That is one of the first questions I am asked when someone is looking for a Sphynx kitten and has known cat allergies. To answer that question, you must first understand the no breed of cat is completely non-allergenic or “cat allergy free”. Hypoallergenic means low allergen, and refers to cats that typically produce fewer allergens than “regular” cats. The protein (Fel D1) is the allergen in a cat’s saliva that causes problems for allergy sufferers. Once the cat licks its fur, the allergen is transferred to the fur of the cat, which is then shed all over your furniture, carpet, clothing etc and causes problems for people with cat allergies. Sphynx cats still have the protein present in their saliva, and do still lick themselves to groom, but without their hair shedding all over the house, they offer an alternative that some cat lovers can live with.
My husband and two daughters are allergic to cats in the traditional sense – if we visit a friend that has cats inside the home, within a few minutes of the visit, their eyes begin to water and the sneezing begins. However, we have had our Sphynx cats for 6 years now and all are able to handle the cats with no issue. At one time we have had as many as 20 cats and kittens in the house! Friends have come to our home and have held our cats who have never been able to be near cats before. We have found this to be true time and time again. If you are allergic to cats but would like to meet our Sphynx to see if the breed is right for you, plan to stay for a few hours and really spend time with the cats.
Once you have adopted your Sphynx cat, there are steps you can take to minimize allergens. They are:
Frequent bathing. Sphynx cats should be bathed once a week to keep their skin clean and remove oils that can build up. This also includes cleaning their toenails and ears.
Wash cat toys and bedding frequently.
Wash your hands and face after touching the cat. Remembering this simple step can make a big difference for the typical cat allergy sufferer.
Most people with typical cat allergies are not bothered by the Sphynx breed, but do your homework if you are considering a Sphynx. They are great companions and the best part of owning a “hairless” cat is no shedding!