Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds Don’t Exist (Sorry), But Here 15 Breeds That Barely Shed

If you’ve idled away an afternoon or two watching adorable kitten videos, the next logical step is getting a furry feline to call your own, right? One problem: You or someone in your family is allergic. Although no cat is completely allergy-free, some breeds are less likely to cause those pesky symptoms (sneezing, itching, sniffling, watery eyes—you know the drill). That’s because they produce fewer allergens (namely, pet dander and a specific symptom-causing protein in their saliva). Unfortunately, many cats on our list are more expensive breeds due in part to their non-shedding traits. Here, 15 of the closest you can find to hypoallergenic cat breeds that are purr-fect for allergy sufferers.

What causes cat allergies?

According to allergy medication manufacturer Zyrtec, more people are allergic to cats than to dogs in the U.S. However, like with dogs, it’s not a cat’s fur that causes allergic reactions. More often than not, pet dander (dead skin cells) cause allergies. On top of that, a cat’s saliva contains Fel d 1, a protein known to trigger reactions in humans. Since cats spend hours a day grooming themselves, licking their fur, this protein ends up all over your house. So, while some people may react wildly to pet dander alone, others could be fine until that saliva protein comes along.

Remember, cats and humans are all individuals. By that we mean one cat could cause ten unique reactions in ten different people. A single person could also experience a variety of symptoms if exposed to a bunch of individual cats. Some felines have a greater concentration of Fel d 1 in their saliva than others; long-haired breeds that hardly shed could be better for an allergy-sufferer than a hairless breed with lots of dander.

Interestingly, one study found that a specific diet of chicken eggs helped neutralize the Fel d 1 protein in cat saliva, making them less of an irritant to people with allergies. Unfortunately, that controlled study is pretty much impossible to replicate in your own home (there’s more to it than just eggs, trust us, we got our hopes up too). But it’s promising news for folks who love cats but can’t be around them. Until an allergy-safe diet is approved for cats, stick with a low-shedding breed.

Technically, hypoallergenic cats don’t exist

There’s no way to completely eliminate dander or saliva from the cat equation, therefore there’s no such thing as a 100-percent hypoallergenic cat. All cats—even ones without hair—will shed dander and groom themselves. Breeds that shed less or only seasonally are better options for folks with cat allergies. If you’re desperate for a pet, check out some hypoallergenic and low-shedding dog breeds, too!

The 10 Best Cats for Kids

hypoallergenic begal cat
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1. Bengal

Height: 13-16 inches

Weight: 8-17 pounds

Personality: Adventurous, intelligent

Coat: Short

Color: Spotted, marbled tan and brown

Life Expectancy: 10-16 years

This family-friendly feline sheds less than other breeds, which makes them a great option for allergy sufferers. Active and intelligent, Bengals are one of the more dog-like breeds (they love playing in water and will even play fetch)—which is why they’ve also landed themselves on our list of naughtiest cat breeds.

hypoallergenic cat breeds peterbald
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15. Peterbald

Height: 8-12 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Loyal, affectionate

Coat: Hairless or short, fine hair

Color: Variety of colors

Life Expectancy: 12-15+ years

A Peterbald coat can be very fine or these cats can be totally hairless. Some even develop wiry, coarse coats over time. Grooming isn’t too intense, though hairless cats should be bathed every two weeks or so. If you’ve got allergies, Peterbald coats may not affect you as strongly!

cute grey siberian cat
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2. Siberian

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 8-17 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, playful

Coat: Long, thick

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 11-18 years

Want a kitty cat you can cuddle with? Siberians are highly affectionate, and despite their shaggy fur, they produce much less of the allergy-causing protein Fel D1. If you want a pet that will greet you at the door and then follow you around the house without making you sneeze, a loyal and easygoing Siberian is a good bet.

hypoallergenic sphynx cat
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3. Sphynx

Height: 8-10 inches

Weight: 6-14 pounds

Personality: Active, smart

Coat: Hairless, hypoallergenic

Color: Variety of colors

Life Expectancy: 9-15 years

This hairless breed is popular with allergy sufferers since its lack of fur means fewer places for irritating allergens to get stuck into (although you’ll still need to give yours regular baths to keep oil buildup to a minimum). Big-eared and wide-eyed, this curious kitty makes a loyal companion—just ask Dr. Evil.

hypoallergenic russian blue cat lying with books
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4. Russian Blue

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 7-15 pounds

Personality: Gentle, reserved

Coat: Short, dense

Color: Gray, blue

Life Expectancy: 10-20 years

Although they can be shy with strangers, this hypoallergenic cat loves company and is affectionate with owners. Its luxurious silver coat is highly dense, which means that allergens are trapped close to the skin rather than being dispersed around you.

hypoallergenic white cornish rex cat
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5. Cornish Rex

Height: 8-12 inches

Weight: 6-10 pounds

Personality: Charming, playful

Coat: Short, curly or wavy

Color: Solid black, white, gray, red, lilac; tabby, calico or tortoiseshell

Life Expectancy: 9-13+ years

With their unique curly coat, these sweet kitties are easy to groom and shed less than other breeds. They love being the center of attention and are happy to perform tricks and cuddle with their family. But Cornish Rexes can be talkative, so they might not be the best option for those who want peace and quiet at home.

white and grey hypoallergenic oriental shorthair cat
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6. Oriental Shorthair

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Smart, affectionate

Coat: Short

Color: Hundreds of versions, often tortoiseshell or tabby coloration

Life Expectancy: 10-20+ years

This long and lean feline has a short coat (duh) that sheds little, although you’ll still need regular grooming sessions to keep her fur shiny and healthy. Outgoing, friendly and happy, Oriental shorthairs are talkative and easygoing (they’ll even get along with dogs).

cute brown burmese hypoallergenic cat
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7. Burmese

Height: 9-13 inches

Weight: 8-15 pounds

Personality: Outgoing, charming

Coat: Short

Color: Blue, gray, brown, tan

Life Expectancy: 10-17 years

Charming and sociable (so perhaps not ideal for busy folks who are never at home), Burmese cats have short and dense coats that may help those suffering from allergies. This sweet breed loves to sit in your lap, sleep in your bed and follow you from room to room.

hypoallergnic balinese cat
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8. Balinese

Height: 8-11 inches

Weight: 5-15 pounds

Personality: Curious, loving

Coat: Long

Color: Brown, red, tan, or cream with dark brown or black points

Life Expectancy: 10-20 years

Don’t be fooled by this energetic kitty’s fluffy coat—they actually produce way less Fel D1, which makes them a good choice for those with allergy sensitivities. Also known as “longhaired Siamese,” Balinese cats are social, intelligent and easy to teach (they’ll even walk on a leash if that’s your thing).

hypoallergenic cat breeds javanese

9. Javanese

Height: 9-12 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Smart, athletic

Coat: Medium-long

Color: Variety of colors

Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

Similar to the Balinese, the Javanese has a medium-long single coat that never mats, so they have less fur than many other breeds. Javanese cats are a type of designer Siamese cat (often called Colorpoint Longhairs) that loves to play and needs lots of love and attention. So, be prepared to give them plenty of affection as a thank you for not triggering your allergies.

hypoallergenic cat breeds devon rex
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10. Devon Rex

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 5-9 pounds

Personality: Devoted, mischievous

Coat: Short, curly or wavy

Color: Various colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 14-17+ years

We don't know what to gush over first, their elf-like faces, oversized ears or giant eyes. Devon Rex cats aren't totally hypoallergenic, since they indeed shed hair. But their unique coats make that hair way less irritating to allergy sufferers. (FYI, they love food and might even try stealing off your plate.)

hypoallergenic cat breeds ocicat
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11. Ocicats

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 8-12 pounds

Personality: Playful, energetic

Coat: Short, soft

Color: Spotted

Life Expectancy: 12-18 years

Since Ocicats don't produce much dander, they're unlikely to trigger your allergies. They also don't shed much. Like Bengals, these beauties have wild-looking coats, but Ocicats tend to have larger ears and more elongated muzzles in comparison. Get ready for playful—almost demanding—behavior from these felines.

hypoallergenic cat breeds colorpoint shorthair
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12. Colorpoint Shorthair

Height: 11-14 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Assertive, devoted

Coat: Short

Color: Cream with red or brown pointing on the face, ears and tail

Life Expectancy: 12-17 years

Basically, a Siamese cat in disguise, Colorpoint Shorthairs have the same build but different coloring. These are said to be hypoallergenic, somewhat clingy cats who want to be near you at all times (so it’s a good thing their coats won’t induce a sneezing fit).

hypoallergenic cat breeds bombay
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13. Bombay

Height: 9-13 inches

Weight: 8-15 pounds

Personality: Curious, lively

Coat: Short

Color: Black

Life Expectancy: 9-13 years

Lap cat enthusiasts listen up! This cat loves being on your lap. Bombay kitties are definitely mischievous and social, so don’t leave them alone too long or they’ll become destructive. Said to be very low shedders, they make life easier on sensitive eyes and noses.

hypoallergenic cat breeds donskoy
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14. Donskoy

Height: 11-12 inches

Weight: 6-12 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, smart

Coat: Hairless to fine-coated

Color: Variety of colors

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Donskoy coats are typically hairless but can develop a very fine layer of hair. Even the hair they could develop doesn’t shed much (you may notice it as the seasons change) and their dander factor is very low. These loving animals enjoy doting on people but may not be ideal companions for other pets.