If you suffer from allergies, you might find that being around cats can really set off a run of sneezes, sniffles, and watery, itchy eyes. That’s when the idea of hypoallergenic cats is usually brought up — felines who allegedly will not aggravate allergies in humans.
But do hypoallergenic cats really exist?
The short answer is, well, not really — or at least not definitively, according to scientists and studies. Although, anecdotal evidence does suggest that certain cat breeds might be less likely to set off allergies.
Let’s look deeper into the issue of hypoallergenic cats.
The Science Behind Cats And Allergies
When someone says they have an allergy to cats, what they usually mean is that they experience an allergic reaction to protein contained in the feline’s saliva. So when a cat licks themselves to stay clean, the protein winds up on the cat’s fur, which in turn can make its way to carpets, furniture, and clothes.
Being that all cats produce saliva, no matter what the breed of feline, it stands to reason that there aren’t technically any hypoallergenic cats.
You might come across breeders listing cats as hypoallergenic. However, science has yet to confirm that such a thing can exist.
How You Can Reduce Your Allergies Around Cats
So what do you do if you want to adopt a cat, but you’re pretty sure you’re allergic to them?
Well, first of all, lots of anecdotal evidence suggests that certain cat breeds are less likely to stir up allergies. Some of the most commonly recommended cat breeds for people with allergies include:
- Siberian — tests have shown that the breed’s saliva might contain a slightly lower level of the offending proteins than other cats.
- Sphynx — a hairless cat. As the feline needs regular wiping down, there are often fewer allergens and chances for allergic reactions to take place.
- Cornish Rex & Devon Rex — these are shorter-haired cats, which in turn means that they have less hair to shed.
Beyond specific breeds, you can try to minimize the chances of a cat aggravating your allergies by making sure you dust and vacuum your home regularly, wipe the cat down with vet-recommended cat wipes, and keep your feline away from human sleeping areas.
Make sure your cat has their own bed to sleep in, and pick up one that you can easily wash to remove built-up allergens.
Do you think hypoallergenic cats really exist? Are there any other ways allergy sufferers can live comfortably with cats? Let us know in the comments section below!
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