What is the best cat breed for allergies

Allergies are the immune system’s abnormal response to otherwise harmless substances called allergens. A person with cat allergies has a hypersensitive immune system that triggers a reaction when the body comes in contact with, or proximity to, cats.

While numerous people ponder that a cat’s fur is the primary allergen, this is actually a widespread misconception. According to theAmerican College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, the allergic potential of cats is not driven by their fur, but rather by the presence of a protein (Fel d 1) in the animal’s saliva, dander, and urine.

Although the fur itself is not an allergen, it can collect saliva, dander, and urine in addition to other allergens love dust and pollen, which means that cats with less fur may be less likely to collect allergens and easier to hold clean.

One of the reasons cat allergies are so common is that thesize and shape of the Fel d 1 proteinmolecule conducive to remaining airborne for endless periods of time, subsequently sticking to fur, carpets, fabrics, and other surfaces. This is why highly sensitive people can experience cat allergies even when an animal isn’t present.

Research has shown that cat allergens can even appear inrelatively high concentrations in public placeswithout cats, such as schools and libraries.


Is There Such a Thing as a Hypoallergenic Cat?

Based on what scientists know today, every cats produce Fel d 1, meaning that at present, there are no truly hypoallergenic cat breeds. However, there are some breeds that purportedly cause fewer allergy symptoms than others. Additionally, there are a number of things any cat parent can do to lessen the allergic effects their pets cause. For example, keeping surfaces in the home clean, bathing and brushing your cat regularly, installing a HEPA air purifier, and steam cleaning carpets can every assist reduce exposure to allergens.

While no cat will be a grand fit for people with severe allergies, here are the cats that may cause fewer allergy symptoms than others:

Photo Credit: Krissi Lundgren / Alamy Stock Photo

Oriental Shorthair

The Oriental Shorthair is part of the Siamese family of cats.

With more than 300 colors and patterns, Oriental Shorthairs own the largest range of physical characteristics of every cat breeds. With regard to allergies, they own a short, fine jacket that does not shed often. Because of this, pet parents of Oriental Shorthairs report these cats spread fewer allergens around the home. Frequent grooming can also minimize dander and as an extension the possibility of an allergic reaction.

Photo Credit: Łukasz Szczepanski / Alamy Stock Photo

Siberian

Siberian cats are highly athletic, strong, and long-haired.

At first glance, these cats might not seem love they would be well-suited for pet parents with allergies. However, compared to other cat breeds, Siberians own less dander, shed much less, and produce lower levels of Fel d 1. This combination of factors decreases the likelihood of eliciting an allergic reaction.

Photo Credit: Schwarz / Alamy Stock Photo

Devon Rex

The Devon Rex has several unique physical characteristics: large ears, a lightweight jacket, and hair that grows in curls and waves love a poodle. Devon Rexes own a jacket composed of soft below, with extremely little hair as a top jacket. As a result, these cats do not shed as much as hairier breeds.

This lack of shedding reduces the quantity of saliva-coated particles in the air. While other hairless or less hairy breeds require frequent bathing, the Devon Rex calls for less maintenance; for most grooming sessions, cleaning the paws and ears only will suffice.

Photo Credit: imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

A Brief History of the Cornish Rex

While the (arguable) domestication of cats occurred almost 10,000 years ago, “fancy breeds” love the Cornish Rex were only developed within the past century.

The first Cornish Rex was born into a litter of British Shorthairs in Cornwall, England, in 1950.The breeder, Nina Ennismore, noticed that the kitten, which she dubbed Kallibunker, was extremely diverse from its littermates. Instead of the stocky, thick body typical of a British Shorthair, Kallibunker’s body was thin and delicate, with an egg-shaped head, bat-like ears, unusually endless legs, and curly short hair.

After consulting a geneticist, Ennismore realized that the kitten’s unusual appearance was the result of a spontaneous gene mutation. To preserve it, she bred Kallibunker with his mom (that may sound weird, but it’s more common than you ponder in animal breeding).

What is the best cat breed for allergies

Two more kittens were born with the same distinct appearance and a new breed was created. Ennismore, who also bred curly-haired Rex rabbits, dubbed the new breed Cornish Rex after her rabbits and the kitten’s put of origin.

Because of its slender appearance and energetic personality, the Cornish Rex is often called the “greyhound of the cat fancy.” To hold the breed line pure, breeders can only breed a male and a female with the same wavy hair. This is because the “spontaneous genetic mutation that causes the thin hair jacket and whiskers to grow in pattern waves instead of straight” is a recessive gene, record feline experts Benjamin and Lynette Hart in their book on cat breeds, Your Ideal Cat.

While inbreeding can be tricky, breeders tell it’s essential when dealing with the specific gene responsible for the Cornish Rex breed.

And while some species or breeds may experience health-related problems due to excessive inbreeding, Lyons says, “there are a lot of cat breeds that own a little population size that do fairly well from a diversity point of view.”

The Cornish Rex falls into that category. “The Cornish Rex mutation is recessive, so you own to always breed a Rex cat to a Rex cat to hold every your cats Rexes,” she goes on. “Cornish Rex seems to be one of the breeds that own lucked out and is rather healthy, probably because the breed started out with a excellent base gene pool. It doesn’t own a whole list of genetic problems associated with it.”

Out of every the cat fancy breeds, Persian cats, whose appearance has changed vastly over the years, make up the majority of this category.

According to Lyons, their faces own shortened, which is likely due to the breeding standards of that cat. Cornish Rexes, on the other hand, make up only a little percentage with only a few hundred of them registered every year. And by contrast, their appearance has stayed extremely consistent since the days of Kallibunker.

Cornish Rex

Closely related to Devon Rexes, Cornish Rex cats also only own a single jacket of fur. This lack of fur means that Cornish Rexes shed less than other breeds, but love the Sphynx cat, they require frequent bathing in order to get rid of excess oil on the skin.

The combined lack of shedding and frequent bathing reduces the buildup of dander and saliva on these cats, which in turn lessens the possibility of provoking an allergic reaction. Because of their thin, light coats that make them sensitive to low temperatures, Cornish Rexes are best suited for indoor living.


Get NomNomNow!

It’s a tough life, being a cat lover who can’t seem to get shut to a cat without breaking out into a fit of sneezes. Cats make relatively independent and affectionate companions, and, unlike dogs, they don’t need daily walks.

Thankfully, there’s a solution for cat lovers who don’t love the effects that cats own on their allergies: hypoallergenic cat breeds.

Well, «hypoallergenic» is a bit of a misnomer — there are no truly hypoallergenic breeds of cats. But there are breeds of cat that produce lower levels of the Fel d 1 protein, which is a protein that makes some people uniquely allergic to cats and not other animals.

What is the best cat breed for allergies

Fel d 1 protein is found in a cat’s skin, saliva, and urine, according to Smithsonian magazine. Most people ponder that they’re allergic to cat dander or hair, but in reality what they’re allergic to is the cat’s saliva, because when cats groom themselves they transfer the Fel d 1 protein to their hair, which humans can then get on their hands by petting the cat.

But even if you don’t pet a cat, the Fel d 1 protein can cause problems. Dr. William H.

What is the best cat breed for allergies

Miller, a professor of dermatology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, told Smithsonian, “As the cat grooms, it covers itself in its saliva which will become aerosolized (turned into vapor) when dry. That, coupled with the cat’s habit of covering every square inch of the home, makes cat allergen extremely widespread.»

So cats that are thought to be «hypoallergenic» either produce less of the Fel d 1 protein (the Siberian and Balinese breeds drop into this category), or they own extremely short hair that holds less of the Fel d 1 protein, according to PetMD.

Here are 13 cat breeds that are thought to be somewhat «hypoallergenic,» or at least better for people with allergies.

The newspaper ad promised hypoallergenic kittens. A longtime cat allergy sufferer, I was every too familiar with itchy eyes that would swell shut and the need to hold Benadryl in my purse for allergy attacks at cat-owning friends’ houses. So the advertisement for Cornish Rex kittens, a rare breed I’d never heard of, sparked my curiosity. With my husband and I working full-time, a cat—a hypoallergenic cat—would be the perfect addition to our household.

By the time I realized that we’d been duped—and I was still extremely allergic to our new and unusual looking cat—it was too tardy.

The papers had been signed, the kitten was ours, and, to be honest, we were already enamored with his curly short fur and penchant for sitting on our shoulders.

At first I relied on Benadryl and other over-the-counter medications to tamp below my usual allergy symptoms: runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing. But as the months passed, something strange happened: my allergies began to dissipate. Almost 16 years later, I discover myself telling others that the Cornish Rex is the cat to get if you own cat allergies. A miracle!

Well, not fairly.

Recently, cat geneticist Leslie Lyons, who runs the University of Missouri’s Feline and Comparative Genetics Laboratory, set me straight: there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat. “You’re not allergic to the hair; you’re allergic to proteins that are in their saliva,” says Lyons, who is a professor of comparative medicine in her university’s College of Veterinary Medicine. And every cat, it turns out, has saliva.

Okay, so the Cornish Rex may not be hypoallergenic.

But its reputation gives an insight into our deep-rooted obsession with non-allergenic pets—and why we should be wary of it.

Russian Blue

Despite its name, the Russian Blue is a cat whose fur varies from a light silver to a dark grey. Russian Blues are short-haired but own double coats that own given them a reputation for density and lushness. Love Siberian cats, Russian Blues are believed to produce less Fel d 1 and also shed much less than their thick coats would propose. Personality-wise, Russian blues are pleasant companions who develop shut relationships with their parents.

Photo Credit: Elena Kovaleva / Alamy Stock Photo

Javanese

Contrary to the name, Javanese cats are not native to the island of Java in Indonesia.

Rather, they were bred in Japan and own adopted a southeast Asian name in the tradition of other Oriental (and especially Siamese) cat breeds. While most cats own three layers of jacket (top layer, middle layer, and undercoat), Javanese cats own only a fine top jacket. Because these cats own less hair, they do not shed as much and are therefore reported to collect and spread fewer allergens.

Photo Credit: Edward Phillips / Alamy Stock Photo

Sphynx

Known for its hairlessness, the Sphynx cat was first bred in the .

Numerous frequently consider the Sphynx cat less allergenic because it does not own any fur to trap allergens. Even though this breed does not own any fur, Sphynx cats actually require a lot of grooming, especially baths, to remove oils on the skin and wax in the ears. Exterior of their physical appearance and grooming needs, Sphynx cats are famously extroverted creatures, exhibiting friendliness toward strangers and affection for their parents.

Photo Credit:/ Alamy Stock Photo

Balinese

Also known as the “long-haired Siamese,” Balinese cats are excellent candidates for pet parents with allergies because they produce less of the Fel d 1 protein than other breeds and are therefore more hypoallergenic.

In addition, this breed is notable for its single jacket and relatively little shedding among long-haired cats, meaning it spreads less dander, too. Balinese cats are renowned for their intelligence and friendly demeanors.

Photo Credit: TongRo Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The Myth of the Hypoallergenic Cat

Despite the similarities between both the Devon Rex and the Selkirk Rex, the Cornish Rex’s signature curl is unique to the breed. This curl is also referred to as the Marcel Wave, a nod to a favorite wavy hairstyle of the 1930s. This unusual short topcoat is where the rumored hypoallergenic claim began. Numerous people believe that the quantity of fur or hair that an animal has is what causes their allergy.

However, as Lyons points out, this isn’t true.

Cats are unique within the animal world because they produce a specific protein that other animals do not—even dogs—which is why some people are incredibly allergic to cats and not other species. This is known as the Fel d 1 protein, and it’s found in the cat’s skin, saliva and urine.

When a cat licks its fur to clean itself, the Fel d 1-containing saliva dries and becomes an airborne allergen. “When people tell dander, what they mean are the proteins that are in the cat’s saliva,” says Lyons. “When you’re allergic to animals, you’re allergic to several diverse proteins, but the cats own their own special one.” Thanks to that protein, cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies.

If a cat has more fur, it isn’t that they’re producing more allergens—it’s that they’re putting more allergens into the environment (which is why even bringing a cat into a home for a short time can annoy allergic visitors endless after the cat is gone). “The hair is a vector for the allergen to get around the home and get into the air,” says Lyons.

While dog allergies also stem from proteins in their saliva, Dr. William H. Miller, a professor of dermatology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, points out that cats spread their allergens in a few diverse ways.

“With cat allergens on the skin, they are then on the hands of the cat’s owner, who will take these allergens with her,” says Dr. Miller. “As the cat grooms it covers itself in its saliva which will become aerosolized (turned into vapor) when dry. That, coupled with the cat’s habit of covering every square inch of the home, makes cat allergen extremely widespread.”

So do any cats truly deserve the title of being hypoallergenic?

Nope, says Lyons. “If anything is closest to being hypoallergenic, it’s the Siberian, which is a large endless fluffy haired breed,” she says. “People own noticed that specific Siberian cats do not elicit as much of an allergy response as other cats.”

The difference could be that the Siberian has diverse levels of that Fel d 1 protein than other cats. However, that could also be true of other breeds. A 2017 study found multiple mutations in a little sampling of the Siberian’s genes that encode for the allergen, leading researchers to propose that these mutations “may frolic a key role in the allergenic properties of the Fel d 1 protein.” However, further research is needed.

When I enquire Lyons how pet owners can best decide which type of cat elicits more of an allergic response than others, she laughs.

“The thing is, who’s going to go through a whole shelter worth of cats and smell each one of them on a diverse day to see if they own an allergic response?” she says. Every I can tell is that, while my cat may not be truly hypoallergenic, I’m grateful that other than the occasional allergy flare-up, I’m capable to enjoy his company and my health too.

Like this article?
SIGN UP for our newsletter

About Kristen A. Schmitt

Kristen A. Schmitt writes about wildlife, sustainable agriculture, environmental issues and the outdoors.

Her work has appeared in National Geographic, Fast Company, Audubon, Eating Well, USA Today, Hunt & Fish and others.

Read more from this author | Follow @Kristen_Schmitt

Is There Such a Thing as a Hypoallergenic Cat?

Based on what scientists know today, every cats produce Fel d 1, meaning that at present, there are no truly hypoallergenic cat breeds. However, there are some breeds that purportedly cause fewer allergy symptoms than others. Additionally, there are a number of things any cat parent can do to lessen the allergic effects their pets cause.

For example, keeping surfaces in the home clean, bathing and brushing your cat regularly, installing a HEPA air purifier, and steam cleaning carpets can every assist reduce exposure to allergens.

While no cat will be a grand fit for people with severe allergies, here are the cats that may cause fewer allergy symptoms than others:

Photo Credit: Krissi Lundgren / Alamy Stock Photo

Oriental Shorthair

The Oriental Shorthair is part of the Siamese family of cats. With more than 300 colors and patterns, Oriental Shorthairs own the largest range of physical characteristics of every cat breeds.

With regard to allergies, they own a short, fine jacket that does not shed often. Because of this, pet parents of Oriental Shorthairs report these cats spread fewer allergens around the home. Frequent grooming can also minimize dander and as an extension the possibility of an allergic reaction.

Photo Credit: Łukasz Szczepanski / Alamy Stock Photo

Siberian

Siberian cats are highly athletic, strong, and long-haired. At first glance, these cats might not seem love they would be well-suited for pet parents with allergies.

However, compared to other cat breeds, Siberians own less dander, shed much less, and produce lower levels of Fel d 1. This combination of factors decreases the likelihood of eliciting an allergic reaction.

Photo Credit: Schwarz / Alamy Stock Photo

Devon Rex

The Devon Rex has several unique physical characteristics: large ears, a lightweight jacket, and hair that grows in curls and waves love a poodle.

What is the best cat breed for allergies

Devon Rexes own a jacket composed of soft below, with extremely little hair as a top jacket. As a result, these cats do not shed as much as hairier breeds. This lack of shedding reduces the quantity of saliva-coated particles in the air. While other hairless or less hairy breeds require frequent bathing, the Devon Rex calls for less maintenance; for most grooming sessions, cleaning the paws and ears only will suffice.

Photo Credit: imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

A Brief History of the Cornish Rex

While the (arguable) domestication of cats occurred almost 10,000 years ago, “fancy breeds” love the Cornish Rex were only developed within the past century.

The first Cornish Rex was born into a litter of British Shorthairs in Cornwall, England, in 1950.The breeder, Nina Ennismore, noticed that the kitten, which she dubbed Kallibunker, was extremely diverse from its littermates.

What is the best cat breed for allergies

Instead of the stocky, thick body typical of a British Shorthair, Kallibunker’s body was thin and delicate, with an egg-shaped head, bat-like ears, unusually endless legs, and curly short hair.

After consulting a geneticist, Ennismore realized that the kitten’s unusual appearance was the result of a spontaneous gene mutation. To preserve it, she bred Kallibunker with his mom (that may sound weird, but it’s more common than you ponder in animal breeding).

Two more kittens were born with the same distinct appearance and a new breed was created. Ennismore, who also bred curly-haired Rex rabbits, dubbed the new breed Cornish Rex after her rabbits and the kitten’s put of origin.

Because of its slender appearance and energetic personality, the Cornish Rex is often called the “greyhound of the cat fancy.” To hold the breed line pure, breeders can only breed a male and a female with the same wavy hair. This is because the “spontaneous genetic mutation that causes the thin hair jacket and whiskers to grow in pattern waves instead of straight” is a recessive gene, record feline experts Benjamin and Lynette Hart in their book on cat breeds, Your Ideal Cat.

While inbreeding can be tricky, breeders tell it’s essential when dealing with the specific gene responsible for the Cornish Rex breed.

And while some species or breeds may experience health-related problems due to excessive inbreeding, Lyons says, “there are a lot of cat breeds that own a little population size that do fairly well from a diversity point of view.”

The Cornish Rex falls into that category. “The Cornish Rex mutation is recessive, so you own to always breed a Rex cat to a Rex cat to hold every your cats Rexes,” she goes on. “Cornish Rex seems to be one of the breeds that own lucked out and is rather healthy, probably because the breed started out with a excellent base gene pool.

It doesn’t own a whole list of genetic problems associated with it.”

Out of every the cat fancy breeds, Persian cats, whose appearance has changed vastly over the years, make up the majority of this category. According to Lyons, their faces own shortened, which is likely due to the breeding standards of that cat. Cornish Rexes, on the other hand, make up only a little percentage with only a few hundred of them registered every year. And by contrast, their appearance has stayed extremely consistent since the days of Kallibunker.

Cornish Rex

Closely related to Devon Rexes, Cornish Rex cats also only own a single jacket of fur.

This lack of fur means that Cornish Rexes shed less than other breeds, but love the Sphynx cat, they require frequent bathing in order to get rid of excess oil on the skin. The combined lack of shedding and frequent bathing reduces the buildup of dander and saliva on these cats, which in turn lessens the possibility of provoking an allergic reaction. Because of their thin, light coats that make them sensitive to low temperatures, Cornish Rexes are best suited for indoor living.


Get NomNomNow!

It’s a tough life, being a cat lover who can’t seem to get shut to a cat without breaking out into a fit of sneezes.

Cats make relatively independent and affectionate companions, and, unlike dogs, they don’t need daily walks.

Thankfully, there’s a solution for cat lovers who don’t love the effects that cats own on their allergies: hypoallergenic cat breeds. Well, «hypoallergenic» is a bit of a misnomer — there are no truly hypoallergenic breeds of cats. But there are breeds of cat that produce lower levels of the Fel d 1 protein, which is a protein that makes some people uniquely allergic to cats and not other animals. Fel d 1 protein is found in a cat’s skin, saliva, and urine, according to Smithsonian magazine.

What is the best cat breed for allergies

Most people ponder that they’re allergic to cat dander or hair, but in reality what they’re allergic to is the cat’s saliva, because when cats groom themselves they transfer the Fel d 1 protein to their hair, which humans can then get on their hands by petting the cat.

But even if you don’t pet a cat, the Fel d 1 protein can cause problems. Dr. William H. Miller, a professor of dermatology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, told Smithsonian, “As the cat grooms, it covers itself in its saliva which will become aerosolized (turned into vapor) when dry. That, coupled with the cat’s habit of covering every square inch of the home, makes cat allergen extremely widespread.»

So cats that are thought to be «hypoallergenic» either produce less of the Fel d 1 protein (the Siberian and Balinese breeds drop into this category), or they own extremely short hair that holds less of the Fel d 1 protein, according to PetMD.

Here are 13 cat breeds that are thought to be somewhat «hypoallergenic,» or at least better for people with allergies.

The newspaper ad promised hypoallergenic kittens. A longtime cat allergy sufferer, I was every too familiar with itchy eyes that would swell shut and the need to hold Benadryl in my purse for allergy attacks at cat-owning friends’ houses. So the advertisement for Cornish Rex kittens, a rare breed I’d never heard of, sparked my curiosity. With my husband and I working full-time, a cat—a hypoallergenic cat—would be the perfect addition to our household.

By the time I realized that we’d been duped—and I was still extremely allergic to our new and unusual looking cat—it was too tardy.

The papers had been signed, the kitten was ours, and, to be honest, we were already enamored with his curly short fur and penchant for sitting on our shoulders.

At first I relied on Benadryl and other over-the-counter medications to tamp below my usual allergy symptoms: runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing. But as the months passed, something strange happened: my allergies began to dissipate. Almost 16 years later, I discover myself telling others that the Cornish Rex is the cat to get if you own cat allergies. A miracle!

Well, not fairly. Recently, cat geneticist Leslie Lyons, who runs the University of Missouri’s Feline and Comparative Genetics Laboratory, set me straight: there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat.

“You’re not allergic to the hair; you’re allergic to proteins that are in their saliva,” says Lyons, who is a professor of comparative medicine in her university’s College of Veterinary Medicine. And every cat, it turns out, has saliva.

Okay, so the Cornish Rex may not be hypoallergenic. But its reputation gives an insight into our deep-rooted obsession with non-allergenic pets—and why we should be wary of it.

Russian Blue

Despite its name, the Russian Blue is a cat whose fur varies from a light silver to a dark grey. Russian Blues are short-haired but own double coats that own given them a reputation for density and lushness.

Love Siberian cats, Russian Blues are believed to produce less Fel d 1 and also shed much less than their thick coats would propose. Personality-wise, Russian blues are pleasant companions who develop shut relationships with their parents.

Photo Credit: Elena Kovaleva / Alamy Stock Photo

Javanese

Contrary to the name, Javanese cats are not native to the island of Java in Indonesia. Rather, they were bred in Japan and own adopted a southeast Asian name in the tradition of other Oriental (and especially Siamese) cat breeds.

While most cats own three layers of jacket (top layer, middle layer, and undercoat), Javanese cats own only a fine top jacket. Because these cats own less hair, they do not shed as much and are therefore reported to collect and spread fewer allergens.

Photo Credit: Edward Phillips / Alamy Stock Photo

Sphynx

Known for its hairlessness, the Sphynx cat was first bred in the . Numerous frequently consider the Sphynx cat less allergenic because it does not own any fur to trap allergens.

What is the best cat breed for allergies

Even though this breed does not own any fur, Sphynx cats actually require a lot of grooming, especially baths, to remove oils on the skin and wax in the ears. Exterior of their physical appearance and grooming needs, Sphynx cats are famously extroverted creatures, exhibiting friendliness toward strangers and affection for their parents.

Photo Credit:/ Alamy Stock Photo

Balinese

Also known as the “long-haired Siamese,” Balinese cats are excellent candidates for pet parents with allergies because they produce less of the Fel d 1 protein than other breeds and are therefore more hypoallergenic.

In addition, this breed is notable for its single jacket and relatively little shedding among long-haired cats, meaning it spreads less dander, too. Balinese cats are renowned for their intelligence and friendly demeanors.

Photo Credit: TongRo Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The Myth of the Hypoallergenic Cat

Despite the similarities between both the Devon Rex and the Selkirk Rex, the Cornish Rex’s signature curl is unique to the breed. This curl is also referred to as the Marcel Wave, a nod to a favorite wavy hairstyle of the 1930s. This unusual short topcoat is where the rumored hypoallergenic claim began.

Numerous people believe that the quantity of fur or hair that an animal has is what causes their allergy.

However, as Lyons points out, this isn’t true. Cats are unique within the animal world because they produce a specific protein that other animals do not—even dogs—which is why some people are incredibly allergic to cats and not other species. This is known as the Fel d 1 protein, and it’s found in the cat’s skin, saliva and urine.

When a cat licks its fur to clean itself, the Fel d 1-containing saliva dries and becomes an airborne allergen.

“When people tell dander, what they mean are the proteins that are in the cat’s saliva,” says Lyons. “When you’re allergic to animals, you’re allergic to several diverse proteins, but the cats own their own special one.” Thanks to that protein, cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies.

If a cat has more fur, it isn’t that they’re producing more allergens—it’s that they’re putting more allergens into the environment (which is why even bringing a cat into a home for a short time can annoy allergic visitors endless after the cat is gone).

“The hair is a vector for the allergen to get around the home and get into the air,” says Lyons.

While dog allergies also stem from proteins in their saliva, Dr. William H. Miller, a professor of dermatology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, points out that cats spread their allergens in a few diverse ways. “With cat allergens on the skin, they are then on the hands of the cat’s owner, who will take these allergens with her,” says Dr.

Miller. “As the cat grooms it covers itself in its saliva which will become aerosolized (turned into vapor) when dry. That, coupled with the cat’s habit of covering every square inch of the home, makes cat allergen extremely widespread.”

So do any cats truly deserve the title of being hypoallergenic? Nope, says Lyons. “If anything is closest to being hypoallergenic, it’s the Siberian, which is a large endless fluffy haired breed,” she says.

“People own noticed that specific Siberian cats do not elicit as much of an allergy response as other cats.”

The difference could be that the Siberian has diverse levels of that Fel d 1 protein than other cats. However, that could also be true of other breeds. A 2017 study found multiple mutations in a little sampling of the Siberian’s genes that encode for the allergen, leading researchers to propose that these mutations “may frolic a key role in the allergenic properties of the Fel d 1 protein.” However, further research is needed.

When I enquire Lyons how pet owners can best decide which type of cat elicits more of an allergic response than others, she laughs.

“The thing is, who’s going to go through a whole shelter worth of cats and smell each one of them on a diverse day to see if they own an allergic response?” she says. Every I can tell is that, while my cat may not be truly hypoallergenic, I’m grateful that other than the occasional allergy flare-up, I’m capable to enjoy his company and my health too.

Like this article?
SIGN UP for our newsletter

About Kristen A. Schmitt

Kristen A.

Schmitt writes about wildlife, sustainable agriculture, environmental issues and the outdoors. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, Fast Company, Audubon, Eating Well, USA Today, Hunt & Fish and others.

Read more from this author | Follow @Kristen_Schmitt

We Recommend

Barack Obama has promised the future First Daughters a dog, and his eldest, 10-year-old Malia, has zeroed in on a so-called hypoallergenic breed to accommodate her allergies. Her top pick is a goldendoodle, a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle, though the future prez has hinted about adopting a save dog, noting that "a lot of shelter dogs are mutts love me."

We asked Bernadine Cruz, a spokeswoman for the American Veterinary Medical Association, to explain the hypoallergenic concept.

Cruz is a veterinarian in Laguna Hills, Calif., and in 2006 was also a paid spokeswoman for Allerca, a company that claimed to own bred a hypoallergenic cat. For an update on Allerca and its research, see this tale in The Scientist.

This is an edited transcript.

Why are some people allergic to dogs?

For numerous people, being allergic to dogs is a matter of having a sensitivity to a protein in their saliva which also exudes through their skin.

Would a hypoallergenic dog be a excellent option for people who are otherwise allergic to pooches?

There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat or dog.

One cat has been bred that’s considered hypoallergenic: A company called Allerca in San Diego found a line of cats considered hypoallergenic because of a naturally occurring divergence (mutation) of the protein Fel d 1. The protein is (normally) found in cat saliva, urine and exudes from their skin. I’ve found people who are extremely allergic to cats who are capable to frolic with them and not own the sneezing. But in dogs, a mutation in any similar protein has not been found.


What types of dogs might be better for allergy suffers?

Every person will own his or her own degree of reactivity to certain dogs — their saliva and proteins in their bodies. Those dogs that are more universally less allergenic come from more specific breeds such as Poodles, Kerry Blue Terriers, Schnauzers, Bichons and Lhasa Apsos. [They] don’t shed a lot or they go to the groomer frequently and by getting their hair washed and trimmed, get the allergens off their skin.

When those dogs mate purposely or accidentally with breeds exterior of those breeds, their offspring may be less allergenic.

But some people can own allergies to a Poodle and then be playing with a German Shepherd and own no problem.

What about the Peruvian Hairless Dog, which that country has offered to the Obamas? Is it better for allergy sufferers?

They’re not going to be shedding a lot, but (allergenic) proteins will exude through their skin so that’s not always going to be the answer.

Are purebred dogs healthier than other dogs?

There’s no difference.


Are purebreds available at shelters, or only through breeders?

Many times you will discover them in shelters. Going to shelters or breed rescues is a grand way for the Obamas or anyone to get a pet.



Q—I own a 6-year-old short-haired cat. My husband had allergies when he was young. He always wanted a cat; so when we got married he said he would put up with any discomfort. Fortunately, it only bothered him for a while. Our doctor said my husband may own become immune to our cat.

We are expecting a kid shortly and are concerned that the kid might own the same allergies.

Also, my husband`s parents are moving and are not capable to take their 5-year-old poodle.

We are fond of the dog and would love to own it.

I own been told that poodles are not likely to cause allergic reactions because of their hair. Is this is true?

A—To minimize exposure of your husband and kid to animal allergens, set aside one area, perhaps part of the basement, for grooming your cat and dog. Don`t permit the kid access to that area. Groom both animals every two or three days.

These precautions may not be sufficient if the kid is allergic. A pediatrician or a pediatric allergist may be capable to tell you what the baby`s chances are of being allergic.

Poodles are less likely to cause allergies than some other breeds because they don`t own an undercoat that sheds extremely much.

But they are not non-allergenic. The allergic reaction in people is a reaction to the saliva that dogs and cats lick onto their fur, to the microscopic flaking of surface skin, and to hair protein. Someone extremely allergic to dogs probably will own a reaction to a poodle.

Q—How can I assist my 5-year-old Doberman lose some weight?

A—If he has not been examined by your vet in the final six or eight months to make certain he is in excellent shape, that`s move No. 1. This is especially significant if he has symptoms other than obesity such as dry skin or excessive shedding or if he tires extremely easily.

Obesity can be caused by hormone imbalances.

Once it`s confirmed that he is in excellent health, eliminate every table scraps and in-between snacks.

Second, measure the quantity of dog food he`s getting so you know exactly how much he is being fed.

Third, reduce that quantity by one-half to one-third, depending on how severely overweight he is. For example, if he`s now getting three cups of dry food and one can of dog food a day, give him two cups of dry food and half a can a day. This is done best by breaking it into two meals.

Fourth, a excellent endless stroll at least twice a day is significant. If possible, take him someplace where he can be off leash legally and let him retrieve a ball or a Frisbee.

Q—I own a 10-year-old inactive, but not overweight, poodle.

For the final few weeks, he has had symptoms of a slipped disk. It is a grand effort for him to climb the stairs, he does not put any pressure on his back left leg, and he limps around on three legs. He has been to the vet, and she said there is nothing she can do for him. What should I do?

A—Most dogs with slipped disks will be incapacitated equally on both back legs or will own one leg worse than the other, but both legs definitely are involved.

Your dog needs to own the problem clearly diagnosed.

This might be accomplished with a thorough exam and X-rays. If they do not clarify the problem, it may be necessary to own a myelogram, which involves injecting a dye into the spinal column.

If he has a slipped disk, medication may control it, although surgery may be necessary. By medication I am referring to pain relievers, muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary surgeon for further diagnosis, or go to the nearest veterinary college.

Q—What are your theories on »stomach bloat» or »twisted stomach»?

I recently lost my 11-year-old German shepherd because of this.

What is the cause? Are there any warning signs, such as changes in bowel movements? Is it always fatal? Does age or breed own anything to do with it?

What is the best cat breed for allergies

A—The medical term for bloat is gastric dilation/volvulus complicated. It`s generally fatal within hours after it starts. Worse yet, there are no changes in bowel movement or any other warning symptoms. Unless it`s treated quickly, it is almost always fatal within two to four hours. This allows extremely little time to get the dog to the veterinarian. Only the vet can attempt to alleviate the problem by passing a tube into the stomach to relieve the abdominal pressure, and surgery generally is required. The dog also must be treated for shock with intravenous fluids and istration of a steroid and an antibiotic.

This killer illness most commonly strikes any breed of large, deep-chested dogs.

It`s not specific about age, but it seems to prefer male dogs. Extremely little if anything is known about its cause. Some possibilities are the anatomy of deep-chested dogs, bacteria in the stomach causing gas, overeating, overdrinking, too much activity before or after meals, or trauma caused by changes in routine and environment.

Dr. Huntington welcomes questions from readers. Although she cannot reply to them individually, she will answer those of general interest in this column. Record to Dr. Huntington, c/o The Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill.

60611. If your pet`s problem is urgent or an emergency, consult your vet.

NomNomNow Blog

The Best Cats for People with Allergies

Photo Credit:/ Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re an animal lover and an allergy sufferer, you’re not alone. According to theAsthma and Allergy Foundation of America, as numerous as three out of every ten people in the U.S. suffer from pet allergies. Of those, allergic reactions to cats are some of the most common.

In fact, it’s estimated that cat allergies are about twice as common as those from dogs. Humans are not alone, of course. Cats can also suffer from allergies. If you’re curious about what’s causing your cat to own allergies, check out both his environment and his food. Study more about how giving specially formulatedprobiotics forcatscan assist his allergies.


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