“Mommy, can we get a kitty?” is a phrase just about every mom hears. However, you may have noticed your child gets a stuffy nose every time they’re around someone else’s cat and want to avoid aggravating their allergies. In this article, we’ll give you a better understanding of cat allergies as well as which are the best cats for kids with allergies.
Kids Living With Cat Allergies
Up to 30% of Americans have an allergy to cats and dogs, with cat allergies being twice as common compared to dog allergies. Most people find ways to ensure they get to enjoy their furry companions while keeping their allergy symptoms at bay.
For kids who love cats and have been begging mom for a kitty, choosing the perfect pet may prove to be tricky. Luckily, there are a variety of cats that trigger allergies a lot less than others, as well as steps you can take to reduce allergic reactions.
What Causes an Allergic Reaction to Cats?
While most people think cat allergies come from the pet’s fur, it’s actually a Fel d 1 protein that cats carry. This protein can be from dander, saliva, and even urine.
When your kids breathe in the pet dander, this will cause an allergic reaction. The allergen particles circulate in the air, pass through clothes, or settle in the bedding or couch.
What Are the Symptoms of a Cat Allergy?
You may be here because you noticed that your little one gets a stuffy nose any time they’re at their friend’s house who has a cat. However, the allergies may not appear for a few days for some kids, making it difficult to fully pinpoint if that’s the culprit.
Most children who are allergic to cats will have puffy eyes and a stuffy nose, much like a common cold. Fatigue is also common if the allergies go untreated.
Cat allergies can have similar symptoms to other allergies, so if you have any doubt, be sure to check with your child’s doctor. A doctor can determine if your child has a cat allergy and give you a better understanding of how severe it is.
Are There Any Hypoallergenic Cats?
Because all cats produce the Fel d 1 protein, no cat is truly considered hypoallergenic; but this does mean that every cat will cause an allergic reaction.
(If you want a fully hypoallergenic pet, check our top picks of the Best Small Hypoallergenic Dogs!)
What to Look for in Cats for Kids with Allergies:
- A breed that sheds less than others
- Cats that don’t produce much dander
- Breeds that have less of the Fel d 1 protein
Reducing Cat Allergies
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Even if you choose one of the best cats for your kids with allergies, they may still get symptoms from time to time. Purchasing a HEPA filter is one of the best ways to clean up the air and remove any of the Fel d 1 protein floating around.
These filters trap pet dander, pollen, dust mites, as well as other allergens. So not only will you protect yourself and your kiddos from cat allergies, you can reduce allergy symptoms all around.
Other Strategies to Reduce Cat Allergy Symptoms:
- Keep the kitty out of your kid’s room
- Make sure your children wash their hands after petting the cat
- Wash rugs and furniture covers in hot water as frequently as possible
- Use a HEPA filter vacuum on a weekly basis
Best Cats for Kids With Allergies
Below we researched and found 10 cats that either produce small amounts of the Fel d 1 protein, shed infrequently, or produce less dander than other breeds. Aside from that, each cat breed has its own personality, so keep that in mind when choosing the perfect kitty for your kids!
At first glance, you may mistake a Siberian cat for a Maine Coon because both cats look like giant balls of fur. Siberians, however, have distinct round eyes that may even make your kids think they’re straight out of a cartoon. They’re powerful, agile cats that are athletic and can jump to insane heights.
Despite being giant furballs, Siberians are one of the best cats for kids with allergies. While these fluffy cats have a long coat and need frequent brushing, your kiddos won’t have much to worry about. Compared to other cats, Siberian cats produce relatively small amounts of the Fel d 1 protein, therefore, reducing the chance of an allergic reaction.
Similar to a Siberian cat, the Balinese cat breed has less of the Fel d 1 allergen. These energetic and elegant cats are low-shedding and only require weekly brushing. Their fur is silky smooth, and their coat colors vary from frost, blue, cream, red, chocolate, and lilac, to fawn.
Though these have a much slender body than the Siberian cat, Balinese cats may surprise you with how high they can jump. If you’re hoping to gift your babies with a long-haired, fun, and affectionate kitty, the Balinese will be a perfect fit for your home.
Javanese cats are cousins of the Balinese, so you can expect all of the same great qualities. Their head resembles a long triangle with their far-apart ears and narrow jaw. They have smooth fur and a giant bushy tail, making these loving cats extra cuddly.
This cat breed doesn’t have an undercoat, so they shed very rarely. These smart cats are easy to train and love cuddling up next to children, which luckily, won’t be an issue.
4. Russian Blue
The Russian blue is a sweet, short-haired cat that appears to be a little bigger than she actually is. She has a dense, elegant coat, that luckily doesn’t shed much. With less dander floating around, you can feel better about this cat being around your kids.
One of the cuddliest cats, the Russian blue enjoys laying next to their humans, purring, and getting brushed. This breed is also one that produces less of the Fel d 1 protein than other breeds.
With its heavily muscled body and spotted coat, the Bengal looks like a cat straight out of The Jungle Book. Bengals are very playful and crave a lot of attention from their humans. Children also love playing with their wild-looking pet, so Bengals make a great companion for them.
They have an extremely short coat that doesn’t shed much compared to other breeds, keeping less dander from spreading throughout the house.
Here we have another elegant cat that looks like it could star in a Disney movie. Burmese have a trait referred to as “glistening” that gives their gorgeous fur a glimmering finish. As if their coat couldn’t be better, these cats shed less than other breeds.
Children will love playing with their intelligent new pet. Burmese cats are more like dogs in some ways with how affectionate and obedient they are. Many pet owners can even teach them to play fetch.
7. Cornish Rex
The Cornish rex breed is a sociable cat that loves to play and is another cat that can learn to fetch. These cats are affectionate and will need a little quality time with their owners.
It’s believed that these cats don’t shed as much dander because of their fine coats. The Cornish Rex has a fine overcoat with no coarse layer. Because of this, they’ll need occasional baths to reduce the oil buildup.
8. Devon Rex
Similar to the Cornish rex, the Devon rex is also considered to be one of the best cats for kids with allergies. These cuties have a very unique facial structure with their big eyes and butterfly ears. When you bring this kitty home, your kids may mistake it for a pixie or elf!
These cats have three layers of fur but don’t shed much, keeping the dander spreading to a minimum. They’re curious cats who have a silly personality and will be sure to give your kids playful performances.
9. Colorpoint Shorthair
Similar to other breeds on this list, the colorpoint shorthair is a highly intelligent cat that can learn to do many things. They do, however, have a mind of their own and will ultimately follow their own desires.
These smart, beautiful cats not only have minimal to no shedding but also produce little to no dander. Because of this, they make a great pet for anyone struggling with allergies.
Last but certainly not least, the Sphynx may be the closest cat you can get to a hypoallergenic breed. While most people consider these cats as “hairless”, they do have a fine peach-fuzz that feels like suede when petting them. They are a sweet and spunky breed that loves attention from their owners.
While the Sphynx may not have long hair, they do produce dander. These cats require frequent bathing to reduce excess oil from their skin which will also help keep the dander’s spreading to a minimum.
The best cats for kids with allergies will be those who contain less of the Fel d 1 protein or who shed dander infrequently. Although no cats are 100% hypoallergenic, this doesn’t mean you and your kids can’t enjoy a furry friend.
By choosing one of the best cats with allergies and using strategies to reduce the spread of dander, your kids can happily play their new kitty without having a stuffy nose.