Most people who suffer from cat allergies blame the allergy on cat fur, but the allergen is actually present in the saliva of cats, and when the cat washes itself, the saliva deposits on the coat and gives rise to dandruff or dust.
Hairless cats, or breeds with less hair, retain fewer allergens. These types of cats are considered hypo-allergic, which does not mean they are “allergen-free," but that they have reduced allergens.
The five cat breeds below are generally believed to be hypo-allergenic:
- Rex Cats - The Cornish Rex and Devon Rex are playful, active cats that are hypo-allergenic due to the nature of their coats. The Cornish Rex has a fine coat of curly hair and sheds little hair. The Devon Rex has a coat that can be loose and curly in some cats and tight and thin in some. Grooming is easy and a quick rub-down is often enough.
- Sphynx – The Sphynx is a nearly hairless cat. Its very fine coat does not deposit a large number of allergens that may irritate the owner.
- Siberian – The Siberian has a moderately long coat, but what makes it a suitable cat for allergy sufferers is the low level of enzymes in the saliva that lead to allergies.
- Javanese – The Javanese cat has a medium length coat that does not mat or curl. They don’t have an undercoat which makes them easier to groom and wash.
- Balinese – With its long-haired appearance and full coat, it is difficult to believe the Balinese could be hypo-allergenic, but it is one of the few breeds that naturally produce a smaller amount of the allergen in saliva. This makes the Balinese one of the best cats for allergy-sufferers.
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