The Most Hypoallergenic Cat Breed In The World

Cats bring joy to many, but if you're one of those allergic to them, it can feel like you're missing out. Don't worry, though, there are some cat breeds that won't always trigger sneezing fits. One, in particular, is considered the most hypoallergenic cat breed in the world — the Siberian.

That said, there isn't a completely hypoallergenic cat out there, as Smithsonian Magazine writes, because it isn't cat hair people are allergic to. People react to a protein, Fel d1, which cats release through their saliva, urine, and dried flakes of skin. When cats lick their fur clean, the protein dries up, and becomes an airborne allergen. Because of this, cats are more likely to cause allergic reactions than most animals. Now, the Siberian is a surprising choice for the world's most hypoallergenic cat — after all, it has a gorgeous, long coat of hair — but a 2017 study found Siberians produce much lower levels of Fel d1. Other studies also identified more cat breeds that possibly produce low levels of Fel d1, though more research is needed.

Hairless cat breeds do exist, such as the unique looking Sphynx, but they still secrete the protein and it remains on their skin. The Sphynx also requires more care than Siberians. In any case, since Siberians produces fewer allergens, people have begun to try to breed more of them, but the success rate of a whole litter of Siberians that don't make anyone sniffle is not that high, reports Science News. Even so, breeders now sell Siberians based on their Fel d1 levels.

Scientists are trying to make an allergen-free cat

This hasn't stopped scientists from devising ways to make allergy sufferers into cat parents. 

Science News writes that biotechnologists are trying to genetically engineer cats that do not produce the protein at all. Researchers also started tests to boost tolerance to cat allergens, by combining a small amount of Fel d1 with an antibody, to block an allergic response. Some are also suggesting different diets for cats, so they produce fewer Fel d1. 

For now, though, a completely allergy-free cat is still far into the future, so if you're allergic, choosing a cat is still a gamble. Pet Finder suggests meeting the cat first, before adopting it. This lets you get to know the cat, but also determines your tolerance to their Fel d 1 levels. For now, Siberian cats remain the most hypoallergenic cat, but far into the future, it will probably be a different story.