Are you a cat-loving allergy sufferer looking for a feline that won’t make you sneeze? If that’s the case, you have probably heard that Bengal cats are hypoallergenic. But, is that really true?
Is there such a thing as an allergy-free cat and are Bengal cats really hypoallergenic?!
Let’s see whether or not Bengal cats can cause an allergic reaction and, if, so, what you can do to reduce your allergy symptoms.
Are Bengal Cats Hypoallergenic?
Before we get any further, let’s take a look at what hypoallergenic actually means. The term hypoallergenic means that something is relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
Having said that, yes Bengal cats are hypoallergenic! However, there is still a small chance that a hypoallergenic cat, such as Bengal, can cause an allergic reaction in people with cat allergies.
If you suffer from cat allergies, don’t just assume that you won’t have an allergic reaction to Bengal cats.
As a hypoallergenic cat breed, the Bengal cat is less likely to cause an allergic reaction compared to other cat breeds. But, you may still end up sneezing after spending just a few minutes in the same room with a Bengal cat.
What Causes Cat Allergies?
Despite common beliefs, cat hairs aren’t to blame for your cat allergies! The thing you should blame for your runny nose and puffy eyes is a small and lightweight protein, called Fel d 1.
Fel d 1 is the most common cat allergen and is found in a cat’s saliva, urine, and skin cells.
While cat hair doesn’t actually cause allergies, it is the main way that saliva and skin cells get airborne and are introduced into the environment. When cats groom their coats shed, and carry the allergy-causing Fel d 1 protein with it.
Although every cat produces this protein, some people have found that they seem to have less of an allergic reaction to a handful of cat breeds, including the Bengal cat.
Why Are Bengal Cats Less Allergenic Than Some Cat Breeds?
If you ever saw or petted a Bengal cat, you have certainly noticed that their coat is different. Bengal cats have a single-layered and short pelt-like coat. This means that they have less fur than double-coated cat breeds which automatically means less shedding.
As a result, Bengal cats will spread fewer allergens around your home, compared to double-coated cat breeds that shed a lot.
While all cats groom themselves to keep their coats clean, Bengals seem to do it less than other breeds. This is probably because Bengal cats have a low-maintenance, sleek coat that doesn’t require as much grooming as coats of some longhaired and double-coated breeds.
With less grooming, there are fewer chances for the allergy-causing protein to become released into the air inside your home.
Please note, you may have come across statements that Bengal cats produce less Fel d 1 protein than other cat breeds. However, there is no scientific research backing these claims, so you’d be wise to not take them for granted.
What About Bengal Tabby Mixes?
Many people want a Bengal tabby mix, or are convinced that they have a cat that is part Bengal (if this is you, read our guide here to determining whether or not your cat is a Bengal mix).
If Bengals are hypoallergenic, what about mixes?
Unfortunately, the answer here is “probably not” … and it also is likely to depend on what your Bengal is mixed with.
Tips for Cat Loving Allergy Sufferers
If you suffer from allergies, but can’t imagine your life without a Bengal cat, there are a few things you can do to coexist.
Since all cats produce saliva, urine, and dander there is no way of successfully removing the allergens without getting rid of your cat. If rehoming your Bengal isn’t an option, you can try to reduce the spread of allergens inside your home.
Here are a few tips that can help you with that:
- Feed your Bengal a high-quality diet that will improve the quality of its skin – you can read our guide here to the best Bengal cat foods for more information about what you should be feeding your cat.
- Use the best cat fountain for Bengal cats to keep your feline hydrated and prevent dry and flaky skin – we have a comprehensive guide here to the best water fountains for Bengal cats
- Supplement your cat’s diet with omega 3 fatty acids to reduce the amount of hair and dander being released into the air
- Clean and vacuum your home daily
- Invest in a HEPA air filtration system
- Brush your cat regularly using the best brushes for Bengal cats to remove loose hair and dander
- Have a non-allergic family member scoop the litter box twice a day to limit urine exposure to the air – learn more here about the best litter for Bengal cats, as well as the best litter boxes for your Bengal.
- Remove carpeting and replace upholstered furniture or use impermeable covers
- If everything else fails, consider taking allergy medicine. Talk with your doctor about allergy shots, antihistamines, or decongestants you can take to reduce your symptoms
Conclusion – Are Bengal Cats Really Hypoallergenic?
Bengal cats are hypoallergenic. But, hypoallergenic doesn’t mean that they are allergy-free, it means that they are relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. This is an important distinction to remember – and is something that you need to understand before buying a Bengal or bringing one into your home.
We are sorry to break it to you, but there is no such thing as a non-allergenic cat!
If you suffer from allergies and are set on getting a Bengal cat, it’s a good idea to visit the cat you’re interested in a few times to see how you’re affected.
It is also worth talking to your doctor to see what you can do to reduce your allergies … as there isn’t much the cat can do to help you!
If you have any questions or queries, then feel free to leave a comment below.