If you love cats but find yourself itching or sneezing uncontrollably anytime you’re in the same room as one, you might be one of the millions of people worldwide who suffer from cat allergies. Rather than give up on the dream of owning a cat, you might wonder whether it’s possible to find a hypoallergenic breed. Maybe you’ve heard about hypoallergenic dog breeds and are curious if such a thing exists in the cat world as well.
Sphynx cats are also known as hairless cats, even though they often have just a bit of fuzz on their nose, tail, or toes. Since they don’t have hair, it’s often assumed that Sphynx cats are hypoallergenic but is that really the case? No, Sphynx cats aren’t completely hypoallergenic even with their lack of hair. However, they are often less likely to trigger allergy symptoms than other types of cats.
Read on to learn why Sphynx cats aren’t considered hypoallergenic and what you can do to try and reduce the allergens in your home enough to be able to live with one anyway!
Why Sphynx Cats Aren’t Truly Hypoallergenic
So why aren’t Sphynx cats considered hypoallergenic just because they don’t have hair?
Well, contrary to what you might think, it usually isn’t a cat’s hair itself that triggers an allergic reaction. Instead, people typically react to the cat’s saliva, dander, or natural skin oils because that’s where the major allergen in cats is found. When a cat grooms their coat, the saliva and skin oil spread over its hair. It’s the shedding of that allergen-coated hair along with dander into the cat’s home environment that tends to spark the allergy symptoms.
Because they don’t have hair to shed, Sphynx cats are more likely to keep their allergens to themselves. When they groom themselves, they will still collect the allergens on their bodies and it will still cause allergic reactions.
So, Sphynx cats aren’t truly hypoallergenic because they still wear a coat of allergens on their bodies even without hair. But they may be less likely to trigger allergy symptoms because they don’t spread the allergens widely in their environment by shedding hair.
Have Allergies and Still Want a Sphynx? Here’s How to Try!
You know you won’t be able to get a truly hypoallergenic cat, but the good news is there are some steps you can take to reduce the allergens that end up in your house. These steps combined with help from a good human allergy doctor may make it possible for you to have allergies and a Sphynx cat too!
1. Bathe Your Cat
You can help reduce the allergens on your Sphynx cat’s body by bathing them frequently. A bath or a good wipe with cat cleaning wipes once a week can help cut down on the buildup of allergens on the Sphynx’s body. Again, you won’t eliminate them completely, but it could be just enough.
2. Clean, Clean, Clean
Any place your cat spends a lot of time will eventually build up allergens from the skin contact. Wash your cat’s bedding frequently. Vacuum carpets and clean any furniture where your cat regularly sleeps. You might want to consider washable furniture covers to make this easier as well.
3. Create A Cat-Free Zone
Keeping your Sphynx cat out of your bedroom is another way to make your life easier as an allergy-stricken cat owner. Yes, it means you won’t be able to fall asleep snuggling your purring cat, but it could help you breathe a little easier.
4. Use Air Filters and Purifiers
Speaking of breathing, using High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in your home is another way to decrease the allergens present. A HEPA air purifier can also be effective at this as well as reducing other allergens, like dust mites or pollen.
5. Visit An Allergy Doctor
With so many allergy sufferers in the world, allergy treatments are also plentiful and becoming more and more effective. Allergy medications or allergy shots may also help allow you to live safely with a cat. Ask your doctor about your options or whether a referral to an allergy specialist might be a good idea.
Are Any Other Cat Breeds Better for Allergic People?
While the Sphynx cat might be your best bet at a lower allergen cat, several other cat breeds are considered a better choice for allergic owners. These cats aren’t hairless but usually shed less than other breeds. Some of them also produce less of the offending cat allergen. A few of these more allergy-friendly cat breeds are:
Cat allergies are no fun to deal with but for pet-loving allergy sufferers, the misery is doubled. As we’ve seen, while Sphynx cats aren’t truly hypoallergenic, they’re still one of the best choices for allergy sufferers since they are often less likely to trigger a reaction. If you have allergies but still want a cat, it might be a good idea to try fostering or spending time with a cat to see how your body reacts before committing to cat ownership.
If you’re looking to get a Sphynx, you may want to know how long they live!
Featured Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock