Are you highly allergic to cats? Then it is better not to have a cat in the house. But for mild complaints, a hypoallergenic cat might be a solution. Here we tell you how to handle a cat allergy and which cat breeds spread fewer allergens.
Cat allergy in brief
Do you suffer from stinging and watery eyes, itchy skin, tightness of the chest or sneezing when you are near a cat? Then you are probably allergic to cats . Your body mistakenly sees cat dander or saliva as dangerous and reacts to it with an allergic reaction.
Very annoying, of course. When you visit people with cats, for example. But also if you have cats at home or would like to have them. Proper cleaning and antihistamine pills often provide some relief. But that is not a solution if you like cats.
Is your love of cats so great that – despite your allergy – you would like to have a cat in the house? Then you can investigate whether a hypoallergenic cat is something for you. But read this first.
What is a hypoallergenic cat?
The word ‘hypoallergenic’ means that something – a cat in this case – is little or less than normally allergenic. Or, in other words: less allergens are spread. In the case of hypoallergenic cats, it means that these cat breeds would cause fewer allergic reactions in people who are allergic. But watch out.
A 100% hypoallergenic cat does not exist.
No cat and no breed of cat is hypoallergenic. Every cat of every breed spreads allergens and this always ends up in your environment, in your airways or on your skin. And that causes an allergic reaction as well.
Many people think that the allergy is caused by the cat’s fur and hair. But that isn’t true. Because the allergens are in the cat’s skin or saliva. Less hairy or hairless cats also trigger allergic reactions in people who are allergic to cats. And are therefore not hypoallergenic.
Breeders of hypoallergenic cats
There are many breeders who falsely claim to sell cat breeds that do not cause allergic reactions – the Sphynx, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Oriental Shorthair, Russian Blue, Balinese, Siberian cat and Bengal breeds, for example.
Although these pedigree cats may be slightly less allergenic and people with mild cat allergies may tolerate them better, these breeds are definitely not hypoallergenic.
For the cat lover, of course, this is not good news. And we understand that very well, because cats are super cute. We would have liked to tell you something else. But we also want to avoid disappointment. It is much more annoying if you have to part with your cat again at a later date.
And it is even worse for the cat, because it has to go to the shelter or another home.
So is a hypoallergenic cat nonsense?
If you are allergic to cats, it is indeed better not to get one. What a pity. But if you have a very mild cat allergy, you might want to test which breeds you do or do not react to.
This can be done by going to a (recognised!) breeder – or an acquaintance who has a cat of a certain breed – and spending a few hours with the animal. And be sure to repeat it a few times to see how you react.
But always keep in mind that an allergy can get worse over the years. Are you in doubt? Then choose another pet – a dog, rabbit or guinea pig in the house is also a lot of fun!
Petrebels is not a doctor or veterinarian: all content, information and tips on this blog are intended to inform you. Do you or your cat have any complaints or problems? Or do you have doubts about your cat’s health? Always see a vet or behaviourist.
1] cat allergy blog: https://www.petrebels.com/en/cat-allergy-what-it-is-and-how-to-solve-it/