If you suffer from allergies, then hypoallergenic cat breeds can be the best of both worlds. These fabulous felines make great pets - without the constant sneezing and itching associated with having a cuddle with your nearest feline friend.
You may feel that your allergies are putting you off adopting a cat or become frustrated that you're not able to enjoy the comfort of a pet like other people can. You're not alone! According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology people are twice as likely to suffer from cat allergies than dog allergies. But this doesn’t have to put you off.
Your allergies are not actually from a cat’s fur. It’s a protein called Fel D1 found in their skin, saliva and urine that hangs around in the air and on the furniture when they lick their fur or shed dander (flakes of skin in their fur). While there is technically no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat, some breeds are less likely to make you suffer as they have less of the allergen protein or don’t shed as much. These are our top 10 “hypoallergenic” cat breeds.PetsRadar's guide to hypoallergenic cat breeds1. Balinese
Known as the long-haired Siamese, this elegant breed shares many of the same features including stunning blue eyes and a beautiful, soft coat. While they do need weekly brushing, the Balinese has a single-layer coat and so does not shed a lot. It also produces less of the Fel D1 protein than other cats so you can spend more time playing with this fun-loving feline. Similar to the Siamese, the breed is a curious, playful and chatty companion.2. Javanese
While cats can have up to three layers of fur, the Javanese is another breed with no undercoat (just one layer), which means it sheds less and is more allergy-friendly. The long-haired breed is also similar to the Siamese. The playful cat will follow you around wherever you go trying to be helpful. While not as vocal as the Siamese they still like to talk and they’re intelligent cats, which makes them good with children.3. Devon Rex
Nicknamed Pixie cat because of its big ears, large eyes and elfish face, you’ll have lots of fun with this mischievous and affectionate breed – even if you suffer from allergies. While the Devon Rex’s coat has three layers and is soft and curly, they are short-haired cats, which means they have less fur than other breeds and they shed less so you’ll be able to play with them and receive lots of cuddles. Playful, fun-loving and curious they love to spend time with their owners.4. Cornish Rex
The Cornish Rex is another short-haired “hypoallergenic” breed that doesn’t shed as much as other cats, although you will need to bathe them as oil does build up on their skin. You’ll want this affectionate cat on your lap as its single-layer coat is soft like suede and will keep you warm with its cuddles. But the slender and athletic cat is also a social, active and inquisitive breed. They love to play and leap – you can even train them to fetch.5. Siberian
It may surprise you that the semi-long-haired Siberian is often referred to as a “hypoallergenic” breed. While it has a thick, three-layered coat adapted for the Siberian climate, this affectionate cat has low levels of the Fel D1 protein so you can give it plenty of snuggles – although it will still need regular brushing throughout the week. The Siberian is an agile and playful breed and not only loves its owner, but also gets on well with other cats, dogs and children.6. Sphynx
It’s no surprise that the sphynx is on this list. This unique breed is hairless making it super allergy-friendly. But while its lack of coat means it won’t need brushing, the breed still needs frequent baths or sponging down to stop oil build up on its skin. The Sphynx may not be furry, but it still enjoys hugs and you will too, as their skin is warm making them like your own personal hot water bottle. Other than affection, the breed is very lively and loves attention, but can also be a little mischievous.7. Russian Blue
Easily identifiable with its soft, silvery grey coat and piercing green eyes, the Russian Blue is also allergy-friendly. Despite its dense double coat adapted for the harsh climate in Russia, the short-haired breed does not shed a lot and has low levels of the allergen proteins making it a great choice for a pet. They’re not only loveable, but intelligent and playful. They’ll come greet you at the door, sit with you and may even learn to play fetch.8. Oriental Shorthair
The Oriental Shorthair has fine, silky fur, which can be short or long and comes in a multitude of colours. This breed doesn’t need a lot of grooming and sheds very little, making it a perfect pet for allergy-sufferers. This attention-seeker has lots of energy and loves to entertain so it’s not a good idea to leave it home alone for too long and you’ll want to make sure it has plenty of toys to play with.9. Bengal
This short-haired cat stands out with its thick, spotted coat as it looks like a wildcat. Not only beautiful, its coat doesn’t shed as much as other breeds, making it easier to keep your allergies at bay. While they’re sweet-natured and affectionate, the breed is also very active and energetic so will want space to climb, jump and run around, but they’ll be lots of fun as pets. They like company as they will want to play, but if there are kids in the house it's best to introduce them as kittens.10. LaPerm
Known for its curly coat, the LaPerm is another surprise on the list of “hypoallergenic” breeds. Despite its fluffy coat, this breed is quite low-maintenance, doesn’t shed much and its curls keep in the dander, making it easier on the eyes and nose. The loveable breed makes a wonderful lap cat, but is also quite active and when you’re up and about will follow you around. They make good family pets and get on well with children and cat-friendly dogs. Just be careful not to let younger children pull at its curls.Beat the allergies
While choosing a “hypoallergenic” cat breed will give you the best chance of avoiding the sniffles, there are other things you can do to help. First, you’ll want to keep your house clean and always have your vacuum to hand. Keep the windows open, close off certain rooms to your pets, bathe them at least every two weeks and make sure someone (probably not you) is brushing them and getting rid of the excess hair. Hopefully with the help of our list, you can find the perfect allergy-friendly cat for you.Zara Gaspar
Former editor of World of Animals magazine, Zara is a freelance writer with a passion for wildlife. Born in South Africa, she developed a love of animals from an early age. She is currently looking for a bigger house just so she can get a cat and a dog.
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