Do Hypoallergenic Cats Exist?

Nearly one in five humans suffers some type of allergic reaction to an allergen produced by a cat. Many pet owners have spent years searching for hypoallergenic cats, or animals that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Although some cats have fur that is less likely to provoke a negative reaction, there is no known breed of cat that is truly allergen-free. Companies such as Allerca have claimed to breed cats that do not cause allergic reactions in cat allergy sufferers, but these claims have yet to be confirmed through scientific studies.

Types of Cat Allergies

Most people who suffer from an allergic reaction to cats respond negatively to a protein produced in the cat’s saliva. Cat fur and cat dander allergies account for a minority of all allergic reactions, but many people mistakenly attribute their allergies to these sources.

Some of the common symptoms caused by cat allergies include:

  • Red and irritated skin
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing

The Myth of Hypoallergenic Cats

No studies have confirmed the existence of truly hypoallergenic cats. However, some breeds of cats tend to illicit milder allergic reactions in some people. These breeds include:

  • Russian Blue
  • Siberian
  • Sphynx
  • Devon and Cornish Rex

Each person’s allergic reaction will differ depending upon the cat. You may find that your symptoms decrease significantly for one breed as compared to another.

Treating and Moderating Cat Allergies

If you or a family member suffers from an allergic reaction to cats, consider the ways that many cat allergy sufferers use to cope with their symptoms. While it is not possible to eliminate your reaction completely, there are several preventative measures that you can take to reduce the allergy-related symptoms. 

The primary way of reducing allergies is to lower the exposure to the offending allergen. Allergens produced by cats tend to float through the air and remain present in a room or house for months. These particles will not generally disappear by themselves. To account for this, consider purchasing a high-quality air purifier system with a HEPA filter to clean the air of potential allergens. Keep your pet clean and brushed. 

Medications to combat the effects of allergies exist in many forms. Hay fever medications, decongestants and immunotherapy treatments can help to reduce the symptoms associated with cat allergies. On top of that, many pet owners find that their allergic reactions diminish over time as they maintain exposure to their cats. This process of desensitization is by no means guaranteed, however. 

While it may be impossible to find a cat or breed that elicits no negative reaction whatsoever, most cat allergy sufferers find a balance of cat, medication and lifestyle changes that moderates their symptoms sufficiently. For further advice regarding your particular situation, talk with a doctor or allergy specialist.