Being a cat lover and an allergy sufferer at the same time can be rough—you’d love to have a cat but are concerned about flare-ups. Some allergy sufferers choose cat breeds considered “hypoallergenic.” If you have your eye on one, unfortunately, Munchkin cats are not hypoallergenic.
Read on to find out more about why Munchkin cats are not considered hypoallergenic and get a heads-up on which breeds may be suitable for allergy sufferers.
Why Aren’t Munchkin Cats Hypoallergenic?
Contrary to popular belief, when someone suffers from a pet allergy1, it isn’t the fur that triggers the reaction—it’s the dander. Dander is the dead skin cells that pets shed, and the protein within it is the allergen. It can be found pretty much everywhere in a home with cats, including on surfaces, clothing, furniture, carpets, beds, and walls.
This allergen is also found in saliva and urine and, in an allergy sufferer, can trigger symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy and/or swollen eyes and nose, red eyes, and postnasal drip, among others.
In the case of Munchkin cats, they don’t shed as heavily as some other breeds, but they do shed enough to potentially trigger a reaction in an allergy sufferer. For this reason, they’re not considered a hypoallergenic breed.
Are Any Cats Hypoallergenic?
The truth is that there are no 100% truly hypoallergenic cats because all cats shed to an extent, even if the extent is minimal. That said, some breeds are labeled hypoallergenic because they don’t produce large amounts of Fel d1 protein, which is the allergen responsible for triggering allergy symptoms.
Can An Allergy Sufferer Have a Cat?
This really depends on the severity of the allergy. If your reaction to pet dander is often severe, it might not be the best thing for you or the cat. One thing we want to avoid at all costs is the heartbreaking decision to give up a cat because of unmanageable allergy symptoms.
If you aren’t sure if you have a pet allergy, you might want to consider getting an allergy test to find out. You may find out that your symptoms aren’t caused by pets at all but by something else. Pet hair can also carry other allergens like pollen, dust, and mites.
If your symptoms are manageable, there are certain things you can do to help minimize your exposure to symptom-causing dander.
The good news is that some people with pet allergies do keep cats and can manage their symptoms, so not all hope is lost. It might be worth discussing your concerns with an allergist, though, as they’ll be able to offer some useful tips on living with a cat as an allergy sufferer.