Bengal Cats are graceful felines that are a mix of domestic cats with a wild cousin, the Asian Leopard Cat. These cats have unique features that make them quite unlike any other cat, such as having longer back legs than the front legs, which tends to help them move quietly and stealthily.
Are Bengal Cats Hypoallergenic?
Many people wonder if Bengal Cats are hypoallergenic. This term is used to describe pets that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t provoke an allergic response. Bengal Cats are considered a breed of hypoallergenic cat for a couple of reasons, as they tend to not produce an allergic response in allergy sufferers.
Cat dander tends to be one of the reasons why allergy sufferers develop an allergic response to some cats. The dander is microscopic and includes pieces of cat skin and dried saliva. These particles can readily become airborne, leading to people who are sensitive to cats to have an allergic response, anything from sneezing to breaking out in hives.
The main part of cat dander that stimulates an allergy is a glycoprotein that is found in cats, known as Fel D1. In addition to being found in a cat’s sebaceous glands, which are located in the skin, it can be found in the saliva and urine of cats. When a person who is susceptible to “cat allergies” gets exposed to Fel D1, their body produces an inflammatory reaction caused by the chemical histamine. More people tend to be sensitive to cats than dogs because of this protein, as well. Fel D1 is lighter than glycoproteins produced by dogs, so it stays in the air longer, making it more likely to enter a person’s lungs. In addition, the protein is rather sticky, so when it ends up on a surface, such as a couch, it doesn’t readily go away.
The Coat of a Bengal Cat
Bengal Cats don’t seem to produce any less of Fel D1 than other cat breeds, but the difference is in their coats. Bengals have a single coat, often referred to as the pelt, which means that they have significantly less fur than a regular cat with a double coat. As such, the Bengal Cats tend to shed less than many other cat breeds, so there is less of the Fel D1 being shed into the environment.
Many Bengal Cats have an extremely short coat, with a feel similar to that of rabbit fur. This sleek coat decreases a Bengal’s need to groom itself, so less Fel D1 is being deposited onto the coat from the cat’s saliva. With less grooming, there is also a lower amount of hair and dander entering the air, decreasing the possibility of the Bengal Cat provoking an allergic response.
Allergy Sufferers and Bengal Cats
Many people who have allergies to cats can tolerate being around a Bengal Cat, but not all people can be around them. There are different things that you can do to decrease the possibility of a Bengal causing an allergic response, but first you would want to see if you can be around them. Talk to a Bengal Cat breeder or owner and see if you can visit with their cat.
HEPA air filtration systems are a great benefit to people who suffer from cat allergies. The system can help remove some of the cat dander from the air, which means there is less Fel D1 to trigger an allergic response. Having fewer surfaces that the glycoprotein can stick to can also help: this means having fewer pieces of furniture in your house or having items made out of material that the protein won’t stick to, such as wooden floors as opposed to carpeting.
If you already have a Bengal Cat, you can also supplement their diet with omega-3 fatty acids, which will help improve their coat quality and can help decrease shedding. These can be supplemented with a variety of products, from liquid supplements to gel capsules. Your veterinarian can recommend a product for your cat.
Bengal Cats are considered to be hypoallergenic cats, which means they tend to cause less allergic reactions than many other breeds of cats. The protein that causes cats to be allergenic, known as Fel D1, is found in Bengals, but they tend to shed less, which makes less of the protein enter the environment. There are things you can do to help make owning a Bengal Cat a possibility for allergy sufferers, including adding fish oils to the cat’s diet and utilizing a HEPA air filtration system.