Hypoallergenic cats are cats that are less prone to cause allergic reactions in people. Siberian cats, Devon Rex and Cornish Rex cats, Abyssinian cats, Balinese cats, and several other breeds, particularly females, are likely to have low levels of Fel d 1, the primary allergenic protein, according to owners’ experiences and clinical studies, despite the fact that the subject is debatable.
The Siberian and Balinese cat breeds are the most well-known of those cats mentioned above and are known for being hypoallergenic. Compared to domestic house cats or other cat breeds, these cats produce a significantly lower level of protein allergens.
There may be less protein allergen production in cats with Balinese ancestry. Oriental Longhair, Oriental Shorthair, and some Siamese cat breeds are frequently descended from Balinese people.
The reason for the hypoallergenic reputation of these two breeds of medium- to long-haired cats is that the long-hair gene is associated with the creation of fewer allergens. This may be the case since Balinese cats, which have medium to long hair, are thought to be hypoallergenic while Siamese cats, which have short hair, are not (also known as the Long-haired Siamese cat).
Depending on their Balinese ancestry, certain Siamese cats may have hypoallergenic characteristics. This could provide some evidence that this breed of cat has long-haired genes or other characteristics that enable it to naturally produce fewer cat allergies.
An efficient breeding program for hypoallergenic cats was launched by the Allerca firm in 2006. The allegations of the company are disputed by many experts and customers because no peer-reviewed research has been conducted to support them. According to a statement from the corporation, breeding operations will end on January 1, 2010.
Apparently, a breed of hypoallergenic cat is also being developed by another business, Felix Pets. Female cats create fewer allergies than male cats, while neutered male cats produce fewer allergens than non-neutered male cats.
Researchers from Long Island College Hospital discovered in 2000 that owners of cats with dark coats were more likely to report allergy problems than those with light coats. The Wellington Asthma Research Group eventually discovered that a cat’s fur color had no bearing on how many allergens it produced.
Often, over-the-counter or prescription drugs can control cat allergies. Decongestants and antihistamines could help with allergies.
▪ Injectable immunotherapies: Allergen immunotherapy, a routine injectable therapy intended to reduce the body’s normal immunological reactions to cat allergens, provides relief for certain allergy sufferers.
AIT first used cat dander extract, which is made up of minute flakes of dried cat skin but eventually switched to Fel d 1 due to standardization concerns.
The molecular structure of Fel d 1 is one method by which researchers employ it in immunotherapy. Breaking the disulfide bridges between the Fel d 1 chains decreased the allergen’s ability to bind to immunoglobulin E (IgE), which prevented an allergic reaction.
▪ Cat Bathing: Significant levels of allergens in a cat’s fur may be eliminated by bathing it frequently. Within two days of bathing, the levels of Fel d 1 on cat skin and fur return.
In addition, after bathing the cat for 24 hours, the levels of Fel d 1 in the air around the cat return. A high-quality feed rich in omega-3 fatty acids will nourish the cat’s hair and reduce dandruff.
▪ Creation of alternative therapies: A number of human vaccines, including Allervax and Cat-SPIRE, have been canceled in development. In order to lessen the emission of Fel d 1 proteins, the Swiss business HypoPet AG is working on a vaccine that it expects cats will receive in 2019.
One of the most typical allergies among people is an allergy to cats. The most prominent allergen among the eight recognized cat allergens is secretoglobin Fel d 1, which is produced by the anal, salivary, and primarily sebaceous glands of cats. It is extremely common in the United States, even in homes without cats.
Coughing, wheezing, chest constriction, itching, nasal congestion, rash, watery eyes, sneezing, chapped lips, and similar symptoms are all allergic reactions that are linked to cats. In the worst-case circumstances, cat allergies can progress into more serious illnesses including rhinitis and mild to severe asthma.
Despite these signs, there are a variety of treatments available, such as prescription drugs, immunizations, and natural cures, to lessen the impact of cats’ allergies.
Cats that are hypoallergenic are an additional option for people who desire pets but don’t want the associated allergic reactions. Selecting female cats, which are linked to a reduced generation of allergens, can also help potential pet owners decrease allergy reactions.
The Allergen Nomenclature Sub-Committee of the World Health Organization/International Union of Immunological Societies (WHO/IUIS) has identified eight cat allergens. The most prevalent cat allergen, Fel d 1, is responsible for 96% of human cat allergies.
The remaining cat allergens range from Fel d 2 through Fel d 8, with Fel d 4—a large urine protein present in cat saliva affecting people the most. All cats, especially those that are hypoallergenic, produce Fel d 1.
The main method of transmission is through cat saliva or dander, which adheres to clothing. A study found that Fel D 4 antibodies are present in 63% of people with cat allergies.
Read Also: Complete List of the Different Breed of Cats
Elimination diets for cats that are hypoallergenic
While the cat’s symptoms may be discernible, it is best to seek a veterinarian’s care to determine the most effective course of action. Veterinarians frequently utilize a serum allergy test to determine which allergens the cat is allergic to.
To treat minor issues, veterinarians frequently suggest over-the-counter allergy relief medicines. Allergy immunotherapy may be suggested if the allergy is more severe.
▪ A sort of elimination diet called a homemade diet is one that the owner or a third party, such as a chef, prepares especially for the allergic cat. Studies indicate that even when commercial elimination diets are free of the problematic foods or the target protein, cats may still react badly to them.
Because they can directly identify the pet’s history, customize the diet with different ingredients, and view the procedure as a bonding experience, many pet owners opt for the homemade option. A homemade diet has some limitations, including the time required to shop for the materials and possible financial hardship.
Additionally, homemade diets typically lack essential nutrients. For instance, the researchers discovered that 90% of homemade elimination diets lack sufficient nutrition. However, using homemade diets is an excellent approach to identifying the element that is making the cat’s bad symptoms worse.
▪ A new protein is a protein source that the cat hasn’t previously been exposed to but is employed in hypoallergenic diets. Lamb, rabbit, venison, duck, elk, kangaroo, ostrich, emu, goose, and goat are typical examples of new proteins.
However, when there is a closer taxonomic link between the two species, there is a possibility of cross-reactivity. Cross-reactivity, for instance, could be brought on by other ruminant meats if the cat had a bad reaction to beef or avian meats if the cat had a bad reaction to chicken.
▪ A limited-ingredient diet often referred to as a limited-antigen diet, limits the items that are troublesome and trigger reactions.
Since food allergies are typically brought on by water-soluble glycoproteins, these diets typically concentrate on eliminating particular proteins (protein-elimination diets), but they can also be tailored to eliminate gluten/wheat, vegetables, or a mix of the two.
In order to reduce reactivity to any foods, producers of commercially available versions of these diets typically include one protein and one carbohydrate source.
▪ Hydrolyzed protein: Since hydrolyzed proteins do not trigger allergic reactions, they are frequently employed as the main source of protein in diets, particularly in elimination diets.
This is due to the fact that the digestive system breaks down the protein into individual amino acids that the body is unable to identify as the offending protein, enabling the protein source to evade the allergic immune reaction brought on by IgE.
By preventing the immune response, the animal is able to consume a sufficient amount of protein without the immune system getting in the way.
What causes cat allergies?
Ever questioned the origin of your allergies? You sneeze and feel itchy because of a protein called Fel D1 that is present in cat saliva, not the cat’s hair. The probability of an allergic reaction increases when a cat licks its coat because the allergen-filled saliva dries and becomes airborne.
For persons with allergies, certain varieties of cats generate less of this protein than others. In addition to the Fel D1 protein, the following factors can affect a cat’s ability to produce allergens:
List of Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
The hairless cat breed most frequently linked to being hypoallergenic is the sphynx. But being hairless does not make them carefree. Your Sphynx will need frequent bathing to remove the sticky buildup of oils on her skin, and its enormous ears will also need frequent cleanings.
The Sphynx personality qualities are sometimes compared to dog children based on its animated demeanor, according to the French breed standard. Sphynxes keep you delighted by doing aerialist feats from the tops of doorways and bookcases; to say they are energetic is an understatement.
2. Siberian cat
Despite having a somewhat lengthy coat like the Balinese, the Siberian is hypoallergenic because their saliva has lower than typical enzyme levels. According to some, Siberian does not cause an allergic reaction in 75% of people who have cat allergies.
Cats with a lot of charm and playfulness, Siberians are loving creatures. They are easy to handle and fascinated by water; as a result, they frequently drop toys into their dishes or splash in bathtubs before they are completely dry.
3. Cornish Rex
Compared to other breeds, Cornish Rexes have fewer hairs. The majority of cats have three layers of fur: guard hair at the top, awn hair in the center, and down hair at the bottom.
All that the Cornish Rex possesses is the bottom layer of down. As a result, they lose a lot less hair and are less prone to transmit the proteins that cause allergies. This is the ideal hypoallergenic cat breed for people who enjoy tabby cats.
Read Also: 6 Reasons why Cats are Good Pets
4. Devon Rex cat
Similar to Cornish Rex cats, Devon Rex cats only have a downy undercoat. However, compared to its Cornish cousin, it has much less hair. The curl in this Devon hypoallergenic cat’s fur is well known.
This breed is playful and intelligent, and you can even teach it tricks. You may teach them how to play fetch with cat toys as a method to strengthen your bond with your new pet.
5. Oriental shorthair cats
Cats’ short, silky coats shed relatively little and are exceedingly clean. The amount of hair shed by this hypoallergenic cat will be further decreased with regular brushing, which will assist remove any loose hairs. You can discover your ideal pet among these affectionate cats, whose coats come in a wide range of colors, including black, grey, and other hues.
6. Russian blues
Russian Blues don’t appear to be cats that should be hypoallergenic at all because they are adorable fluffy animals. However, they are an excellent alternative because they produce a negligible amount of the allergen-causing Fel d1 protein. It’s understandable why people love this breed so much — they have round, fluffy features and are quite friendly.
7. Balinese feline
Similar to the Russian Blue, the Balinese’s skin generates less Fel d1 than most breeds, which reduces the likelihood of an allergic reaction. This hypoallergenic cat is pleasant to the touch and has medium-length fur. This breed is friendly, so you can have fun playing games with them at home.
8. Bengal cat
Bengals appear to manufacture the same amount of Fel d1 protein as other breeds, but they shed very less because of their short coat. Consequently, it is less prone to result in allergic reactions. They are a sleek breed of cat that needs access to the outdoors and is inherently curious.
Our Catio outdoor enclosure is the ideal addition to your garden if you want to allow your pet the freedom to wander without worrying about them escaping.
Read Also: Understanding Cats
How to Care for Hypoallergenic Cats
When you’ve decided on your new hypoallergenic cat, you’ll need to pick up a few necessities before you can pick them up and bring them home.
A cat’s comfort in its new home must be prioritized. You can guarantee that they have a private area to curl up by providing them with a nice cat bed and soft cat blankets.
A cat cooling pad is a good idea to think about if you’re bringing your new pet home during the summer to help them survive the heat. Our selection of cat items includes every item you’ll need to help your pet settle into a new home.
▪ Regular Baths and Brushing: If you have a cat allergy, it is advisable to leave the process to a groomer or relative. According to studies, giving your cat a frequent wash will help get rid of up to 84 percent of current allergies and cut down on their generation in the future. Some people contend that adding distilled water to the bath may also lower allergy concentrations.
▪ Wash Cat Bedding and Toys: Cleaning your cat’s bedding and toys also helps to cut down on the allergens that drift around your house. Do this once a week at the very least.
Even if getting a “hypoallergenic” cat won’t completely heal your allergies, you can hopefully rest and breathe a little easier. If you’re interested in a particular breed of cat, try spending time with one and see if that helps your allergies.