There are many cat lovers in the world who don’t own a kitty because they suffer with allergies and are afraid that having a cat in the house will trigger an attack. Having allergies doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t own a cat.
Some breeds are less likely to trigger an attack, while others are notorious for making sensitive people ill. In most cases, it is the dander and the saliva that people are really allergic to.
While each cat is an individual and some may cause allergic reactions, while others within a breed do not, we can make generalizations based on what people have reported about their experiences with certain breeds.
These substances just happen to be on the hairs so the more shedding that happens, the worse your chances of having a reaction. I you’re considering getting a cat, but have allergy concerns, we have a list of the 20 worst cats breeds for allergy sufferers so you will know which ones to avoid.
1. Persian Cats
Persian cats are beautiful creatures, and while some people who have slight allergies medicate and keep the cat, they are not the best choice for people with these issues.
They are playful and delightful as kittens and they look like little balls of fur. As they mature, they lose some of their round appearance, but maintain the fluffy coat with long hair that they are so famous for.
This breed is known for its long and fluffy coat. They are also one of the most prolific and heavy shedding cats. They require regular grooming to prevent the hair from matting and shedding all over the house.
Although they are wonderful house pets, if you or anyone in your house is prone to allergies, it’s probably a good idea to look for a cat breed that doesn’t shed as much as a Persian.
2. British Longhair Cats
British Longhairs are another breed that should be crossed off your maybe list if you are prone to allergies. To begin with, their coat is high maintenance. They constantly shed their fur and they require very frequent grooming to prevent their hair from matting.
This puts you in direct contact with the very dander and saliva that is on the hair shafts, which could trigger an allergy event. British Longhairs are amazing pets and fit in well with families, but not at the expense of making somebody ill. This breed is more likely to cause allergic reactions that several of the other breeds, so it’s best not to take the chance.
3. Maine Coon Cats
Maine Coon cats originated in New England. Although their hair is shorter than the British Longhairs or the Persians, they shed every bit as much. One of the worse things about Maine Coons for people with allergies is that their fur is quite dense and there are ties when they do shed quite prolifically.
During this time, anyone who is sensitive should take care to avoid the Maine Coon because the great amount of shed hair could trigger an allergy attack. It’s best not to spend a lot of time in the home of a person who owns one if you’re prone to asthma attacks.
4. Norwegian Forest Cats
It is widely believed that Norwegian Forest cats are an ancestor of the new breed that is known as the Maine Coon. They are beautiful cats who have some of the most interesting personalities.
This large cat looks like it could be a real meanie, but when properly socialized, it is really a sweet and loving cat that is fiercely loyal to its owner. It tends to bond with one or two people at the most, tolerating everyone else.
Norwegian Forest cats have a shaggy and furry coat that is dense and thick. This is because they are a native of Scandinavia where the winters are frigid. These cats required a dense and heavy coat to protect them from the harsh temperature extremes and it is still a part of their genetic makeup.
Norwegian Forest cats are heavy shedders and there is a tendency for them to leave hair over the furniture, floors and on clothing. It’s difficult to keep up with a shedding member of this cat breed. If you have allergies, then you should definitely avoid bringing a Norwegian Forest cat into your home.
Kurilian Bobtains originate in the Kuril Islands and the Russian Island of Sakhalin. They are not overly passionate when it comes to cuddling, but they do show affection towards their owners and family members.
They are very smart and easy to train. This is a rare breed of cat, but if you’re fortunate to come across one, let the opportunity pass you by if you are troubled with allergies. This may be a beautiful and valuable cat, but its fur comes in both short and long types, and regardless of the hair length, they require frequent grooming.
Kurilian Bobtails are known for their high shed, making it difficult to keep up with the massive amounts of hair unless they are constantly groomed. Even then, you won’t be able to gather all of the hair through grooming.
6. Cymric (Long Haired Manx)
The Cymric cat is also known as a long haired Manx. You can easily distinguish a Cymric by its round shape and the fact that it doesn’t have a long tail like most other cats. The thing about a Cymric cat is that it has a heavy undercoat.
The fur is silky and plush. It requires a moderate amount of grooming to keep the hair in the best possible condition. While many people assert that a Manx is hypoallergenic, some people who are quite sensitive to cat dander have had reactions to them.
The Cymric is in the same group as the Manx, so it’s a roll of the dice whether or not you’ll have an issue with either of these Manx type cats.
7. Oriental Longhair
Oriental Longhair cats are a relatively new breed that have only been around since the 1960s. They were originally bred in England. They are loving companions and highly devoted to their owners.
This is a real plus if you’re a cat lover, but a downer if you have allergies. This cat will rub all over you and the worst part of the situation is that they have long hair and they are constant shedders.
After a cuddle, you’ll notice a pile of hair in your lap. The long coat requires minimal grooming as far as maintenance goes because it doesn’t have a tendency to mat and tangle, but the self grooming of this breed leaves behind a lot o dander and saliva on the hair that is shed. This is one of the worst breeds that you can get if you have allergies to either pet dander or saliva.
The Himalayan is a cat so beautiful that it gives the Persian a decent run for its money in a beauty contest. Having said this, it is in fact a variant of the Persian, but with different coloring and markings.
This breed is highly prized because of their lovely appearance and their personalities. Himalayans are cats with big personalities. They are also known to be entertaining at times. As kittens they are very playful, but as they mature, they become a bit more stoic.
You will see the kitten in them re-emerge at some of the most unexpected times. They have double coats that are both fluffy and long. This breed requires a lot of grooming on a regular basis, and still sheds everywhere. If you’re sensitive to cats, then this is definitely a breed to stay away from.
9. American Polydactyl
The American Polydactyl is one of the most unique cat breeds on the planet. These cats have a genetic mutation and can be born with up to seven toes on each foot, or any combination of multiple toes in other numbers.
The total number of toes on all four feet can reach up to twenty eight. They’re beautiful and novel. They have glossy coats that may either be short or long. This cat is known to shed so much, that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with it.
They do require regular grooming to minimize hairballs and piles of hair that tend to collect. Owning this breed of cat for an allergy sufferer could become nothing short of a nightmare.
Exotic Shorthair cats are another breed that you may think is safe for people with allergies. Although the hair is short, this cat is a constant shedder. It isn’t the length of the hair that is the problem, it’s the quantity that becomes airborne and circulates dried dander and saliva particles through the air.
The coat is thick and it does require brushing and combing on a regular basis to reduce the risk of the cat developing hair balls. Owners can tell you that there is an increase in vacuuming when you bring an exotic shorthair into the home.
Whether a cat has long hair, medium or short, it’s the shedding that becomes the greatest problem. When cat hair is floating around the house, tiny particles of dander and saliva are released into the air and there is no way to avoid breathing this in, because you cannot see the tiny pieces. If you have allergies, having one of these cats in your home could trigger an attack.
11. Tonkinese Cat
The Tonkinese breed of cat is a combination of Siamese and Burmese breeds. Tonkinese tend to have reserved personalities, but they are also capable of showing affection to their pet parents and family.
They are individuals who may either have the temperament of a Siamese, which is at the least, fickle, or of the Burmese, which is a bit more affable. They have plush fur that is quite thick.
They are moderate shedders and although they are not on the top of the list of worst cats for allergies, they do have the potential to trigger an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive. Tonkinese cats who live in warmer climates represent the least amount of allergy threats because the shedding of their coats is much lighter.
Those that live in colder climates are the ones that shed the most, therefore, if you live in a colder climate, it may not be the best idea to own a Tonkinese if you or another member of your household has allergies.
The Toyger is a breed of cat that has been created from the breeding of a Bengal and other species of felines. They are easily distinguished by their tiger-like appearance, only in a smaller form, with the intensity of the eyes of a Tiger and the vertical stripes.
The fur is soft, dense and very thick. While they feel amazing and plush to hold on your lap, if you have allergies, the shedding fur could be a problem. They are moderate shedders, therefore, they represent a moderate risk for making you sick.
While it may be a real novelty to own a toyger, it probably wouldn’t be worth the risk of having a sudden allergy attack. There are other unique breeds that feature hypoallergenic fur and shed far less if you are looking for a rare and interesting breed of cat.
13. Chartreux Cat
The Chartreux cat breed was originally bred in the country of France. This cat is so popular with the French people that it is honored as a national symbol. They are friendly cats that the French are proud of because of their striking appearance.
This cat is truly unique because it is one of the very few cat breeds that has a wooly textured coat. They are greyish blue in color. They are somewhat rare and their coats are truly interesting. For starters, they are waterproof.
They are also very dense and thick. This amazing cat is soft and have a plush feel, but they are moderate shedders. Perhaps if your allergies are only mild, and you don’t mind the minor discomfort, it would work out for you, but if your allergies are moderate or severe, then this is a breed that you will want to avoid owning.
14. Ragamuffin Cat
Ragamuffin cats are remarkably adorable because of their large and beautiful eyes that seem to talk for them. These sweet and gentle natured kitties love to cuddle and sit in your lap. Their coats are medium long in length and are very glossy and plush.
They are moderate shedders that require regular grooming. If you have slight allergies, there is a good chance that you will be a little miserable, but if you are extremely sensitive, this cat is not hypoallergenic.
Constant grooming may help to keep the allergens down, but some people have issues with the dander because of the self-grooming that leaves behind saliva as well as the dander that is found on the hairs. This is a cat breed that is not recommended for people with extreme sensitivity.
15. Birman Cat
Birman cats are highly prized for their good looks and their royal demeanor. They are beautiful cats who have a thick long fur. The fact that they are sweet and gentled natured kitties who love to cuddle is bad news for owners who have allergies.
They are moderate shedders who leave behind the materials that could trigger a serious allergic reaction. Since Birmans love physical contact and they do a lot of rubbing up against your legs, they’re not the best choice for individuals who are sensitive to dander or other allergens produced by cats.
16. Scottish Fold Cat
The Scottish Fold is an interesting looking cat that has droopy ears and very large eyes. They are so adorable that you just want to pick them up and cuddle them. They are easily one of the cutest breeds on the planet.
They are also gentle natured and sweet. They get along well with everyone in the house including the kids, other cats and even dogs who treat them with respect. Scottish Fold cats have a thick and dense fur that sheds moderately.
People with slight allergies may not have a problem owning a Scottish Fold, but those who are very sensitive are likely to have a reaction if they spend too much time around them.
York Chocolates are not to be confused with the peppermint pattie. These cats come in a dark chocolate color. There is some research that strongly suggests that cats who have darker colored coats produce higher amounts of the proteins that are responsible for evoking allergic reactions in sensitive persons.
In addition to the dark color, these cats are average shedders, but their coats are not hypoallergenic. People who have allergies should not be around this breed of cat because it could cause them to have a reaction.
18. Turkish Van Cat
The Turkish Van breed of cat is one that is known for regularly licking their coats as they are prolific self groomers. While this is good news for pet owners who don’t have allergies, it’s a nightmare for those who do.
Since the root cause of human allergy to cats is most often from the dander and/or the saliva, this means that the risk of reaction is increased dramatically. As the saliva dries on the cat’s fur, it becomes flaky and the particles are so minute that they are easily transported through the air.
When the pet owner with allergies breathes in the contaminated air, it heightens the chance of an allergic reaction dramatically. The Turkish Van breed is a wonderful family cat for those who don’t have sensitivities.
The Turkish Angora cat is one of the most strikingly beautiful felines on the face of the earth. The breed originated in the country of Turkey as a naturally occurring domestic cat breed. It has a brilliant white coat, but there are variants out there of several different colors.
The Turkish angora cat is a breed that is documented in history as being in existence as early as the 1600s. This cat is playful as well as athletic and they make wonderful household pets for active families who would include them in the fun.
They are an ideal family pet, unless you happen to have allergies. These cats have a thick fur and very long hair that sheds moderately. They do require regular grooming to keep the amount of hair falling on the floor and furniture down.
If you are sensitive to the allergens that are typically produced by cats, then the Turkish angora is not a breed that you should have in your home.
20. The Napoleon Cat
The Napoleon Cat is a unique breed that has the genetic condition of dwarfism. This gives it a novel appearance that is adorable and quite endearing. The Napoleon is a cross between a Persian and a Munchkin cat.
This gives it short legs and a long, thick coat. Despite the fact that the legs are very short, they are still quite agile cats that enjoy playing and cuddling with their owners. They are loving cats that enjoy sitting in your lap, but this isn’t a plus if you have allergies.
The fur of this breed is not hypoallergenic and they shed their coats moderately. This puts anyone who is sensitive for allergies at risk of having a reaction. The Napoleon cat is not a good choice for anyone with allergy sensitivities.
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