Worst Cats for Allergies

Persian Cat

For many people, the cuteness of a cat may be too hard to resist. Unfortunately, this may also be true for people who are allergic to cats. We’re here to tell you which cats to avoid if you have cat allergies. The worst cats for allergies are those that trigger a stronger allergic reaction compared to others. That being said, if you’re someone with milder cat allergies looking to adopt a cat, we also have a list of the best cats for people with cat allergies found here.

What Causes Cat Allergies?

Contrary to popular belief, cat allergies are not caused by a cat’s fur, but instead are caused by a protein secreted by the cat called Fel D1. When cats groom themselves, Fel D1 protein in the cat’s saliva sticks to their fur, which then causes Fel D1 to be airborne when the cat eventually sheds. 

With this in mind, there are 3 factors that determine how likely a cat is to cause an allergic reaction to people around them. 

Fur Length: The longer a cat’s fur, the more likely it is to trap the Fel D1 protein, causing more Fel D1 to be made airborne when they eventually shed. Long cat fur is one of the most common features amongst the worst cats for allergies. Luckily, it’s also one of a cat’s most obvious features.

Grooming and Shedding Frequency: Some cats groom themselves more, which leads to more Fel D1 being deposited onto their fur. Shedding more often also leads to more Fel D1 being spread around, increasing the likelihood of an allergic reaction.

Fel D1 Production: Across breeds, Fel D1 production levels are roughly similar, but there is some variance. Some breeds produce slightly more, such as Himalayan cats, while other breeds produce less, such as Siberian cats.

Worst Cats for Allergies

Persian cat looking at screen

Persian

The Persian cat is known to be one of the breeds that shed the most frequently. On top of that, Persian cats blow their coat twice a year, meaning they shed their entire coat at once, causing a lot of Fel D1 to be spread around.

Oriental longhair cat

Oriental Longhair

As the name suggests, Oriental Longhairs have long fur, which traps a lot of Fel D1. These cats also frequently groom themselves, increasing the amount of Fel D1 that gets trapped.

British longhair cat

British Longhair

Similar to the Oriental Longhair, the British Longhair has long fur, trapping more Fel D1. British Longhairs also shed very often, so you should avoid these cats if you have cat allergies.

Birman cat

Birman

Though Birman cats only shed a moderate amount, their fur is thick and long, which does a great job at trapping Fel D1 proteins. When they do shed, all of this trapped Fel D1 is released.

Himalayan cat

Himalayan

Himalayan cats produce more Fel D1 compared to other breeds. They are also heavy shedders, making them among the worst cats for allergies.

Cymric cat

Cymric

A variation of the Manx cat, Cymric cats are very recognizable because they lack a tail. Cymric cats also have very long coats, which traps a lot of Fel D1. Although they only shed moderately, it’s best not to take the risk if you are allergic.

Maine coon

Maine Coon

Despite Maine Coons having shorter fur compared to some of the other breeds on this list, they shed very often. This means that when compared to the other cats on this list, the amount of Fel D1 being turned airborne is the same.

Scottish fold

Scottish Fold

Scottish Folds have an average shedding frequency, but their coats are extremely thick. This thick coat acts similarly to the long haired cats on this list, trapping large amounts of Fel D1. 

What to do to Minimize Cat Allergies

Despite being aware of which breeds are the worst cats for allergies, sometimes you can’t completely avoid them. In these cases, there are additional things you can do to lessen the allergic reaction you may have. For instance, you can bring antihistamines to keep the allergic reaction at bay while you’re around the cat. You could also place an air purifier in the room, which removes much of the particles in the air, including Fel D1. Finally, you can buy Pacagen’s Cat Allergen Neutralizing Spray, which attacks the Fel D1 directly, neutralizing its effects. This makes these proteins non-allergic to you, letting you play freely with your furry friend. For a more in-depth look at ways to deal with such allergies, refer to another one of our articles here.