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Hypoallergenic Cats to Cuddle this Valentine’s Day


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Whether you’re single or all loved up, there’s not much better than a good cat snuggle on Valentine’s Day. Sorry chocolates and roses, you just can’t compete. And because hypoallergenic cats can be suitable even for those who get sniffles and watery eyes, perhaps there’s a cat out there waiting for you to share your love on 14 February.

Even if it’s not strictly for Valentine’s Day, knowing which cats are hypoallergenic and which are likely to set off the sneezing can never be a bad thing.

Do hypoallergenic cats exist?

Technically, no. Hypoallergenic cats don’t exist. But people suffering from allergies may still be able to find a cat who they can live with.

Allergies to cats are caused by a protein in the animal’s saliva, skin, and urine. All cats make this protein naturally. This protein, or allergen, sticks to the cat’s fur when they lick themselves, and comes off in small particles as they lie around on your furniture, rub against the wall, or anything else.

These proteins can stay in the air for weeks or months, causing asthma, sneezing, and congestion. It’s also why a scratch or lick from a cat makes some people itch and develop rashes or welts.

But strangely, people do seem to be less allergic to some cats than others. Some cats lick themselves less than others, some cats secrete less of the protein which causes allergies, and some shed less fur to hang around your house causing allergies at every turn.

And though some of those factors are down to the individual cat, some breeds may be more suitable for people with allergies. Even if they’re not strictly considered to be hypoallergenic cats.

Russian blue cats are hypoallergenic as they produce less fel d1

Three “hypoallergenic” cat breeds

Highly allergic people may find they aren’t able to tolerate any cats at all. In which case, you’ll have to find yourself a different pet. But if you’re wondering whether one of these so-called hypoallergenic cats may work for you, here are some breeds that are generally tolerated better than one of your regular domestic cats.

1. Russian Blue

Gorgeous Russian Blue cats are instantly recognisable thanks to their shimmery grey-blue colour and their short, dense coat. The fur is soft to the touch, and because it’s a double coat it doesn’t shed too much. And these cats produce less Fel D1 (the most prominent allergen) than any other breed.

2. Siberian 

You might be surprised to hear the long-haired Siberian is often considered to be one of the hypoallergenic cat breeds. Despite having Barbie-doll locks, they produce smaller amounts of Fel D1 than many other breeds.

3. Sphynx

Of course, Sphynx cats still produce allergy-causing proteins like other cats. But because they have no fur, they leave less of this protein around your home. A Sphynx or another of the several breeds of hairless cats might be a good option if you’re allergic to cats, simply because they can’t shed.

Other cats who don’t shed that much and therefore might be considered hypoallergenic cats – or at least more suitable for allergic pet parents – include the Devon Rex, Burmese and Bengal cat breeds.

While on the topic of fewer sneezes and itches, be sure to read about hypoallergenic dogs too!

A Bengal cat lying on a bed, tummy facing up

Other ways to deal with cat allergies

If you’re still struggling with sniffling and coughing despite getting your paws on a hypoallergic cat, you can take some steps to try and reduce your reaction.

Should you bath your cat? No, not if you can help it. But you can keep your home nice and clean, designate cat-free areas to limit dander, and keep windows open to keep air circulating around the home. And sleeping with your cat is lovely, but limiting their contact with your linen can do wonders for your allergies.

Further, ensure your cat is properly groomed (even if someone else has to do it) and brushed to limit shedding. If you do go in for a cuddle, wash your hands properly afterwards as well as your face if needed. And an air purifier can help reduce the allergy-causing particles floating around in the air.

Just in case your hypoallergenic cat ends up being the one struggling with their own allergies, consider taking out a pet insurance plan for your kitty. That way, you can get them medical treatment without worrying about the impact on your purse.

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