walks more than once a day!

However, it’s important to note that this cat is well over 2k if not more!

Attributes of the Bengal Cat:

  • A very large breed- considered one of the largest in the world today!
  • Playful and full of energy by nature loves to run and be walked on a leash
  • Extremely Affectionate – a very loving cat
  • Athletic – not a lap cat – but enjoys human company
  • Doesn’t shed much – they groom themselves, so you will only need to occasionally groom them.
  • Their fur has less of the Fel D1 protein allergen

The Wildlike Ocicat

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Developed by Accident

Ocicats resemble ocelots, an endangered wild cat that ranges from southwestern Texas to Argentina. The Ocicat is the first domestic breed to resemble a wildcat.

According to ihypoallergeniccats.com:

“This cat was developed by accident in 1964 when a breeder Virginia Daly crossed a Siamese cat with the Abyssinian. The idea was to create Abyssinian – Pointed Siamese. The first generation appeared as Abyssinian but the result of the second generation was a spotted kitten that was named “Ocicat”. The American Shorthair was added to the breeding line giving the breed a silver coat and a larger, more muscular body and the result was a cat that looked like it stepped out of the wild.”

Ocicat Breed - Courtesy of All About Animals Channel

More Like Dogs than Cats

Some people say that Ocicats are more like dogs than cats! They can be trained to fetch, sit & lie down and do other dog-related tricks.

Attributes of the Ocicat:

  • American shorthair – Low in the shedding department
  • Extremely affectionate – they love to be a part of family life
  • Love games and toys.
  • Make great family pets and are devoted to the family
  • Big-boned cat
  • Extremely strong
  • Low maintenance in the grooming department
  • Generally healthy – except for some dental issues
  • Highly sociable-loving cat

The Striking Russian Blue

British Soldiers Brought This Cat Home

The Russian Blue has been loved for many, many years and it’s believed that British soldiers brought this cat home from the White Sea port town of Archangel (Arkhangelsk) from Northern Russia.

Attributes of The Russian Blue:

  • Fine-boned
  • Muscular
  • Elegant slender cat
  • Graceful, gentle and sweet
  • Gentle with children – a sweet cat that adores people
  • Pet and kid-friendly – love to play
  • Plush coat – seldom sheds
  • Shy around strangers – reserved
  • Very intelligent – Trainable to chase toys, fetch and chase sunbeams!
  • Can be left alone and amuse itself for hours
  • Low in the Fel D1 protein causing allergen

Scientists claim that 5 – 15% of the world population is allergic to cats?

Relief for Dander Sensitivities

How to Prevent and Relieve Cat Allergy Symptoms

If you experience mild allergies while in the presence of your cat there are several ways to prevent and/or relieve these cat allergy symptoms.

Helpful Tips:

  • Purchase a Pet Air Purifier: helps reduce the protein allergens in the home.
  • Use a good brush to keep your feline groomed
  • Wash bedding and toys at least once a week
  • Make sure to wash your hands after handling your cat
  • Refrain from touching your face or eyes after contact with your cat
  • Keep cat litter in a well-aired area and wash hands after cleaning it
  • Take over the counter allergy relief medications in order to relieve your symptoms

Do a little research of your own and find out what’s best for your family and remember a healthy cat is a happy cat!

Informed Decisions

Now that you have information about hypoallergenic cats, you can make an informed decision on choosing the right cat for our family. One thing to remember is that when you get a hypoallergenic cat it may not be a 100% dander or Fel D1 free.

Do a little research of your own and find out what’s best for your family and remember a healthy cat is a happy cat!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2019 Donna Rayne

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    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 months ago from Sutter Creek

      Thank you so much, Linda, I am glad you enjoyed it!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for creating this informative and interesting article. I always enjoy learning more about cats.

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