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If you’re allergic to cats, you might think your dreams of becoming a cat parent will never come true. However, many pet parents are allergic to their feline friends and still manage to take care of them and show them the affection they deserve. Those with cat allergies may choose to find a cat that doesn’t shed as much or one that is virtually hairless to prevent their allergies from flaring up. However, there are other reasons you may want to find a cat that doesn’t shed too much.
Maybe you don’t want fur all over your black clothes or around your home, or maybe your friend is allergic to cats, and you want them to be able to comfortably spend time in your home. No matter the reason why you're looking for a cat that doesn’t shed, many types of cats don’t shed as much as others, which could provide you with a solution to your dilemmas.
- Are There Really Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds?
- Cat Breeds That Shed Less (If At All)
- How To Prevent Shedding
- Final Notes
Are There Really Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat breed. Ultimately, people aren’t allergic to the cat’s fur; they’re allergic to proteins in cat saliva.1 Every cat has saliva, so if you’re allergic to cats, you’ll be allergic to all cats. However, you might realize that your allergies flare up around some cats but not others. The reason for this might be the cat itself or the cleanliness of the home.
Cats groom themselves with their tongue, and their fur comes off on everything around a home, meaning your allergies could flare up when a cat isn’t in the same room because their fur (with their saliva) is in that room. However, if the owner of the cat vacuums the carpets and furniture regularly, you may find you don’t suffer from allergies as severely as in the homes of other cat owners. That’s because the owner removes the saliva-covered fur from the house.
Additionally, some cats shed more than others, which means more opportunities for their saliva to get on the furniture or carpet, on clothing, and in the air. Since all cats groom themselves, a cat that sheds less is putting less saliva into the environment, which may make them somewhat hypoallergenic.
Cat Breeds That Shed Less (If At All)
While there are no truly hypoallergenic cats because all cats have saliva, finding a cat that sheds less often means less saliva finding its way in the nooks and crannies of your home, ultimately reducing your allergies. Hypoallergenic cat breeds are usually short-haired cats or non-shedding cats, making them the best cats for allergies. Here are a few breeds you might consider if you’re looking for cats that don’t shed too much.
The Cornish Rex is a short-haired cat with long ears and legs. They’re affectionate and love to play with their humans. However, they have high energy levels, so they need tons of toys and activities. While the Cornish Rex isn’t a naked cat breed, they shed less than other types of breeds because they have short curly hair that’s close to the body.
The Devon Rex is similar in size to the Cornish Rex but is more independent, making it an ideal pet for those who aren’t home often. However, when you do spend time at home, the Devon Rex will be affectionate and want to play. In addition, these cats shed very little, so while you can expect to see some fur on your black clothing, their shedding levels won’t force you to vacuum the house every day.
Like the Cornish Rex, the Devon Rex has curly, short hair. But, since they love attention, they’re prone to lick their pet parents or rub up against them, which means putting allergens on your clothes and furniture.
Burmese cats are small breeds with fine coats. They have less hair on their bodies than other breeds, which means less shedding overall. Burmese cats love affection and will spend as much time with you as possible. However, they’re also fairly independent and will enjoy playing with toys on their own. Burmese cats are loyal and also get along with other pets, including dogs.
Birman cats have a fluffy coat that’s white or light in color with dark to black faces and tails. Since they have a long coat, you might think they’ll shed all over your home. However, despite their fluffiness, they have relatively low shedding because their coat doesn’t get matted. Additionally, they require minimal grooming, so they’re easy to care for. Birmans are intelligent and affectionate and can even be trained similar to dogs.
Russian Blues are medium-coated cats that shed over a three-week period once a year. While they still shed, you only have to worry about it for a few weeks out of the year. The rest of the year, your Russian Blue won’t shed at all. They have a soft coat that’s silver-blue, which is how they got their name.
Siamese cats have the most low-maintenance coats out of any other breed on this list. Siamese cats have white or cream-colored bodies with dark faces, ears, and tails, giving them a striking appearance. However, they shed minimally after grooming.
The Donskoy is a naked cat breed with a few different coat types. However, their coats are typically hairless, so you can expect minimal shedding. Of course, all cats have some fur in the form of peach fuzz. However, these cats are primarily naked. Naked cat breeds require more maintenance than other types of cats because they’re prone to dry skin and skin infections since they don’t have fur to protect them. Additionally, they get cold easily, so your Donskoy might have to wear a sweater inside the home during the colder seasons.
Bombay cats are fully black cats with short, tight coats that shed minimally compared to other breeds. These cats can be friendly towards people, dogs, and other cats, but it all depends on each individual cat’s temperament. Bombays are active and curious and love playing and watching birds outside. However, they can also be incredibly affectionate with their pet parents.
Bengal cats are most known for their beautiful coats that make them look like small leopards. Bengal cats are large cats that are energetic and love playing games. However, their beautiful coat doesn’t shed too much. Of course, Bengals aren’t for everyone. They’re considered high-maintenance cats because they’re energetic and large and can get into trouble when you’re not watching them.
Peterbalds are another naked cat breed that can be totally hairless or have peach fuzz. All types of Peterbalds are low-shedding. This interesting-looking breed is medium-sized and ranges in color, but they’re known for being affectionate and vocal cats.
Ocicats are spotted cats that are low maintenance with minimal shedding. They have a tight coat but still require weekly brushing. However, after weekly grooming, they shouldn’t shed as much, allowing you to control their shedding and prevent it from getting all over the house. Ocicats range in color from brown and cinnamon to blue and even fawn. They’re energetic and loving, so they need regular playtime every day.
Singapura cats are tiny cats that offer low shedding. They have great personalities and love to play. Their coats are single-colored, typically brown. However, they shed lightly to moderately and require little grooming.
How To Prevent Shedding
Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely prevent shedding in cats. Dry skin cells and fur fall off throughout the day, and all cats will lose fur from time to time. Even cats without fur, also known as naked cat breeds, shed because they shed skin cells. Cats can also shed more, depending on a number of factors. Understanding these potential causes can help you try to find a way to prevent your cat from shedding more than usual:
- Stress and anxiety: Cats shed when they’re stressed as their body’s natural response. You can prevent this excess shedding by treating and managing anxiety in cats by working with a vet behaviorist or avoiding activities that could make your cat become fearful.
- Poor nutrition: Cats that don’t get a balanced diet full of all the nutrients they need may shed more because it’s the equivalent of their hair falling out due to lack of nutrients. Since skin and fur require vitamins, always ensure your cat is eating the right diet for them.
- Excessive grooming: Cats may excessively groom themselves for a variety of reasons, ranging from anxiety to health conditions and itchy skin. However, every time your cat grooms themselves, they can pull out loose fur, causing them to shed more often.
- Medical conditions: Medical conditions like allergies and skin infections can make your cat shed more. The only way to prevent this type of shedding is to have your cat examined by a vet who can treat the cause and associated side effects like shedding.
While you can’t prevent shedding, there are some things you can do at home to prevent your cat’s fur from irritating your allergies, including:
- Cleaning: Regularly vacuum and dust your home to remove as much fur as possible. Depending on how much your cat sheds, you may need to vacuum at least twice a week.
- Bathing them: Bathing your cat can remove their saliva from their fur while loosening up fur that’s ready to shed, allowing it to come off in the bathtub instead of on your carpet or furniture.
- Brushing them: Brushing your cat can help remove their fur before it sheds.
- Don’t let them near clothing: After finishing laundry, put your clothes away immediately. Since cats like to use clothing and blankets as beds and toys, keeping your cat away from your clean laundry can help prevent an allergy attack.
- Washing your hands: As a pet parent, you want to play with your pet and show them the affection they desire. Washing your hands after playing with or petting your cat can help prevent allergy flare-ups. You should also avoid touching your face, especially your mouth and nose, with hands that have just touched a cat.
While there is no truly hypoallergenic cat, some cats don’t shed as much as others, making them ideal options for those with allergies. But, of course, even cats that don’t shed too much can still shed more than usual due to medical conditions like anxiety and skin infections. Talk to a Dutch vet if your cat is shedding more than usual. Our licensed vets can help you get to the bottom of your cat’s shedding and treat the cause to make them feel better while helping you prevent allergy attacks. Looking for good cat names for your next pet? We can even help with that.
“There's No Such Thing as a Hypoallergenic Cat.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 17 Apr. 2018, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/theres-no-such-thing-hypoallergenic-cat-180968819/.