Believe it or not, its not actually the hair itself that most people are allergic to, but proteins that are secreted by the skin (Fel d1 protein) and present in the cat’s saliva (Fel d4 protein). While there are no 100% hypoallergenic breeds, there are non-shedding cats that don’t shed nearly as much hair and dander as other breeds. These rarely cause allergic reactions, and can often be a great option for people who normally suffer around pets. We would advise spending some time with a cat of the specific breed you’re thinking of getting before you commit, to see if it will work for you and your family. Here is a list of our top 7 favourite hypoallergenic cat breeds.
#1 - Sphynx
A hairless Sphynx Cat with a hypoallergenic coat
The Sphynx cat is famed for being hairless which gives it a unique look but also some special care requirements. If you suffer from allergies a Sphynx cat could be the perfect cat for you. This is because the allergenic proteins in the cat’s saliva can’t get trapped in a Sphynx cats fur, because they don’t have any.
#2 - Cornish Rex
A Cornish Rex Cat with a beautiful tabby coat walking through the grass
Most cat’s fur is arranged in 3 layers; a top ‘guard’ hair, a middle ‘awn’ hair and a bottom ‘down’ hair. The Cornish Rex possesses only the bottom undercoat of down hair which means that they are not only very soft but they have a lot less hair than other cats. This means they shed a lot less hair and are therefore less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
#3 - Devon Rex
A young Devon Rex Cat with a hypoallergenic coat
The Devon Rex shares the same coat type as the Cornish Rex possessing only the soft down hair that makes up most cat’s undercoats. However, the Devon Rex has even less hair than the Cornish Rex and also sheds very little. As with the Cornish Rex this means they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
#4 - Oriental
A black Oriental Shorthair Cat with a hypoallergenic coat
Oriental Shorthairs have a short, fine coat and shed very little. For best results you need to brush your Oriental regularly to help remove any loose hairs and so further reduce the amount of hair it drops.
#5 - Russian Blue
A Russian Blue Cat with a hypoallergenic coat cleaning itself
Russian Blues don’t have any special coat qualities that make them hypoallergenic but they do produce less Fel d1 - the protein that cats secrete from their skin which a lot of allergy sufferers are allergic to.
#6 - Balinese
A tabby Balinese Cat with a hypoallergenic coat
The hypoallergenic tendencies of the Balinese cats follow the same principal as the Russian Blue - their skin produces less Fel d1 which means that they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
#7 - Siberian
A Siberian Cat with a hypoallergenic coat balancing a leaf on its head
This one may surprise you… When you see a Siberian with its beautiful long coat it can be easy to think that this breed of cat will be a nightmare for allergy sufferers. However like the Russian Blue and Balinese - the Siberian’s skin produces less Fel d1 than most other breeds so is considered hypoallergenic.
Bonus - Bengal
Many breeders and owners make claims that the Bengal has hypoallergenic properties. Although there is no evidence that they produce less Fel d1 protein, the main argument for why they are supposedly less allergenic is that their short pelt-like coat sheds a lot less hair than the average cat coat and so is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
There are many more hypoallergenic cats out there, so if this wasn't enough for you, use our cat directory to find your favourite.