Cat Breeds for People with Allergies
Sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy mouth and throat, hives... if you're allergic to cats, you probably recognize these symptoms right away. Allergies are never pleasant to experience, especially when it comes to suffering from an allergic reaction to such cute creatures. While pet allergies aren't super common — only 10% of the US population has reported an allergy to animals — cat allergies are two times more common than dog allergies.
Many people who are allergic to dogs have been able to become dog owners still thanks to the prevalence of hypoallergenic dog breeds. While there are no animals that are truly 100% allergen-free, breeds that are hypoallergenic are considered to have very little likelihood of causing a reaction. But what about cats? Is there cat breeds out there considered hypoallergenic? You bet there are, and if you keep reading, we'll go over what causes people to be allergic to cats, the best cat breeds for people with allergies, and some tips on how to help prevent reactions.
What Causes Allergies to Cats?
You may be wondering why some people are more prone to cat allergies and what actually causes an allergic reaction. Despite what most of us have always thought, it's not actually catted hair that causes allergies! Cats produce a protein called the Fel d 1 protein. It's found in their saliva, urine, and dander, or dry skin flakes that build up on their fur. The Fel d 1 lingers in the air longer because it's so small, and it's incredibly sticky. Because cats spend much of their time grooming, their fur and dander collect the protein. When they shed — which they do everywhere and all the time — the protein is spread around more, sticks to everything, stays airborne, and leads to a reaction. People who have other allergies and who have asthma tend to be more prone to cat allergies, but they're really isn't consistent data to show why some people are more susceptible to cat allergies than others.
What are the Best Cat Breeds for People with Allergies?
Cat breeds? No allergy? Really? Yep! Thankfully for cat lovers who are allergic, there are some cat breeds that are hypoallergenic because they possess less of the Fel d 1 protein than other cat breeds. The best cat breeds for allergies are:
Balinese cats are often called the long hair Siamese because they have similar eye color and fur traits, darker ears, legs, and tails. They're on the smaller and leaner side and are incredibly playful, active, and smart felines.
It's believed that all modern long-haired cats are descendants of Siberian cats and they're considered Russia's native forest cat. Siberians are medium to large in size and are playful, friendly with children, and incredibly strong.
3) Devon Rex
You'll know a Devon Rex when you see it because they have large and distinctive eyes and ears and a small to the medium-sized body. They have soft, curly fur that no other breed has and are considered to be forever kittens at heart because they're so playful.
4) Cornish Rex
Cornish Rex cats have a small downy layer of fur and they're known for their minimal shedding.
They too have large eyes and ears and smaller bodies and are incredibly affectionate and adventurous.
Sphynx cats are also called hairless cats because you guessed it, they have no fur. Their skin feels like velvet or a peach, and they're incredibly affectionate, intelligent, and loving.
6) Russian Blue
Russian Blue cats have bright green eyes and a blueish gray coat. They're loyal, intelligent, and somewhat shy.
Bengal cats are a cross between a domestic cat and an Asian Leopard cat and have very distinct markings. They have both stripes and spots, and they love playing in the water!
Regardless of which breed of cat you choose, you should also take extra care to reduce allergens in your home. You should regularly take your cat to get groomed, vacuum and dust your home more frequently, keep the air in your house clean with an air purifier by opening doors and windows, and wash your hands after handling your kitty.
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