Many people do not understand why some people are allergic to cats. More people think that being allergic to cats means being allergic to cat hair. In fact, this view is wrong. Let’s talk about it. what exactly causes people to be allergic? Can you still have a cat with allergies? What can be done to reduce allergies if you must have one?
The reason why cats cause allergies in certain people is that the salivary and sebaceous glands of cats secrete two special proteins, Fel d1 (mainly secreted by the sebaceous glands) and Fel d4 (mainly secreted by saliva), and of these two proteins, Fel d1 is more likely to trigger allergic reactions in humans, with 96% of cat allergy sufferers being sensitized to Fel d1.
And because cats like to lick their hair and groom themselves, and often patrol the entire home, so whether it is the cat’s floating hair, or the top of the closet, or the bottom of the bed, or even the toilet will be more or less stained with this protein particles, and even the walls will be stuck. With this allergen, people who are allergic to cats will experience allergic reactions as soon as they enter the room, and allergic reactions will appear after a few minutes or even hours: red and itchy eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose sneezing, itchy nose, coughing shortness of breath or even asthma, hives, red skin, etc.
All cats produce Fel d1, but the amount produced by different individual cats is not the same and can vary by tens of times. Even the same cat produces different amounts of allergen at different times. This means that you may have a severe allergic reaction to this cat, but it does not mean that you will have the same level of an allergic reaction to all cats, and may only have a milder reaction when faced with another cat.
Then the factors that affect the production of cat allergens:
- Male cats tend to produce more allergic secretions than female cats
- Non-neutered male cats tend to produce more allergic secretions than neutered male cats
- Dark-colored cats (e.g. black cats) tend to produce more allergic secretions than light-colored cats
- Kittens produce less allergic secretions than adult cats
What about allergies?
First of all, a significant portion of people who are allergic to cats are temporary and can be desensitized. As long as they are exposed to cats regularly, they may produce antibodies and when antibodies are formed, they will no longer be allergic.
But for people who are allergic to cats, and do not know if they can desensitize, then how to reduce the allergy situation while keeping a cat?
- Clean diligently, insist on cleaning every day, try to clean up all the cat hair that falls off, and also mop the floor and wipe the table, etc., to remove as much as possible the allergenic proteins attached to the environment.
- Wash your hands regularly to avoid “disease in the mouth” as much as possible
- Change clothes regularly. Cat hair easily adheres to clothes, and cat hair often carries many of these proteins.
- Establish a cat-free clean area or cat room: for example, set up a door barrier to prevent cats from entering the bedroom or set aside a room for cats to live in.
- You can install an air purifier if you can, which can filter allergens.
- Consult your doctor, keep common allergy medications on hand and use allergen immunotherapy (gradually increase the dose from a small amount of allergen exposure to help people with allergies build a tolerance to cat allergens) and diet therapy.
- Keep ventilated, and avoid interior decoration and furnishings made of dust and debris, especially carpets.
- Clean the cat’s body, such as wipe the cat’s body and bathe it regularly to minimize allergens.
- Shave the cat, although the allergen is not the cat hair itself, due to the cat licking habit, the cat hair will become the most allergen adhesion place. Although shaving is detrimental to the cat’s welfare but compared to abandonment, much better.
- If you keep a male cat, make sure to neuter it. If you don’t have a cat yet, it is recommended to choose a short-haired or hairless, light-colored female kitten.
- Choose a cat that produces fewer allergens, but note: this list of “hypoallergenic” cats should not be the only thing you consider when researching which cat to keep. The best way to determine if you are allergic to a cat is to meet it.
Here are some of the less allergenic cat breeds:
1. The Sphynx
The Sphynx Cat, also known as the Canadian hairless, was bred by a cat breeder in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1966 from a litter of nearly hairless kittens through inbreeding selection, purposely for cat lovers with cat allergies.
This cat is hairless except for its face, tail, and the ends of its limbs, which have some soft and thin hair, and its skin is wrinkled and elastic. The surface of the skin is protected by a layer of oil. They are afraid of the cold and need to keep the temperature at about 25 degrees. They can be bathed once or twice a week. Because they are used to bathing since childhood, hairless cats are not resistant to bathing.
The Sphynx cats have a very good personality, sticky and docile, with high intelligence and no aggression. It can get along well with the elderly, children, and other pets at home.
2. The Devon Rex
The Devon Rex Cat originated from Devon, England in 1960. The body is slim and muscular, with slender and long limbs. The tail tapers from the root to the end of the tail, with a graceful neck and a long “V” shaped head. The Devon Rex has long, curly hair.
They are clingy and active and get along well with dogs and other pets. Sensitive and affectionate, they make delightful pet companions. The voice is soft and delicate.
They are suitable for apartment living and kittens grow up quickly. The amount of hair loss is very, very small, and frequent bathing can help clean up some dirt.
3. The Burmese
The Burmese cat, known for its roundness, both the front and the side of the head are rounded and plump from head to tail. Most of them are distributed in Yangon, Myanmar. There are 10 breeds, which were bred by American scientist Dr. Joseph Thomson in the early 1930s. Among them, the sable-brown color is the most desirable, and the eyes of all Burmese cats are yellow.
The Burmese cat is heavy and is often described as a “brick wrapped in silk”. Its hair is short and smooth as fiber and does not require daily grooming. The short hair also means that these cats are less likely to shed and are hypoallergenic. So the Burmese cat is a truly low-maintenance cat.
The Burmese cat is lively, softly purring, funny, expressive, brave, intelligent, and loves to act like a baby. It likes to stay with people, is not afraid of strangers, as a child, and can be close to anyone, is a good ornamental companion animal, very suitable for keeping in families with children. Burmese cats have a long life span, generally 16 to 18 years, and some are even longer.
4. The Bengal
The Bengal cat has the appearance of a “cheetah” and is also known as a leopard cat.
They have a very healthy looking body, a small dexterous head, muscular body, small pointed ears, and emerald eyes. Most importantly, the gorgeous hair they have is really attractive.
If fed properly, the Bengal cat has a “fit” body. It is very easy to raise and easy to deal with hair loss. It has very soft hair, is a short-haired cat, the amount of hair loss is also very small, so there is no need to worry about this. The popular colors for Bengal cats are black and white, marble and brown. Bengal cats are usually very agile, but they have a good personality, loyal and friendly.
Although this is a feline born from a wild species, unlike the traditional perception, Bengal cats are very gentle and can get along well with humans, which is why they can be active as pet cats. However, it needs a large amount of exercise, so it is better to provide a spacious place for it.
5. The Balinese
The Balinese cat was originally called the Longhair Siamese because it arose from a natural mutation or recessive genetic trait in Siamese cats. The Balinese cat is native to the United States. It is a long-haired mutant found in the offspring of Siamese cats raised by Mrs. Belen Smith in New York State in the United States at the beginning of this century. It was bred through a series of selection, purification, and breeding. It was first recognized in the United States in 1963 and is now one of the most popular breeds around the world.
The Balinese cat is intelligent, enthusiastic, curious, and playful. But it is more docile than its close relative, the Siamese cat, and the Balinese cat has a softer voice and a beguiling purring tone. Outgoing and active, this breed of cat prefers human companionship and does not like to be alone. It needs to be loved and emotionally invested by its owner. Besides, the Balinese cat prefers the company of other active cats or dogs. It is very loyal to its owner. It is sensitive, loving, and pleasing to the eye. It has the jumping skills of an acrobat and has a graceful gait when walking in small steps. The Balinese cat is active and hunts well, so the courtyard is more suitable for her. The hair is easy to take care of, just groom once a week. Balinese cats do not shed much.
6. The Russian Blue
The Russian Blue Cat is born different from other cats, probably because of the extreme cold, which makes it very cold and seemingly unsmiling. The Russian Blue Cat is double-coated but rarely sheds, probably because it is difficult to survive in the cold if it sheds.
Although the number of hairs shed varies little between long-haired and short-haired species, the long-haired species have seven to eight times longer hairs than the short-haired species. The gray Russian blue is the most famous, while with the green eyes it looks much nobler.
This is a rather elegant cat, they only shed intensively at a certain time, and don’t shed later on. They have large, green eyes, and overall look very beautiful and elegant.
7. The LaPerm
LaPerm cats have a lot of personalities and are lively and cute. With a somewhat curly coat and large ears, they have a very cute look. They have an elegant and athletic build, are gentle and very affectionate, active and outgoing.
LaPerm cats are considered to be hypoallergenic cats, with a much lower level of overreaction to humans than other breeds. Their most distinctive feature is their hair, which is very soft and curly, like a shaggy perm. The LaPerm cat has very thick hair but sheds very little. Some of them are hairless when they are born, and most of them have soft hairs at birth, but they usually disappear when they are young and become a “bald cat”, but later they grow a new coat that is very thick and, of course, curly. There are both long-haired and short-haired versions of the LaPerm cat. All hair colors and eye colors are acceptable.
The LaPerm cat seeks to contact people and will purr to make you aware of their existence as soon as possible. They have a curious nature and around them, he always wants to know what is going on. They will touch your face, with their paws and their face to your head, neck, and face.
8. The Siberian
Siberian cats survive in harsh natural environments and have very dense hairs to adapt to the cold weather. The Siberian cat is a natural cat breed, not a modern crossbred pet cat. It is one of the large cat breeds that has evolved through continuous evolution in harsh environments, making it extremely adaptable to survive and its characteristics very mature and stable.
The Siberian cat is relatively large, compact, stout and heavy, powerful and handsome, with mostly green and yellow eye color and hair with tiger patch pattern. Golden is the most common color. To adapt to the cold weather, their bodies are covered with gorgeous long hairs and their necks have thick fur collars. Their hairs are hard and fuzzy, and they generally look very dominant.
The Siberian cat has a very good personality, with dog characteristics such as loyalty and closeness to humans, and the ability to pick up things thrown by the owner. It is very intelligent and can learn many skills. There are almost all the colors that cats can have, and the choices are diverse. It likes high places very much and is physically strong enough to jump to the refrigerator and climb trees.
Although Siberian cats have a lot of hair, their hair loss is not particularly serious. Occasionally, they will shed hair, but they do not lose large areas of hair due to molting and other reasons.
Because most Siberian cats survive outdoors, they can appear to be wild, but in fact, they are also very gentle and easy-going. They like to be quiet, lively, have a unique personality, and are friendly to their owners. They like to play with children and are very suitable for family raising.
9. The Cornish Rex
The Cornish Rex cat is recognized as one of the bedroom cats. The so-called bedroom cats generally require loved ones and will not shed severely. Although the breed is small to medium-sized, with its well-developed hips and legs, it can make quick starts, stops quick turns, and high jumps. The soft, curly hair and lively personality are unique to the Cornish Rex Cat. The Cornish Rex cats are long and slender, intelligent and alert by nature, with a variety of colors and relatively exotic shapes.
The coat of the Cornish Rex Cat is like a short permed hair. In addition to its curly coat, the whiskers and eyebrows are also curly, which can be said to be a characteristic of the Curly Cats.
The Cornish Rex cat has a dog-like personality and loves people and social activities. They use their paws as if they are using their hands, and can even play toss and catch with people. Some will turn door handles to open doors. Studies have shown that the curly-haired cat emotionally is one of the most versatile all-rounders that can adapt to various situations.
Despite their elegant appearance, the Cornish Rex cats are surprisingly sturdy and do not require any special care. The active cat loves to exercise, so it’s not difficult for him to entertain himself. Because it likes to participate in all the things that happen at home, the Cornish Rex cat does not like to be locked up. Being a member of the family and being able to run around the house is the lifestyle that Cornish Rex cats pursue.
The Cornish Rex cats like heat and always try to get as close to the heat source as possible. If you have a home heater, your cat will spend the winter sitting on the heater. In summer, it likes to bask in the sun even on the hottest days. Therefore, in winter, the Cornish Rex cat will be extremely close to its owner for petting, kissing, and warmth.
10. The Oriental Shorthair
The Oriental Shorthair cat, medium-sized, has long, elegant limbs and is also well muscled. Long and slender limbs, short hair. With an attractive oriental body shape, the whole body exudes a kind of divine charm unique to oriental cats.
The Oriental Shorthair cats have a high IQ that cannot be matched by ordinary purebred cats. They are naturally active and always have a bit of a sense of playfulness. They are very active, intelligent, sociable, and playful. They like different toys, including catnip bags, toy mice, and even a crumpled paper ball. They can happily play with even an empty cardboard box for hours.
The Oriental Shorthair cats are strong and independent. Despite their slim and delicate appearance, they are all athletic and confident, often playing the role of the winner even against much larger cats and dogs.
For the Oriental Shorthair cat, its care is very simple, as long as you set aside a little time every day to hold it in your arms and gently touch it with warm hands, it is the best care for it because this can help it transfer the grease needed for its hair and make its hair shinier.
If you like quietness, want a safe little arrangement in your home, and want a cat that can sit quietly for an afternoon looking peaceful, then choosing an Oriental Shorthair cat is not the right choice. They are for people who want a fun pet to play with and who desire a truly devoted companion.
11. The Javanese
The Javanese cat is medium-sized, slender, long-legged, elegant but muscular. Despite its name Java, the breed did not originate in Java. During the breeding of the Balinese (semi-longhaired Siamese cats), American breeding experts obtained a semi-longhaired Oriental type of cat and named it Java based on its type.
The Javanese cat has the same personality traits as the Oriental-type cat. It is outgoing and talkative, with a musical voice. It is dedicated, likes to follow its owner like a puppy, and it knows how to be loved by its owner. They are good “athletes” and skilled “hunters”. The hair is easy to take care of and it especially likes to be groomed.
In this article, we introduced several cat breeds that shed little hair. If you don’t want to clean your cat’s hair too often, these cats may be a better choice. If you are worried about cat hair affecting your home environment, then these cats are perfect.
If you’re a sufferer of cat-related allergies, even though these breeds aren’t completely hypoallergenic, it is nice to know that there are some more allergy-friendly options for cat lovers looking for a feline to add to the family. Just make sure to do your research so you can make sure you’re finding the perfect fit for your situation.
We hope this article can help you if you are ready to get a cat. No matter who you choose, love them well.