Itchy eyes, running nose, constant sneezing—cat-related allergies are no joke. And for cat lovers, this immune system overreaction can be devastating. But there’s good news for everyone suffering from mild cat allergies. While there is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic cat breed, there are a few types of cats that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions.
Contrary to popular belief, people with allergies react to a cat’s saliva and skin oils, not their fur. Proteins in a cat’s spit and skin are spread to the fur through grooming. When the cat sheds, those proteins spread throughout the house. Even a completely hairless cat has saliva, and that’s why it’s impossible for a cat to be truly hypoallergenic. But by shedding less or producing less of the protein, certain cat breeds give minor allergy sufferers some hope.
The following cat breeds can’t promise you’ll never sneeze when they’re around, but there is evidence that shows they’re better for allergy sufferers than other breeds. These hypoallergenic cats are an allergy sufferer’s best chance at living with felines without the constant sniffling and sneezing.
Of course this hairless cat breed belongs on this list. Their saliva and skin oils might still trigger someone with severe allergies, but the fact that these cats don’t shed makes them the go-to hypoallergenic cat breed.
Beneath those cute pink wrinkles, the Sphynx is a generally friendly and silly cat. They get along well with both people and other pets. Not every Sphynx is completely hairless, some have a velvety peach fuzz, but they’re athletic, interesting-looking cats that can fit in with just about any family.
A Siberian’s long, luscious fur doesn’t look hypoallergenic, but this big cat breed is known to produce low levels of the allergy-causing protein called Fel D1. For this reason, they can make great companions for people who suffer from mild allergy symptoms.
Besides being a fairly hypoallergenic cat breed, the Siberian is known for its strength and playfulness. They’re powerful cats that are capable of taking care of themselves if they need to, but they’d much rather chase a feather wand held by their favorite person. As people-oriented cats, they’re always happy being the center of attention.
With its short gray fur, the Russian Blue is a refined and regal-looking cat breed. They’re often the breed of choice for allergy sufferers because, unlike many other breeds, they hardly shed. This doesn’t mean you’ll never see strands of gray fur clinging to your clothes, but minimal shedding helps prevent the spread of allergens.
A Russian Blue’s personality usually matches its looks in that it’s charming and genial. They’re more on the quiet side than they are playful, but they’re also loyal to their people.
Unlike most cat breeds, the relatively rare Cornish Rex does not have an outer coat of fur. Instead, they have an exceptionally silky, and often wavy, undercoat that gives them a unique look. Their special fur also helps them to be one of the more hypoallergenic cat breeds of the world.
The first Cornish Rex kitten was born in England in 1950. Its breeder became fascinated with its big ears, slender body, and soft fur. As more kittens were born, the breed became known as the “Greyhound of the cat fancy.” They’re affectionate and energetic cats that make great family members.
Often nicknamed the “longhaired Siamese,” the Balinese is another hypoallergenic cat breed that doesn’t exactly look like it belongs on this list. It has long, beautiful fur that does a fair amount of shedding. But the Balinese produces less of the Fel D1 protein than other cat breeds. This gives it an advantage when it comes to making friends with people with allergies.
Not only does the Balinese have stunning good looks, it’s also intelligent and friendly. They love to “talk” and prefer to be the center of attention.