Siberian cat walking couch with plant in background
Facebook Pinterest Twitter

Hypoallergenic Cats: Facts, Details, and Breed Guide

Est. read time: 7 min.

About 1 in 10 people in the U.S. have pet allergies, and cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. Despite what most people think, cat allergies don’t stem from their fur. The culprit is actually a tiny protein called Fel d 1 found in cat saliva, urine, and dander.

There are many ways to mitigate cat allergies at home, from creating cat-free zones to upgrading to a self-cleaning litter box. But did you know that some cats are less likely to cause allergies, just based on their breed? Keep reading to learn more.

Are there hypoallergenic cats?

The truth is, no cat breed is 100% allergen-free—all cats shed Fel d 1 in their saliva, urine, and dander. However, the 8 cat breeds we cover below may produce less Fel d 1 or have types of coats that minimize shedding and dander.

Other facts to keep in mind when it comes to hypoallergenic cats:

  • Non-neutered male cats produce higher levels of Fel d 1. (One of the many reasons to neuter and spay.) 
  • Female and neutered male cats produce a lower amount of the allergen. 
  • Kittens also produce less than adult felines—but, as the saying goes, the trouble with a kitten is that they eventually become a cat!

Are hairless cats hypoallergenic? 

The short answer is no. As already mentioned, cat allergens don’t truly stem from fur. A long-haired cat is not necessarily going to cause more allergies than a short-haired cat, and a hairless cat is just as likely to trigger allergy symptoms. Although a hairless cat may shed less dander than a cat with fur, they’re just as likely to produce Fel d 1 in their saliva and urine.

8 cat breeds to consider if you have cat allergies

View the infographic below and read on to learn more about 8 cat breeds to consider adopting if you have allergies. Remember, “hypoallergenic cat breeds” is a bit of a misnomer—but these cats may be a better choice because they either produce less Fel d 1 or have minimal shedding. 

infographic: 8 hypoallergenic cat breeds


Siberian cat using self-cleaning litter box

Are Siberian cats hypoallergenic? The Siberian is one of two cat breeds known to produce less Fel d 1. It might come as a surprise to call these hypoallergenic cats, with their thick triple-coated fur designed to keep them toasty during harsh Siberian winters!

Siberian cats have been documented for at least a thousand years in the forests of Russia, but it was until the 1990s that they made their way to the U.S. These cats are muscular and powerful, yet as affectionate and playful as they come.

During the summer months, you should expect your Siberian to shed the majority of their fur. When they are actively shedding in the summer, you will need to groom them more often to avoid hairballs.


Balinese cat

Balinese cats are best known for their long, silky coat, pointed patterning, and deep blue eyes. Like the Siberian, Balinese cats are also known to produce less Fel d 1—making them a superb choice for allergy sufferers. 

The Balinese originated in the U.S. after a Siamese cat birthed a long-haired kitten, and breeders worked to preserve the new long-haired breed. Like their short-haired predecessors, Balinese cats are chatty, demanding, and extremely loving. They’re very energetic and have a long average lifespan of 15-20 years.

Balinese cats are relatively low maintenance when it comes to their care. They don’t require a lot of grooming because they have no undercoat and don’t shed as much. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Devon Rex

Devon Rex cat

The curly coat is one of the most distinctive features of the Devon Rex cat. It is very fine, short, and wavy, which is rare among cat breeds. This waviness is caused by a mutation that cat lovers just can’t get enough of. 

Devon Rex cats can trace their lineage to one feral cat with the wavy coat mutation from Devonshire, England. These kitties are affectionate and people-oriented, though they have a mischievous side that fits well with their pixie-like features.

Besides their endearing looks, a wonderful thing about this cat’s wavy coat is it hardly sheds. You don’t need to brush your Devon Rex, but you may want to gently wipe down their coats weekly. 

Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex cat

The Cornish Rex cat also sports a soft, curly “undercoat” with minimal shedding that allergy sufferers (and just about any pet parent) will appreciate. Their coat gives them a sweet, lamb-like appearance.

In 1950s Cornwall, England, a litter of barn cats was born containing one curly-haired kitten. This kitten was eventually bred with other cat breeds to establish the Cornish Rex cats we know today.

These fun-loving felines want to play, jump, and enjoy themselves all day. Most things are a game to the Cornish Rex, and they are easy to entertain because they find most things entertaining. Plus, their unique coats make them relatively low maintenance. 


Sphynx cat

As the most popular hairless cat in existence, it’s natural to wonder: Are Sphynx cats hypoallergenic? While the lack of a fur coat might make this cat a little easier for pet parents prone to sniffling, they still shed Fel d 1 in other ways.

The Sphynx breed was started in 1966 when a black and white cat gave birth to a wrinkled hairless kitten in Ontario, Canada. Sphynx cats are known for being extremely affectionate and outgoing, if not somewhat demanding.

Just because they’re hairless doesn’t mean this breed is without grooming requirements. Although you won’t need to brush or maintain their coat, you will need to wipe down or sponge-bathe your Sphynx cat once a week to remove any oil build-up on their skin.

Russian Blue

Russian Blue cat

Russian Blue cats are very recognizable kitties with shimmery blue-grey coats and stunning green eyes. But are Russian Blue cats hypoallergenic? This breed is known for minimal shedding and overall low maintenance.

Russian Blues are thought to be a naturally occurring breed that became popular when they sailed to Great Britain with the British from the Russian White Sea port town of Archangel Isles in the 1800s. 

If you’re looking for a gentle and playful cat that doesn’t mind being cuddled but values their independence, this is the kitty for you. The Russian Blue is loyal to their family but somewhat shy around strangers. 


Bengal cat

The wild-looking Bengal cat stands out with vivid spots and a distinctive marbled coat. So, are Bengal cats hypoallergenic? This breed produces a typical amount of Fel d 1 and average shedding, although their short, silky coat makes for easy grooming.

This breed was created when a domestic cat and an Asian leopard cat mated at the hands of a breeder in the 1960s. Today, a Bengal cat must be at least four generations removed from the Asian leopard cat.

Bengals are a highly desired breed thanks to their exotic beauty, friendly manner, and adventurous spirit. Your Bengal will likely enjoy water and walking on a leash. You can get the best of both worlds and live out a fantasy of having a “wild” animal. 

Oriental Shorthair

Oriental Shorthair cat

With their angled faces, expressive eyes, large ears, and slender frames, Oriental Shorthair cats make quite a statement. They’re unique for another reason, too: Their short, sleek coat can come in 300+ color-pattern combinations!

Oriental Shorthair cats originated due to crossbreeding to revive the Siamese breed after World War II. Like the Siamese, they are vocal and entertaining kitties that enjoy spending time with their families. If you are looking for a cat that will be quiet and solitary for long periods of time, that is not the Oriental Shorthair. 

What cats are hypoallergenic?

No cat breed is 100% allergen-free. Siberian cats and Balinese cats produce less of the allergen-causing protein Fel d 1, and are a good choice for people with cat allergies.

Are Ragdoll cats hypoallergenic?

The sweet, gentle, long-haired Ragdoll cat is not considered hypoallergenic. They require brushing a few times per week to keep up with shedding.

Are Siamese cats hypoallergenic?

Although the loving and vocal Siamese cat does not shed much, this breed is not considered hypoallergenic.

Photo credits:

  • Caleb Woods via Unsplash
  • Manuel Keller via Unsplash

Devon Rex - hypoallergenic cat breeds pinterest pin