14 Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds for Those With Allergies
For those people who think hypoallergenic cats exist, we hate to break it to you — there are no truly hypoallergenic cat breeds. But there are some cats that are better for people with allergies. These cats don’t produce as much of the protein that triggers allergies, and they also shed less.
So, if you’ve always wanted to own a cat but were worried about having a sneezing fit, these breeds are your best bet for cat ownership.
While Siberians don’t have short hair, they are good for people who have allergies. They do shed moderately, which means they need regular, once-a-week grooming to remove debris and loose hair and keep their coats unmatted.
To further keep their shedding manageable, contain it as best as possible to a small area like a cat bed. Proper nutrition is also crucial in keeping their skin and overall health in check.
Owning a Siberian
Siberians are generally healthy and don’t suffer many of the illnesses and diseases that other cats do; therefore, their long-term medical costs are lower than most other felines.
They can be pricey at up to $2,000 from a breeder, with cats of high pedigree ranging in price from $2,500 to $4,000. Your best bet is to find one at a rescue or shelter.
While Balinese cats are not necessarily hypoallergenic, they are said to create less of the common allergen, the protein Fel d 1. They also don’t have an undercoat, which means they shed less, and their hair tangles and mats less.
However, if you want to keep your sneezing at bay, routine grooming is a must. Brushing should occur a few times a week to keep their coat healthy and improve circulation.
Owning a Balinese
Balinese live up to 20 years but can have a myriad of health problems. A high-quality diet will keep them healthy for as long as possible and allow them to avoid any weight-related issues. They are known to be extremely picky eaters; if yours is eating all wet food and leaving their kibble behind, don’t fret — they often just like things that way.
But make sure to keep their teeth healthy with regular dental check-ups, as they can develop gingivitis over time. Personality-wise, they’re chatty and friendly, but give them plenty of attention, as they can be destructive if they are left alone for long periods.
With its short, pelt-like fur, as soon as you touch a Bengal, you’ll realize they’re no ordinary cat. They are not big shedders, which means less runny noses and watery eyes for you. However, they produce an average amount of the protein Fel d 1, which floats in the air from hair and dander, so you won’t be entirely without issues, but they do not have an undercoat. This means the protein has less hair to attach itself to and won’t make its way around your home as easy as it would with another breed.
They also groom themselves far less than the average feline, which will also cut down on the spread of dander. A HEPA air filtration system can help keep their shedding to a minimum.
Owning a Bengal
Make sure to feed your Bengal raw food to keep their skin and fur supple. Not only will it give your pet the nutrients they need, its Omega 3 Fatty acids will reduce dander and shedding.
If you know someone with a Bengal, your best bet is to spend a few hours around their pet and see how you react after about 24 hours; if you walk away with minimal sniffles, the Bengal may be the cat for you.
The Cornish Rex may look hairless, but that’s only because their fur is so fine. The cat’s short, wavy coat is the result of a spontaneous mutation that occurs naturally in felines. The first known Cornish Rex made its debut in Cornwall, England in 1950.
Their coat is not the only unusual aspect of the Rex — their egg-shaped head, large ears and eyes, and long hind legs make everyone who’s seen one take pause.
Owning a Cornish Rex
If you have allergies, the Rex is a good possibility for your home. They, too, have a single coat with no undercoat, which means their shedding is minimal compared to that of other breeds.
However, they do need extra protection from the cold and are always searching for warm areas of the home, due to their coats being so thin. They also feel very warm to the touch. You can bathe a Rex regularly — it will cut shedding down even further, and their coat will dry quickly.
The Devon Rex is also the result of a natural mutation. The first one appeared in the late 1950s in Devon, England, a few years after the Cornish Rex. This adorable pet also has a thin, wavy coat with no undercoat, which means it can be a good breed for allergy sufferers.
Gentle grooming works best for the Devon, as their hair can break with rough brushing or combing, and they can even break it off themselves through self-grooming.
Owning a Devon Rex
Frequent, gentle baths with a warm chamois will prevent the Devon’s skin from developing an oily feel. Like the Cornish Rex, they also look for warm places around the home because their coat is so thin.
This active, energetic breed has a fun, clownish personality and will delight and enchant every member of the family. Make sure to give your Devon plenty of attention, and they will reward you handsomely.
This feline’s odd, curly hair looks like the result of a bad … perm. While we’re not sure the breed got its name from that unfortunate hairstyle of the 1970s, it looks far more adorable on the cat!
The LaPerm’s fur is also the result of a genetic mutation, which first appeared around 1982 in The Dalles, Oregon. Kittens can have straight and curly coats, and some breeders have created both long and short-haired cats.
Owning a LaPerm
The LaPerm does have an undercoat; however, they are not big shedders which makes them a good bread for allergy sufferers. These friendly, low-maintenance cats are easy to groom.
To keep them free of mats and tangles, all you need to do is brush them weekly. This will keep the hair they do lose to a minimum; however, when they lose hair, they tend to molt or shed it in clumps, before their new coat comes in.
The Ocicat was deliberately designed to look like a spotted wildcat and made its world debut in 1964. It’s named after the ocelot, which it resembles, but it’s a product of the Siamese and Abyssinian breeds. It has a smooth, short coat and is a light shedder, making it a potentially good choice for allergy sufferers.
Its coat is easy to maintain, and baths are rarely a necessity. Weekly brushing will limit its shedding, and owners also like to rub its fur with a chamois to give it sleek polish. It also produces less of the protein Fel d 1 than a normal cat does.
Owning an Ocicat
This fun cat is said to have more of an outgoing personality than your average tabby; it is said to act more like a dog. It’s very sociable and even plays fetch.
Like a dog, it also needs plenty of human interaction. If you’re away from home often, this may not be the breed for you.
Believe it or not, the Burmese can be traced back to a single ancestor — a female with the name of Wong Mau. She was brought from Burma to the U.S. in 1930, bred with a Siamese cat and created the well-loved, popular breed.
The Burmese carries less of the Fel d 1 protein, making it popular among people with allergies and also has a short, dense, silky coat, meaning it doesn’t shed much. Frequent combing will help it shed even less.
Owning a Burmese
This is also a breed that has a few dog characteristics and does not enjoy solitude. It loves companionship and nothing more than being in your lap.
It will also follow you everywhere, so much so it has been labeled a “velcro cat,” and the National Alliance of Burmese Breeders (NABB) calls it the “the ultimate companion.” Burmese pack a lot of power in a small frame, as they are quite athletic and stocky.
While we don’t know the true origins of the Russian Blue, we do know it first appeared somewhere around northwest Russia. In the 1860s, Russian sailors took a liking to the cats and brought them on seafaring adventures around the world.
They almost went extinct after World War II, but breeders managed to bring them back in numbers by cross breeding them with Siamese, Bluepoint Siamese and British Blues.
Owning a Russian Blue
Russian Blues do have short hair, but they are one of the few felines on this list with a dense, layered coat. What makes them good for those with allergies is that they shed very little.
To keep them free of excess hair and distribute the oils in their skin, brush them at least once a week and more during the spring when they tend to shed more.
The Colorpoint Shorthair was bred from the Siamese and American Shorthair beginning in the 1940s. It is said to have the pointing of the Siamese but comes in a variety of colors and is more muscular.
Another trait they share with the Siamese is that they are good cats for people with allergies in that they have a short coat and shed little.
Owning a Colorpoint Shorthair
Keeping the Shorthair’s coat well-groomed is paramount in keeping your cat happy and your allergies at a bay.
While they do like to groom themselves, your cat will benefit from additional grooming from you to prevent matting, stimulate circulation and distribute oils. Do this at least once a week if you can.
Colorpoint Shorthair Summary
So many of the cats on this list that are great for allergy sufferers are bred from the Siamese. The breed releases less of the Fel D1 protein and doesn’t shed as much as most other breeds.
Its silky hair is said to trap allergens in its skin, which doesn’t allow them to spread everywhere in your environment.
Owning a Siamese
As with other cats on the list, the best defense is a good offense when it comes to lowering allergens. Cats are known to hate baths, but the Siamese is one of the few breeds that learns to love them if they are introduced to them early on.
In the times between baths, regular brushing is a must to keep them from matting and shedding less than they already do.
The Sphynx has no hair, which means the allergens you find with most cats won’t spread, but like the other breeds on this list, it is not 100 percent hypoallergenic. For people with severe allergies, touching their bare skin can cause a serious reaction.
However, if the extent of your allergies is a few sniffles, you may want to consider owning a Sphynx.
Owning a Sphynx
Because of their lack of fur they do need plenty of pampering, which is good because they love being handled, particularly if they are introduced to it at an early age. This is not a low-maintenance companion — they need baths at least once a week to remove the excess oils that would have gone into their hair.
They also do not do well with extreme temperatures — they will need sunscreen in the warmer months and sweaters when the weather turns cold.
The Oriental Shorthair is of Siamese origin and was mixed with a variety of other breeds, including Russian Blues and Abyssinians in the 1950s and 1960s. It comes in a whopping 300 different colors and patterns.
As it is part of the Siamese family of cats, it has the same traits its predecessor does, with less of the Fel D1 protein and less shedding.
Owning an Oriental Shorthair
This silky, short hair doesn’t need much maintenance. If you tend to your Oriental Shorthair with a comb and chamois twice a month, their fur will stay free of mats, tangles and loose hair. Orientals love attention and grooming them is as much about bonding as it is about coat maintenance. They will look forward to the time they spend in your salon chair!
It’s also worth noting that the Oriental Longhair’s name is deceiving. Their coat is actually medium length (as you’ll see in the following stats).
Oriental Longhair Summary
This slender, bushy-tailed feline also has only one coat, which, like their relative the Balinese, means their shedding can be controlled. The Javanese cat has a fine, silky coat that needs minimal grooming.
Combing or brushing once a week will remove dead hair and keep shedding at bay. Baths and further groomings aren’t really a necessity.
Owning a Javanese
These intelligent, communicative, playful and affectionate cats are picky about their litter box, so do keep it tidy. They are also prone to periodontal disease; if you can brush their teeth at least once a week, do.
Also keep their eyes free of discharge by wiping them regularly using a separate cloth for each eye so you don’t transfer a potential infection from one eye to the other. Doing all of these things will keep your cat healthy and your home somewhat free of allergens.