Many people are allergic to cats. There is no cure, as such, but there are several breeds that, in most cases, don’t trigger the sneezing and wheezing associated with such allergies. These breeds are called “Hypoallergenic”, and the key fact is that they don’t shed very much fur and dander – the usual cause of the problem.
Many people have a violent allergic reaction to cats
It starts with a sneeze and ends with a wheeze… It may surprise you to learn that it’s not actually the hair itself that most people are allergic to. It’s down to certain proteins secreted onto the hair via the cat’s skin (Fel d1 protein), and via its saliva (Fel d4 protein).
These are among the top hypoallergenic breeds - the one that most people won't be allergic to:
1 - Sphynx
The strikingly unusual looking Sphynx - no hair, no allergies
Being fur-free, this could be the perfect cat for the allergy sufferer. However, the Sphynx requires special care, so it’s not a purchase to rush into without foreknowledge.
2 - Cornish Rex
A Cornish Rex cat with a beautiful tabby coat - and one that won't provoke allergies
These have less hair than other breeds. Most cat’s fur has three layers: a top layer of ‘guard’ hair, a middle one known as ‘awn’ hair and a bottom one of ‘down’ hair. The Cornish Rex has just the downy bottom layer. This means they shed a lot less hair and are therefore less likely to spread the allergy-provoking proteins.
3 - Devon Rex
A young Devon Rex - minimal sneezing hazards!
Like the Devon Rex cat, this breed possesses only the downy bottom layer of fur. It has even less hair than its Cornish cousin.
4 - Oriental
A black Oriental Shorthair cat: another breed with a hypoallergenic coat
This breed has a short, fine coat and sheds very little. Brushing regularly will help remove any loose hairs, reducing the amount of shed hair even further.
5 - Russian Blue
A Russian Blue cat: lots of fur, but not the sort that provokes sneezing and wheezing
Being cute furry things, Russian Blues don’t look as if they should be hypoallergenic at all. However, they produce very little of the allergy-provoking Fel d1 protein.
6 - Balinese
A tabby Balinese cat: beauty and nose-friendliness combined!
Like the Russian Blue, the skin of the Balinese produces less Fel d1 than most breeds, minimising the chances of allergic reaction.
7 - Siberian
A Siberian Cat with a hypoallergenic coat balancing a leaf on its head
Possibly the most surprising one in the list, the Siberian has a beautiful long coat – surely a nightmare for allergy sufferers? However. like the Russian Blue and Balinese, it produces very little of the offending Fel d1 protein.
A Bengal Cat: beauty and hypoallergenic coat combined!
These don’t seem to produce less Fel d1 protein than other breeds, but their short coat sheds very little and is therefore less likely to cause allergic problems.