In our perfect dream world, every person out there who wanted to, would get to experience the love of a cat. But for many, there’s one big old problem standing in the way of this dream – allergies.
Streaming noses, red itchy eyes, sneezing, hives, the list goes on and for a lot of unfortunate friends, just a little head bump or sneaky chin scratch is enough to set off an entire host of struggles. *weep* Queen Rue once lived with a sensitive housemate who insisted on wearing gloves just so they could enjoy a cat cuddle. But are there any breeds out there that might be able to break the cycle and fill the cat-shaped hole in the home of those of us unfortunate enough to suffer with allergies?
First we need to understand what it is about these little innocent fluff bags that causes the reactions. Our favourite felines produce a protein, mainly in their saliva, called ‘Fel d 1’, which they spread through their glossy coats during their grooming sessions. So it isn’t the floof follicles themselves that cause the problem, but their secret saliva solution that gets the humans itching. The unavoidable shedding then distributes the dander (the term used for the microscopic pieces of dead skin that animals with fur or feathers shed into their surrounding environment) through the home, and voila, allergies are activated. This protein is produced by all cats, however it may still be possible to own your own purr machine, despite certain allergies.
According to studies, there is no such thing as a ‘hypoallergenic cat’. But the amount of ‘Fel d 1’ can greatly differ in amount from cat to cat, depending on their breed and even between males and females. Neutered male tom cats have been shown to produce up to 5 times less of the protein after their op, and females produce even less of the proteins than males. So whilst there may not be a perfectly hypoallergenic dream cat breed out there just yet, there could be some options to work with that will cause a lot less symptoms than your average mog.
So let’s get to the good bit, cat pics and compromise. Those of you deciding whether to run the risk and take a sweet little furbaby into your home and become attached to a Kleenex forever more, may want to take a little look at these little cuties for a less sneezy and more kneady future…
To skip to the cat most suitable for you, use this handy guide:
Family friendly cats
Low maintenance cats
High energy cats
Family friendly cats
Siberians are one of the special breeds thought to have less Fel d 1 than other cats. Great for allergens, they are on the larger side of the cat scale and require regular grooming for their triple layered coat. But those of you looking for love from a furry friend, might want to consider the Siberian for big brains and plenty of snuggles, as long as you don’t mind scheduling in some daily pampering.
Another breed said to have a little less Fel d 1 than others means they’re easier to tolerate for our allergy suffering friends. Similar in looks to a Siamese, these regal beauties have a long coat which is easy to maintain and surprisingly low shedding. Sounds like a win win. The Balinese is known to get on well with other pets and even children, so could make a great family companion for those parents who have said no for a little too long.
Another silky contender for the sneeze brigade are the Burmese. Not as low shedding as some of the other candidates, but still pretty up there in comparison to your everyday domestic puss, these guys make for great family cats and love being the centre of attention. They love to chat and have a big brain, so will need plenty of stimulation and fuss.
- Russian Blue
These stand out stunners of the cat world are known for their unique appearance and beautiful grey blue coats. Their surprisingly dense coat does shed a little more than our previous suggestions, so may not be the first pick for serious sufferers. However with regular grooming on the daily, you can keep that coat under control and minimise allergens. These sweethearts are soft and gentle souls that are happy both hanging out with family and spending some quality time alone. They can sometimes be a little shy so may do best in a calm and peaceful home.
Low maintenance cats
- Cornish Rex
These adorable littles rex’s have a short curly coat that sits close to their bodies and is low shedding. These cats can work really well for those with allergies and curious little guys with a quirky look and a big heart. Be ready to gain a shadow around the house if opting for a Rex.
- Devon Rex
Similar to their Cornish friends, the Devon Rex also has a short coat which is known for shedding less than many of it’s feline friends. Their fur is thin and fine, and can be easily wiped down to spread their natural oils through their coat and keep them clean. With a loud purr and a lot of energy, these kittens make for great companions, if you don’t mind their more cheeky side.
High energy cats
Ok, ok some of you may be thinking well obviously?! But it isn’t the lack of hair on these beautiful baldies that will stop the snot. It comes back down to the dander, which they do still produce, but can be much more easily minimised in amount with regular bath times. Bundles of fun, and super smart, the Sphynx can make the perfect pet for those willing to put in the work (see our Selfcare for Sphynx Cats article for some top tips on owning one of these nakey noodles).
- Oriental Shorthair
With their slinky low shedding coats and unique features, Oriental Shorthairs are thought to be great for the allergy sufferers among us. Chatty little things with bundles of energy, this breed could make for the perfect housemate for an outgoing and active individual who’s looking for some company at home.
If your home feels a little on the quiet side day to day, then a Javanese might be the one for you. Similar to a Siamese, these cats have a big voice and will definitely fill the silence with their chirping, so expect some back chat. As well as good conversation, these felines are fairly athletic and love to explore. On the allergen side, their coat is short and low shedding due to not having an undercoat.
If you’ve got a little more time on your hands and can handle some high maintenance cattitude, then we reckon you should opt for an Ocicat. Super high in energy with a brain to match, these athletic little ninjas are outgoing, active and ready for fun. Another low shedding specimen, these cats can make themselves at home with plenty of company, and will even give your dog the run around. Be ready for some serious playtime.
If you are starting to reconsider and sway towards a more hypoallergenic kitten to share your life with, just be sure that you’re definitely ready to commit. Cats are for life, so it’s super important to meet your prospective pal in advance and assess the allergies before committing to taking home the furry bean forever. It’s also pretty important for both of you to be able to live your best lives that you commit to daily grooming for the fluffbag, so their coats stay glossy and your eyes remain itch-free. We adore sharing our lives with cats (and now we want 10 more of them) and the joy they bring to our homes. We really hope this may have helped you see that a cat-panion may not be as impossible as you first thought if you suffer with allergies.
The Republic x
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By Lois Roberts