When we describe a cat as “hypoallergenic” we do not mean that that cat is guaranteed to cause no allergic reaction in people because the word “hypoallergenic” refers to a sliding scale. The prefix “hypo” means “less than” so the most hypoallergenic cat is the cat that produces the least amount of the cat allergen (Fel D1). Essentially this means an individual cat at a certain time and place: we don’t know the cat. You cannot bundle a group of cats together and say they are the most hypoallergenic because this is about individual cats but we can narrow it down.
Despite what the author of the article on Catster.com states regarding hypoallergenic cat breeds, there are no cat breeds which absolutely do not cause an allergic reaction in people. I believe it is misleading to talk about cat breeds which are hypoallergenic. People who love cat desperately want to live with a beautiful purebred, pedigree cat of the breed of their choice but are reluctant to do so because they are allergic to cats. They look for a solution and head for the most highly ranked page according to Google on hypoallergenic cat breeds namely the one on Catster.com where they are misled. I’m sorry to say that and I don’t wish to be critical but the truth needs to be stated.
The truth is stated by Tonia Marsh on the catworld.com.au website (and here). She does not refer to cat breeds but states that 25% of Rex cats find themselves requiring the assistance of rescue centres because people have abandoned them having discovered that they are not hypoallergenic as they had once thought. The Catster.com website refers to several breeds which they say are hypoallergenic cats, two of which are rex cats: the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex. Well, you wonder whether Caster.com has contributed to the relinquishment of purebred cats to rescue centers.
Before I discuss further the Catster.com list of hypoallergenic cat breeds I will state what I believe to be the most hypoallergenic cat in the world. Whether the cat is purebred or not is almost irrelevant. Tonia on her website states that male cats produce more of the allergen than female cats and in addition non-neutered males sometimes produce more of the allergen than neutered males. So the first choice for the allergic person is to adopt a female cat or a neutered male cat (if a male cat is preferred).
Kittens produce less allergens that adult cats but you can’t live with a kitten all your life so it is not relevant to this discussion.
Dark colored cats are apparently 4 times more likely to cause an allergic reaction in a person than a light-coloured cat. Accordingly a person who is allergic to cats should choose a light-colored female cat.
I have it from a good source, namely the one-time owners of A1 Savannahs, the Stuckis, that Savannah cats tend to be hypoallergenic. In other words, on this sliding hypoallergenic scale referred to above, the Savannah cat produces less of the Fel D1 allergen than your typical cat.
This interesting information squares up with the claims of what is now considered to be a largely discredited company namely LifeStyle Pets (Allerca Cats) who sell a range of cats which they claim are hypoallergenic. When this company says that their cats are hypoallergenic, I believe that they intend to imply that their cats do not cause an allergic reaction in people, which in itself is misleading. However, their number one cat is, in fact, an F1 Savannah cat. They call this highly glamorous and expensive cat an Ashera GD.
The World’s Most Hypoallergenic Cat
Accordingly, on the information available to me at this time, the world’s most hypoallergenic cat would be a white, female, spayed, high filial (F1-F3) Savannah cat and if you add to that cat selection some other factors (see below) you should be as good as you can be if you love but are allergic to cats.
- The clothing that you wear should not include sweaters as they retain more of the feline allergen than cotton garments even after they’ve been washed.
- Read what Tim Link says on this page in respect of ways to minimise a person’s allergic reaction to the allergen. It is good advice.
About the Hypoallergenic Cat Breed List on Catster.com
They say that these cats are hypoallergenic: Balinese, Oriental SH, Javanese, Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, Sphynx and Siberian. What they may be implying is that they are slightly less allergenic than other cats.
However, just because the Sphynx cat is hairless it does not mean that they are hypoallergenic because as we know the sticky protein, which is the allergen, comes from the cat’s saliva and sebaceous glands in the skin. This breed is no more hypoallergenic than any other individual cat including random bred cats in my view. The Sphynx appeals as a hypoallergenic cat because it has almost no fur and people think the allergen comes from the fur. That is not strictly correct.
Anecdotally, the Siberian cat is promoted by the breeders of this cat to be hypoallergenic but it is not in my opinion based upon the research that I carried out which can be seen on this page.
The reason why Catster state that the Devon and Cornish Rex cats are hypoallergenic is because they shed less than other cat breeds, so it is said. Once again this is no guarantee that the cat is hypoallergenic. A lack of hair or thin air may have an impact upon how the allergen is distributed around the home because it attaches to the dander in the fur which then flies away around the home. This, then as a factor but I don’t think is a significant factor.
As for the other cats mentioned by Catster they are presumably referring to anecdotal evidence but there is no hard evidence which supports what they say and personally I’ve never heard about the Balinese or Oriental Shorthair being hypoallergenic.