Although no cat breed has been scientifically proven to be hypoallergenic
, anecdotal reports claim a few breeds may be less allergenic, either because of the type of coats they wear, or because they produce less of the protein (Feld 1) which creates dander. Here is a list of those cats.
:Disclaimer: If you have serious allergies, be sure to check with your family practitioner or allergist before entertaining the idea of having a cat in your home. Then, if you get the all-clear, you can visit breeders to spend time with some of these cats.
This piece has been reviewed by the About.com Medical Review Board.
Photo Credit: © Nance Ross
Owners and breeders of the Rex cats claim that these cats rarely cause allergy attacks. The cited reason is their short, very fine coats which tend not to hold dander as much as longhaired cats, and other cats with multiple coat layers, especially cats with dense undercoats. Rex cats have no top coat at all, and only a very fine undercoat.
There are three recognized breeds of Rex cats: the Cornish Rex (pictured here), the Devon Rex, the Selkirk Rex, and a related breed, called the LaPerm. Another breed, the German Rex is well-known in that country,
First, though, it is important to understand dander: what it is, what causes it, and ways to avoid it.
Although Sphyx cats are commonly described as "hairless," they do have hair: very fine down, which feels almost suede-like when stroked. Sphyx cats produce dander, as do all cats, but if rubbed down frequently, its presence can be minimized.
Other "nearly nude" cat breeds include the Peterbald, pictured here, and the Don Hairless.
Unlike the Rex and Sphynx cat breeds, the Siberian cat's claim to fame in the allergenic department is the belief that Siberian cats produce either non or relatively little of the Fel d1 allergen, compared to other cats. There is little scientific proof of this, although an independent lab analysis in 1999, cited on this Siberian cat breeder's
web site, revealed astonishing results.
Another theory, cited by the same source, is that "due to the tight, thick undercoat and oily top coat, the skin stays well hydrated, thereby reducing dander production and distribution."