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Best Cat Breeds for People with Allergies
According to The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, between 6 and 10 million Americans are allergic to cats or other pets. If you're an allergy sufferer who also happens to be a cat lover, you may be interested in low allergen cats.
What Makes A Cat Hypoallergenic?
Low allergen, or "hypoallergenic" cats are those that typically produce fewer allergens than "regular" cats. The operative word here is "fewer." Hypoallergenic is not synonymous with non-allergenic, and no breed is completely non-allergenic.
A protein (Fel D1) is the allergen in the cat's saliva is what causes problems for allergy sufferers. Once your cat licks her coat, the allergen-laden spit dries and becomes airborne, seeking a warm home in your nose and sinuses. Some cat breeds produce less of this protein than others, making them hypoallergenic.
Several Factors Affect Cats' Allergen Production:
So, a light-colored female cat might work out better for people with cat allergies.
Cats Good For Allergy Sufferers
Although no cat breed is truly hypoallergenic - all cats produce at least some allergens - there are seven breeds that produce fewer allergens than others. This hypoallergenic cats list should not be the only thing you consider when researching which breed of cat to adopt, however. Be sure to consider all of each breed's characteristics to determine which is the best fit for your household.
Hypoallergenic Cats List
Three of the seven hypo-allergenic breeds are Oriental lines: the Balinese, Oriental Shorthair and Javanese. This provides several options for cat lovers who'd like a low allergen cat with the characteristics of the popular Siamese.
Two "Rex" cats are on the list: the Devon and Cornish Rex. Both shed very little fur, which is good news for allergy sufferers:
The 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds
Most animal lovers know that the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the U.S. for a long time. He is followed closely by the German Shepherd, the Yorkie, and the Golden Retriever. But how many of us know which cat breeds are the most popular? Just as the top dog breeds are varied in their looks, size and personalities, the top 10 cat breeds in the U.S. are very different from each other.
There are about 90 million pet cats in the U.S. according to census data. This means there are many more whose owners do not claim them as pets even though they take care of them. Many of these cats are identified as domestic longhairs or domestic shorthairs and only about 3-5% are purebred. The list of cat breeds is large - most registries recognize around 40 breeds of cats and at least one new breed is added yearly.
Purebred cat lovers generally choose a breed that is similar to their personality. A person who is reserved and introverted might choose a breed such as the somewhat aloof Scottish Fold or the American Curl. A person who is more outgoing and is looking for a dog-like cat might choose the Manx or the Birman. Cat owners are also drawn to cats based on their looks. From the sleek Siamese to the rough and tumble Maine Coon, you'll find that often a cat does look like his person.
The top ten cat breeds in the U.S. are as varied as their American owners:
1. The Persian: This breed has been number one since the CFA first started keeping records in 1871. Persians are affectionate and loyal but need their long fur groomed every day.
2. The Maine Coon: This breed has been in second place since 1992 and it's no wonder. This is a very gentle, loving creature who is large by cat-size. They weigh between 15 and 25 lbs. and have long fur like the Persian. However, they do not need as much grooming as the Persian.
3. The Exotic: This breed is like a Persian but with short fur. Their nickname is "Persian in Pajamas" because of their coloring. They are sweet like a Persian but only need brushing twice a week.
4. The Siamese: The yowl of a Siamese is very familiar to fanciers of this breed. And it's not just for attention - Siamese like to "chat" with their owners. This is a sleek cat who is very athletic. They usually gravitate to one person and are loyal and loving.
5. The Abyssinian: These cats are considered some of the lookers in the cat world. Thin and elegant with a shiny coat, they are active felines, very playful and friendly.
6. The Ragdoll: This breed gets its name from the way these cats go completely limp in your arms when you pick them up. They are cute and cuddly and large like the Maine Coon, weighing between 10 and 20 lbs. (males tend to be larger). This is a breed that should always be kept inside as they are very docile and would likely not defend themselves outside.
7. The Birman: If you want a cat that is dog-like, the Birman is a good choice. He is friendly, outgoing, even-tempered ...
The Top Cat Breeds for Apartment Dwellers
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association's 2009-10 Pet Owners Survey reports that there are approximately 93.6 million cats living in US households, while there are only about 77.5 million dogs. Part of the reason cats have overtaken dogs in the house pet popularity contest is that cats adapt more easily to indoor life and can cope better with their humans' busy lifestyles. However, some cats still make for better apartment housemates than others.
The Apartment-Friendly Personality
When choosing a feline roommate, look for the following temperament traits:
Be sure to take your lifestyle into account when selecting a cat, too. If you plan to entertain a lot, be sure your cat will be able to tolerate --or even enjoy-- other people and the potential noise and chaos of parties (even a sedate dinner party is chaotic as far as some cats are concerned).
Below is a list of several breeds that are known to be good companions for apartment dwellers. Of course, personalities and temperaments will vary somewhat within each breed, so be sure to talk to your breeder to ensure that your feline friend will be a good fit for your living situation.
The British Shorthair is particularly known for its ability to adapt well to apartment life. Quiet and friendly with its owner, this hardy breed is also a good fit for first-time cat owners. If you want a lap cat, this breed is for you.
The easygoing and affectionate Persian , with its relatively placid demeanor, is a good fit for apartment life. However, the Persian does need attention and will not thrive in an environment where its owner is away a lot. The Persian requires daily grooming to prevent mats. If you like the Persian personality but would prefer a lower-maintenance coat, check out the Exotic, the short-haired version of the Persian.
The Russian Blue is an affectionate but independent cat, well-suited for a life with working singles. They are known to be shy with strangers but very loyal to their favorite person. Their plush blue coat requires very little maintenance. They are moderately active and enjoy playing.
The Javanese is playful, affectionate, and vocal. Although the Javanese can tolerate being alone during the day, they do need daily one-on-one time with their owners to be truly happy. This breed is best suited for first-time cat owners and would do best in the household of a retired senior.
The Ragdoll is known for its laid-back and gentle temperament. If you're looking for a lap cat that enjoys playtime but isn't especially demanding, a Ragdoll could be your ideal companion. These cats should be kept indoors only and adapt well to apartment life.
Other Apartment Cat Options