Most cats owe their striking appearance to their unique coat colors and patterns. But what if a cat is hairless? Also hairless cat breeds are popular because where they lack in the hair section, they make up in terms of personality! Moreover, they are preferred by cat lovers who are prone to allergic reactions.
Are hairless cats hypoallergenic?
No, hairless cats are not hypoallergenic although they tend to prompt less of an allergic reaction compared to other cat breeds. They may be considered more hypoallergenic compared to average domestic cats but they are not 100% hypoallergenic.
Why are hairless cats not completely hypoallergenic?
Hairless cats are not completely hypoallergenic because they still produce allergens i.e. the glycoprotein Fel d 1 that is present in the saliva and sebaceous glands of the skin of a cat. Since they do not have fur, these cats tend to spread less allergens in the environment because they do not shed fur. However, since they still lick themselves, allergens will build up on their skin.
In contrast, cats with fur groom themselves and spread their saliva and skin oils in the fur, thus coating it with allergens. Their fur will then shed and deposit on clothing, carpets, furniture and other items spreading allergens everywhere.
Hairless cat breeds that make ideal pets for people with allergies
- Bambino – this breed typically weighs five to nine pounds, with a height of seven to eight inches and has a stocky body and large ears. The name means baby or child in Italian as this breed is pint-sized. These cats are playful, affectionate and outgoing and have little fur on the face, ears, legs and tail.
- Sphynx – these cats are usually eight to 10 inches in height and weigh 10 to 12 pounds. They have a wrinkled head, lean build and originated from Canada in the 1960s. This breed has patches of hair on the face, legs and tail and is one of the most popular cat breeds around.
- Peterbald – this breed has almond-shaped eyes and large, pointed ears. They weigh six to 10 pounds and about eight to 10 inches tall and not all of them are born hairless. These cats have prominent features, long limbs and some of them may be born with a full coat.
- Sphynxie Bob – this breed is a cross between the Sphynx and the American Bobtail and looks a lot like the Sphynx but has a short tail or is tailless. They weigh around 10 to 12 pounds, eight to 10 inches tall and have wrinkled heads.
- Ukrainian Levkoy – these cats have inward-folding ears and long, slender bodies, weigh eight to 12 pounds and seven to 10 inches in height. This breed is a result of crossbreeding the Donskoy with the Scottish fold breed. They are friendly, smart, playful and get along well with other pets.
- Lykoi – this is a partially-hairless breed and also known as the werewolf cat. While some are hairless others may be covered with distinctive black-gray coats and may lack hair in their faces, legs, feet and the back of the ears. They weigh four to seven pounds and eight to 10 inches in height.
- Minskin – this breed weighs four to six pounds and stands seven to eight inches tall. These short-legged cats are a cross between the Munchkin and the Sphynx. They have sparse and fine fur in their bodies including the nose, ears, legs and tail except for their bellies.
- Elf – these cats weigh 10 to 15 pounds and eight to 10 inches tall. They have hairless and muscular bodies, wrinkled skin, prominent cheekbones and curled ears.
- Dwelf – this breed is either hairless or may have a light fuzz and may have short or no whiskers and eyebrows at all. They have short legs, curled ears, weigh four to nine pounds and stand six to seven inches tall. This breed is the result of crossbreeding a Munchkin, American Curl and Sphynx cat. These cats are outgoing and very playful.
- Donskoy – these cats weigh seven to 15 pounds and 10 to 12 inches in height. They have a muscular body, wrinkles around cheeks and their hairlessness is due to a dominant gene and not from a genetic mutation. This breed is also known as the Russian hairless, Don Sphynx and Don hairless.
How to reduce the presence of allergens in your home
While hairless cat breeds may still produce allergens, you can minimize allergic reactions by following these measures:
1. Clean your carpets, furniture and pet beddings regularly.
Be sure to regularly clean and vacuum the places where your hairless cat spends most of her time so that allergens won’t accumulate. Wash pet beddings and use a quality high efficiency particulate air or HEPA vacuum to clean rugs, sofas and carpets.
2. Bathe your cat regularly.
Hairless cats should be bathed at least once a week to keep them clean and to prevent the buildup of oil, dander and saliva. This will also lessen the risk of allergic reactions.
3. Opt for a female or neutered male hairless cat.
If you tend to have allergies, it is best to adopt a female or neutered male cat since they produce fewer allergens compared to male cats. This applies to all cat breeds regardless if they are hairless or not.
4. Use a HEPA air purifier in your home.
Make sure to have a HEPA air purifier in your home as it helps reduce the amount of dander floating in the household.
5. Keep your bedroom a no-cat zone.
This may be quite hard to comply with since cats enjoy cuddle time with their owners just before bedtime but keeping your feline from your bedroom will help a lot in reducing allergy symptoms. If, for any reason, you cannot keep your cat from your bedroom, make sure to wash your beddings frequently.
Hairless cat breeds like the Sphynx and Peterbald may be more hypoallergenic compared to other cats but not completely since all cats produce the Fel d 1 glycoprotein allergens. However, cat owners who are prone to allergies favor them because they produce less allergens and the absence of fur means they shed less which reduces the chance of allergens being scattered in the environment.
Image: istockphoto.com / OlgaChan