If you are allergic to cats but still want to adopt one, then some people may recommend ragdoll cats. Ragdoll cats do not have an undercoat and are therefore believed to be hypoallergenic.
Are ragdoll cats hypoallergenic though? If you are considering adopting a ragdoll, read on to find out!
So Are Ragdoll Cats Hypoallergenic?
Quick answer – ragdoll cats are not hypoallergenic to most people who have an allergy to cats.
Why is it “most people”? According to Healthline, over 90% of allergic reactions to cats are caused by cat saliva and skin. Most allergies are triggered by the allergen Fel d 1, which is found in cat dander, and Fel d 4, which is found in saliva.
Ragdoll cats may expose you to both allergens. So although ragdoll cats do lack an undercoat, they will still cause an allergic reaction in people that are allergic to cat saliva and dander.
However, ragdoll cats still have a reduced risk of causing allergic reactions. In other cat breeds, cat dander mostly gets collected in the undercoat. Undercoat hair is light and may float around the home, making the allergens airborne.
In contrast, the hair of ragdolls is heavier and tends to fall to the ground. With that in mind, you are getting less exposed to allergens floating around your house.
There may also be a placebo effect among owners of ragdoll cats. Sometimes, allergy reactions in allergic people are caused by the mere sight of a cat, even when there is no physical contact with allergens. This suggests that allergic reactions may be psychosomatic.
So if someone strongly believes that ragdoll cats are hypoallergenic, they may not have any adverse reactions. However, this is only true if you are not actually allergic to the allergens released by ragdolls.
Are There Truly Hypoallergenic Cats?
No, there are no cat breeds that are truly hypoallergenic. With that said, hairless cats – such as the Sphynx – are considered hypoallergenic because they have little fur, and therefore, very little of their hair is floating around.
Hairless cats still produce allergens, but since they have little to no hair, the chance of allergic reaction is lower.
Other candidates for the title “hypoallergenic” are Russian Blues and Siberian cats. These breeds produce lower amounts of Fel d proteins, which may make them less allergy-inducing.
With that said, it’s safer to assume that no cat is truly hypoallergenic. And depending on which allergen you react to, you may not be able to ever find a cat that will not cause an allergic reaction in you.
You Are Allergic To Cats But Want A Cat – What Now?
So as it turns out, there are no 100% hypoallergenic cats. Now what? Does this mean that you will not be able to ever have a cat?
Well, this depends on how much time and effort you are ready to invest in taking care of your cat. If it is your partner that wants a cat, then you will also need to determine how much effort you are going to make to let your partner have a cat.
Cats are generally considered low-maintenance, especially compared to dogs. They do not need walking and training. Felines do need plenty of attention, but they are more independent than dogs.
However, cats are only low-maintenance for non-allergic people. If you are allergic, you will have to dedicate much more time and effort if you want to have a cat by your side.
With that, here is what you will need to do to minimize your allergies and keep a cat.
Keep your cat out of your bedroom
Cats absolutely love to sleep with their owners. And to be honest, sleeping with cuddly cats is among the best aspects of owning a cat.
For allergic people though, this experience will be unattainable. You should keep your cat out of your bedroom at night.
Groom your cat regularly
Next, you should groom your cat regularly – preferably every day – to keep their fur allergen-free. Grooming a cat doesn’t take much effort and only needs a few minutes of your time.
Minimize the amount of upholstery and carpeting in your home
Cat hair and dander will fly around your home and end up on your furniture and upholstery. It’s especially bad when hair accumulates on fabric because fabric is difficult to clean.
With this in mind, you should minimize the amount of upholstery and carpeting in your home. Get rid of carpets, first of all – allergies aside, you will be doing yourself a great favor since you will no longer have to worry about carpet washing.
Additionally, use washable furniture covers. Preferably, you should get covers that can be washed in warm water.
Vacuum and dust your home regularly
You should regularly vacuum and dust your home. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to collect cat allergens. Standard vacuums may not be able to capture allergens and instead eject them back into your home.
Regularly wash your upholstery as well to free it of cat dander, hair, and other allergens.
Keep your home well-ventilated
Cat allergens easily build up in poorly-ventilated rooms. Make sure that air circulates well in your home. Open your windows, keep fans on, and also use an air cleaner to keep your air pristine. Air cleaners with HEPA filters are capable of capturing pet allergens, so they are a good investment as well.
Summary – Should Allergic People Get A Ragdoll Cat?
Ragdoll cats are very affectionate and get bonded with their owners easily. With that in mind, they require frequent communication with people.
If you can ensure that your cat is not alone the entire day, then a ragdoll cat might be a good companion for you. But if you work most of the day and often don’t spend nights at home, then a ragdoll is not the best choice, unless there is someone else who the cat could stay with while you are gone.
And speaking of someone else, if you can’t groom your cat by yourself, then you could have a partner do it for you.