Pet allergies are common and come in all forms of severity and sensitivities depending on the animal. In the United States, 3 out of 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to pets, and considering that cat allergies are abouttwice as common as dog allergies, it’s no wonder why many Americans are on the lookout for the perfect hypoallergenic cat to share their lives with, minus all the sneezing and eye scratching.
For dog lovers, hypoallergenic breeds like the poodle, bichon frise, maltese and labradoodle offer companionship without all the irritating allergens. But there are also several options for cat lovers looking for the perfect pet that won’t trigger an allergic reaction.
Hypoallergenic cats are not like a magical unicorn or leprechaun with a pot of gold: they do exist, there are many different breeds, and they aren’t all hairless. Let’s look at some of the most popular hypoallergenic cat breeds available.
The following breeds are considered to be some of the top hypoallergenic cats and are ideal for pet lovers that have highly sensitive allergies towards cats.
Balinese-Javanese – Resembling the popular Siamese breed, the Balinese (also called Javanese) is known for having a silky smooth coat and a luxurious tail plume. But their fluffy appearance isn’t really indicative of their overall allergy friendliness. The Balinese is considered one of the least shedding cats among long-haired breeds. Like the Siamese, they are talkative, have an easy-going personality, and are considered hypoallergenic.
Siberian – With its bushy coat and extra fluffy tail, this large and powerful cat breed isn’t one you would think to be hypoallergenic. Though a rare breed in the U.S., they are gaining popularity for their lack of irritating dander and their affectionate and intelligent temperament. The Siberian is also one of few cat breeds that doesn’t mind getting a little wet and like to sometimes play in water.
Devon Rex – Resembling a hairless breed, the Devon Rex is sometimes referred to as a “poodle that purrs” because of its short curly hair and wagging tail when happy. Similar to its canine counterpart, the Poodle, the Devon Rex is considered hypoallergenic. This breed is usually on the smaller side, but makes up for it with their large and sociable personality.
Sphynx – The skin of a Sphynx has been said to resemble warm suede, not unlike their warm, affectionate personality. Similar to other hairless cat breeds, Sphynx are one the most allergy friendly breeds. Contrary to popular belief, most cats of this breed are not completely hairless, although they appear to be bald all over. That’s because their fur is so fine and short, it usually cannot be seen by the human eye. Shedding is almost non-existent with these types of cats.
The following breeds are considered hypoallergenic and are comfortable companions for most people with moderate to low allergy sensitivities to felines.
Siamese – One of the most recognizable of all cat breeds is also considered hypoallergenic. The Siamese extra-short hair limits shedding and their beautiful coat comes in four traditional colors. Personality-wise, the Siamese is popular for their people-loving nature and strong communication skills. They are known to meow A LOT, but their adorable baby blue eyes make it hard for their owners to stay annoyed.
Bengal – The main draw of the Bengal cat is its wild, untamed appearance that resembles an African predator. Indeed, they are great hunters, but the large athletic breed is also very playful and great for families with kids. Not only are they hypoallergenic, but they have a trait called “glistening” that gives their coat a shiny, glimmering finish.
Burmese – With their natural tendencies to follow their owners and to give and receive affection, Burmese cats are almost dog-like. In fact, many cats of this breed learn to play fetch. Their coat is generally shorter and solid-colored with subtle variations in shading.
Ocicat – This spotted, wild-looking cat is another distant relative of the Siamese. Though it’s not completely non-allergenic, the short-haired, hypoallergenic Ocicat comes in several distinct colors, each with leopard-like spots that distinguish it from other feline breeds. This cat is smart and sociable, getting along well with people and other pets alike.
While no cat is 100% hypoallergenic, the above breeds give allergy-prone owners several options for feline companionship that won’t cause constant sinus issues.