Allergy Free Cats

Siberian Cat

Let’s face it: cats are adorable. Even if you aren’t a “cat person,” the prospect of petting or cuddling with one of these furry friends could bring joy to anybody. Unfortunately, however, many people are limited in their encounters with cats due to their allergic reactions. In fact, cat allergies are the second most common indoor cause for respiratory allergies. If you’re one of these individuals, or you know someone who is, there’s good news: alongside several ways to limit exposure to cat allergens, there are also various “allergy-free” cat breeds that are known to be more compatible with people who are allergic (also known as hypoallergenic cats). 

What Causes Allergies to Cats?

Similar to most allergic reactions, an individual’s allergies to cats stems from the body’s immune system mistaking a foreign substance to be harmful when it’s actually not. These foreign substances are thus called “allergens.”  


In the case of cat allergies, the culprit is the protein called Fel D1 that’s found in cats’ saliva and skin cells. When cats groom themselves and shed dander and hair, they’re effectively spreading these Fel D1 proteins all over their environment, including the couches they might sit on, or even in the air. Thus, when an allergic person stays in a cat-owners’ room for too long, the exposure to the Fel D1 causes an allergic response: sneezing, itchy eyes, etc. 

What are Allergy Free Cats?

While it can be slightly misleading, it’s important to note that there’s no such thing as entirely allergy free cats. All cats still produce Fel D1 to some capacity, albeit some produce less than others. In other words, “allergy free cats” aren’t entirely allergy free; however, there are certainly some groups that are easier to be around for someone with cat allergies. These cats are technically known as “hypoallergenic,” and they’re what people typically think of when they refer to allergy free cats.

How to Determine Which Cats Are Good Allergy Free Cats?

Perhaps you’re currently looking to adopt a kitten or cat, but you’re trying to be extra cautious for allergies. As it turns out, there are a variety of physical factors that are correlated with being a good allergy free cat – all things that you can consider in making your decision.

Gender

Interestingly enough, gender can play a factor in which cats better fulfill the descriptor of an allergy free cat. In particular, female cats tend to produce less Fel D1 than male cats. Moreover, neutered male cats produce less Fel D1 than their intact counterparts. This means that female cats are generally more “allergy free,” followed by neutered males, while intact males are the least like allergy free cats.

Age

As mentioned before, one of the main ways felines spread their Fel D1 is through grooming, whereby they lick and clean their own hair and skin with their saliva. Unlike adult cats, kittens don’t do very much self-grooming. As a result, being around a kitten likely wouldn’t trigger as notable allergic reactions. Although kittens will inevitably grow to be self-grooming adult cats, it gives you a leeway to prepare in advance – perhaps through the purchasing of various products, such as Pacagen’s Cat Allergen Neutralizing Spray, which is designed to safely and effectively neutralize the Fel D1 particles to be spread by the kitten as it slowly adopts grooming habits.

Breeds

Some cat breeds are generally considered more hypoallergenic than others. This could be for multiple reasons, including less production of Fel D1, or simply having less hair to be shed, or a combination. In fact, given the market for such allergy free cats nowadays, the number of respective breeders is increasing – so much so that many of these so-called hypoallergenic cats are bred specifically for people with cat allergies.


Thus, if you’re looking to become a cat owner but are worried about potential allergic reactions, adopting based on breed is one of the most consistent ways to screen for good allergy free cats. For a more in-depth look at examples of the best cat breeds for allergies, check out one of our other articles.

Why are Allergy Free Cats Helpful?

Unfortunately, we cannot reliably control what we’re allergic to – just as we can’t control our love for our furry feline friends. In the case that you are allergic to cats, yet still want to play around with one, adopting an allergy free cat is perhaps one of your best bets in minimizing unpleasant reactions. In fact, studies have shown that specifically-bred allergy free cats secrete and distribute significantly less Fel D1 compared to normal cats, making them considerably more pleasant to be around for those with allergies.

Why Allergy Free Cats if I’m Not Allergic?

Even if you don’t have problems playing with a cat, perhaps your friends or relatives do! Everybody deserves the chance to experience a cat’s present, and adopting an allergy free cat is one of the best ways to allow everyone to do so.


That being said, having an allergy free cat will also make your guests’ stay more enjoyable, even if they aren't cat-lovers. To most allergic individuals, even being in the same living space as a normal cat could trigger strong allergic reactions (due to the Fel D1 accumulated on the surfaces of furniture, for instance). This wouldn’t be as big of a problem for hypoallergenic cat owners.

What if I Still Have Reactions Despite Adopting an Allergy Free Cat?

Of course, having an allergy free cat alone likely won’t make all of your allergy symptoms disappear. Oftentimes, you’d have to supplement with other habits and tools, such as good household maintenance, hygiene, or antihistamines (see here for more details). Pacagen’s Cat Allergen Neutralizing Spray is another great way to minimize symptoms, as it’s a reliable way to neutralize any cat’s allergens in the air or on surfaces, while being safe for both the owner and their cat. You can easily incorporate this helpful addition into your cleaning routine.