Cats Without Undercoats Are Not Hypoallergenic

Cats Without Undercoats Are Not Hypoallergenic

by Kate Stryker
(Buffalo, NY)

Siberian male, Jorrah Karat

Siberian male, Jorrah Karat

There are many misconceptions about allergies and cats. Clearly FALSE, and not scientifically validated is the comment by Dr. Fulvio Bresciani on the York Chocolate page about York Chocolates being hypoallergenic due to lack of undercoat ("the lack of undercoat is an important element in producing a hypoallergenic cat as it is the undercoat that is the main source of human allergies of cats."). The creator of PoC (this site) also disagrees with him.

In fact, cats produce 7 distinct allergens. Most allergic people react to cat allergen # 1. It is named Feld-1.

Feld-1 is produced in both saliva and in oil glands. Lack or presence of any of the coats is inconsequential.

Unneutered cats produce more feld-1 as it is testosterone mediated. Adults produce more than kittens. Pregnant cats more than non pregnant cats. And the winter months are the months of highest expression. This is likely due to winter being a prime mating period for cats living naturally.

Cats deposit the allergen on their coats when grooming, and spread it around the house via dander and hair that has dried saliva on it. They also rub on objects and deposit the oil from their scent glands found at the neck and base of tail. Additionally, the allergen is expressed from the anal glands during toileting.

Siberian cats are the only breed of hypoallergenic cats. They are Lab tested, and currently UC Davis in California is researching the exact genetic mechanism for the reduced FELD-1 production in Siberian cats. For more information, please go here.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have, as we both test our cats, and participate in the authentic University based research project.


Hi Kate.... thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

When I wrote a page on hypoallergenic cats a little while ago I had decided that there were no such cats (including the Siberian) - see post here: Hypoallergenic cat breeds but your comments have made me think again. Thanks for that.

Jorrah Karat looks fabulous by the way. I like Siberian cats.

I will also link to this page from the Siberian cat page and my hypoallergenic cat breed page so people get the full picture and read what you say.

I changed the title. I hope you are OK with that.

Michael Avatar

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Cats Without Undercoats Are Not Hypoallergenic

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Mar 21, 2011
by: seo

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Feb 20, 2011
single coated cats and allergy?
by: Anonymous

I've heard quite a bit of anecdotal evidence that some people with allergies have said they're less affected by certain single coated breeds including the Cornish and Devon Rex, and the Siamese and Burmese.
Of course in the former 2 they have ONLY the undercoat with no guard hairs and the latter 2 they have only the single top coat with no undercoat (which would also apply to the Korat that was mentioned). So perhaps it is just that if the cat has less fur it sheds less and the chemical that gets on the coat from their saliva is spread about the house less.

Jun 25, 2010
why some cats don't cause allergies
by: ForestWind Sibeirans

Hi - your Korat may not cause allergies for the following reasons:

1. excellent diet = less shedding, less dander and that = less feld-1 airborne to cause problems.

2. desexed = less hormone which controls production of feld-1 . desexed cats produce less.

3. less stress - unstressed cats have healthier coats and produce less oil which is also a carrier of feld -1 see also # 1.

4. all cats - no matter the breed - have variations in levels of feld-1. Yours may simply produce a lot less.

5. excellent air filtration in your home.

6. bathing your cat often reduces the feld-1 on the coat by washing it off.

Hope this helps? You can learn a lot about cats and allergies at our Sweet Siberians dot come website 🙂


Kate and Carolyn

May 22, 2010
Anecdotal observation
by: D Plemons

I am normally mildy allergic and my wife wildly allergic to cats. However, we rescued an abused Korat kitten just a few weeks old and nursed her back to health. Now, 3 years later, she is beautiful and healthy and queen of the realm. She also is a 100% indoor cat who causes us no allergy problems.

I had though this due to the fact that Korats had no undercoat. Is there any other characteristic of Korats that might contribute to this, or did we just luck out and get a cat to whom we are not allergic?

D Plemons

Mar 18, 2010
Thanks Kate
by: Michael

Thanks Kate for the info. Yes, I was using the term to mean that the cat did not produce an allergic reaction.

I'll look at the page again. Much appreciated.

Michael Avatar

Mar 16, 2010
Please consider editing your Hypoallegenic Cats Page
by: ForestWind Siberians

Hi Michael, forgot to note, with this new, scientifically accurate information, please update your hypoallergenic page.

One mistake many make is to conflate hypoallergenic with non allergenic. Hypo means "low" not "no."


Kate Stryker / ForestWind Siberians, Buffalo, NY

Mar 16, 2010
Thank you
by: Kate

Thank you, Michael,

Before we welcomed Siberian cats into our home, we did not believe in a hypoallergenic cat, either. Then we "self tested" by adopting. We are a very cat-allergic family, and do not react to our low allergen cats.

For people interested in health as well as low allergy, it is wise to adopt from traditional Siberian lines that have low inbreeding. High inbreeding increases likelihood of diseases like HCM. In Siberian variants like the Neva Masquarade, the breed was created by crossing Siamese and Himalayan cats, both of which have higher than average rates of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Unfortunately, UC Davis has learned through research that several lines of Neva cats also express higher than normal rates of the Siamese kidney disease. Heartbreaking.
Warmly, Kate Stryker

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