Because Sphynx cats don’t have any hair (or have very, very little hair), they’re extremely hypoallergenic cats. “Hypoallergenic” simply means that the cat is relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, not that they are completely allergen-free.
Should you get a Sphynx if you’re allergic to cats?
There’s no straight and simple answer to whether a Sphynx will be right for you if you have allergies to cats. It’s true that in the cat world the Sphynx is one of the least allergenic and less likely to cause an allergic reaction, but that doesn’t mean you’re safe.
Ultimately it’s difficult to say whether or not you can tolerate being around a Sphynx until you actually are, but it’s important to find out before you decide to get one. Some breeders will let you into their facilities to test whether you’ll be fine around their felines, so it’s worth reaching out to a breeder to see if you can arrange a visit.
What causes allergies to cats
While cat hair is a major factor in how allergenic a cat is, it’s actually the cat’s saliva that is to blame. Cats produce a protein called Fel-D1 in their saliva that is a major allergen to some people, and they end up spreading this allergen around when they lick themselves. The protein gets in their hair (if they have any) and then spreads all over the home. If you handle or pet the cat, you’ll get Fel-D1 on you.
Why Sphynx Cats Are Hypoallergenic
Sphynx cats do not produce less Fel-D1 on their saliva than other cat breeds, they simply don’t have hair to spread it around as much. While a Sphynx will still lick themselves and get the allergen all over their body, it won’t make its way onto furniture and other surfaces through shedding of hair.
Therefore, it’s still very possible to have an allergic reaction to a Sphynx cat by handling or petting one.
Difference in Allergens Between Males and Females
There is limited research to suggest that females and kittens produce the least amount of Fel-D1, making them slightly less allergenic than males. Un-neutered males tend to have the highest number of Fel-D1 protein of all of them.
How to Reduce Levels of Allergens Even Further
If you’re concerned about having an allergic reaction around a Sphynx still, you can try bathing the cat more often to get that layer of Fel-D1 off their skin. Sphynx cats need to be bathed fairly often anyway with a special soap due to their oily skin, so it might have an added benefit of making them even less allergenic.