Are Himalayan Cats Hypoallergenic? [What You Need to Know]

Are Himalayan cats hypoallergenic? This is a question that many people ask when considering adding a cat to their family. If you suffer from allergies, there are some things you need to know to help you decide if a Himalayan cat is right for you. 

Himalayan cats are NOT hypoallergenic. Due to their long fur, they often shed, spreading allergens around their environment; this makes them one of the least ideal felines for allergy sufferers. However, female cats and kittens produce smaller amounts of the most common allergen Fel d1.

Continue reading to discover why Fel d1 matters, which cats are best for people with allergies, and the preventative steps you can implement to reduce symptoms when you’re sharing your home with a pet that is not hypoallergenic.

What Is A Hypoallergenic Cat?

Thanks to its reduced impact on symptoms, a hypoallergenic cat is a godsend for allergy sufferers.

An estimated 10% of the population has a pet allergy, and cat allergies are twice as likely as dog allergies. They are caused by a specific allergen known as Fed d1, found in cat saliva. 

All cats produce Fed d1, but they don’t all produce it in equal measures. While there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic cat, some breeds come pretty close and are more unlikely to invoke allergic reactions in their owners.

Scientists classify hypoallergenic cats as those that produce the lowest amounts of Fed d1; there are 14 in total:

  • Balinese
  • Bengal
  • Burmese
  • Colorpoint Shorthair
  • Cornish Rex
  • Devon Rex
  • Javanese
  • LaPerm
  • Ocicat
  • Oriental Shorthair
  • Russian Blue
  • Siamese
  • Siberian
  • Sphynx

How Much Does A Himalayan Cat Shed?

Himalayan cats are in high demand thanks to their beautiful, soft, cashmere-like fur. But it is this long-haired trait that can make them exceptionally high maintenance. They are classed as heavy-shedding cats who shed fur continuously.

A Himalayan requires daily brushing and monthly washing to prevent matting and help reduce allergens from spreading around your home.

Can I Adopt A Himalayan Cat If I’m Allergic?

It depends on the severity of your allergy. For people with severe allergies, having a pet shedding around your home is a big no-no. But if you only have mild allergy symptoms, you can take steps to reduce the impact.

Firstly, choose your cat wisely. Kittens and females produce less Fel d1, followed by neutered males. The least hypoallergenic cats are intact males, so you’ll want to avoid purchasing one of these if you have known allergies.

It’s important to remember that every cat is different, though, and no cat comes with guarantees. But by purchasing a female kitten, you stand a better chance of minimizing your allergy symptoms.

How Can I Manage My Allergy?

Himalayans can spread numerous allergens making it pretty challenging to rid your environment of them completely. However, you can take steps to reduce the number of allergens present in your home.

Invest in a vacuum with a micro-filtration device.

These are specially designed to suck hairs out of your carpet and furnishings. However, the hairs can fly around during the process, so it’s better if you can get someone to vacuum for you.

Purchase an air purifier

Though these can set you back a few dollars, they’re worth the cost for the effect they have on your environment, making it a whole lot easier to breathe fresh air when your cat is around.

Dust often

Did you know that you can remove 95% of air-borne cat allergens with regular dusting? Spraying the polish directly onto the surface you’re dusting helps maximize the impact.

Keep textiles to a minimum

Fabrics will naturally cling onto allergens, so it’s worth casting an eye over your home and evaluating which textiles are essential and which you could do without.

How Can I Reduce The Number Of Allergens My Cat Spreads?

While you can minimize the number of allergens that lurk around your living space, it’s essential that you also take steps to maintain a clean and healthy cat to prevent them from transmitting allergens to you directly.

Most cats have a predisposition to hating water, and no wonder when you consider that the lack of oil in their coats places them at a high risk of hypothermia. But, if you introduce them to water at a young age and include plenty of toys and fussing, you can train them to get used to having a bath.

By bathing your cat with a special allergy shampoo, you can remove the majority of dander (dry skin) and allergens from your Himalayans coat. Just don’t overdo it; once a month is enough, anymore, and you could dry out their skin, causing them to create more dander.

Along with bathing, keep an eye on your kitty’s coat – if it starts to look dull or dry, try picking up some Omega 3 fatty acid supplements, as a shiny coat will produce less dander than a dry one.

For the sake of you and your cat, daily brushing is a must. The fur on a Himalayan can quickly become tangled or matted, providing the perfect environment for allergens to longer. Like vacuuming, this process can release hair and allergens, so it’s best left to someone who isn’t allergic to your furry friend.

If you’re experiencing moderate to high allergy problems with your Himilayan, consult with your vet, who may be able to offer your cat a treatment such as acepromazine.

How Can I Help Prevent Allergens Transferring From My Himalayan Cat To Me?

Preventative measures extend to your own hygiene. Ensuring that you wash your hands every time you handle your cat is a must if you are an allergy sufferer. In addition, wash your clothes often, especially if your pet has been lounging on you.

Think about the materials your clothes are made from. For example, hair will stick particularly well to wool and polyester, so you may want to try purchasing clothes made of cotton instead.

To avoid the spread of allergens between your feline friend and yourself, you will need to establish boundaries. While a sleeping cat lying next to your head might be adorable, the ramifications may not be worth it. Stop your cat from lying on your bed or licking your face by gently removing them each time they try.

They’ll soon get the message and find other ways to express their love to you, such as head bumping or purring.

What Is The Temperament Of A Himalayan Cat?

The Himalayan cat is the perfect combination of easygoing and playful, with bursts of energy and curiosity along with periods of independence.

While these cats are particularly charming, they do carry some health concerns and are occasionally moody.

What Are The Best Alternative Cat Options?

If you’ve fallen in love with the Himalayan, but your allergies are too strong to manage, don’t worry! There are other breeds of cats that are just as adorable and produce a lot less Fel d1.

Though research is still ongoing, Siberian cats show promise to be lower allergen producers. In one study, around 50% of Siberian cats had lower levels of Fel d1 than the average cat.

Siberian cats share the beautiful long-haired traits of the Himalayan, and they love outdoor adventures as well as cuddling up inside. If your allergies are too strong, the Siberian cat could be an excellent alternative for you.

Additionally, the Balinese is thought to be one of the least shedding cats among long hair breeds and could be another option worth investigating.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, Himalayan cats are not hypoallergenic though there are many steps you can take to reduce allergy symptoms. However, if your reactions are severe, this may not be the cat for you. 

But don’t be disheartened; there are several other long-haired breeds, such as Siberian and Balinese cats, which could prove to be the perfect feline companion for you.

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