A quiet invasion by a vast soft and purring army
Hypoallergenic cats or not, everything about them is two-sided, and their history is not an exception. They have been treated as gods and goddesses and have also been demonized and treated as the devil. Egyptians adored feline goddess Bastet, a protector of the pharaohs and the sun god, Ra. Buddhist monks considered them tiny incarnations of Buddha and Japanese are obsessed over their fortune cat, Meneki-neko. In Thailand, cats were royal pets and guardians of human spirits. However, the dichotomy in perceiving this mysterious fluffball is most obvious in the Middle Ages. In the 14th century, cats all over Europe were persecuted as agents to the devil and were tortured and killed. Also associated with witches, women who owned cats were burned alive. Superstition and polarization are present today as well: a black cat is considered unlucky in many countries but associated with good luck in the UK.
Notwithstanding the ancient legacy of fear and suspicion, felines seduced the humankind with their untamed hearts and loving companionship. Every one of them is a distinct individual, a singular being and that is one of the best things about them. Inspiring and perplexing, aloof yet social, cats are a flip side of the same coin. Personal stress busters they are, cats are known for their ability to lower blood pressure, improve mood and bring joy to the lonely and the sick. Allergy sufferers could not be deprived of such companionship as the breeds listed below are hypoallergenic cats.
Basic Facts: These hypoallergenic cats were named after the Indonesian island of Java. But their name was given by looking at a map and picking rather than the traditional way of naming the breed by its origin. The Javanese was developed in North America by crossing the Siamese with Balinese and Colorpoint Shorthair cats in the 1950s. This rare man-made breed was recognized by the CFA in 1987.
Temperament: Also known as Colorpoint Longhair, this Oriental-type of feline is
Cool Fact: Although perceived as elegant, graceful and glamorous, these hypoallergenic cats are extremely strong and muscular with powerful athletic and acrobatic skills. In Europe this breed is known as the Oriental Longhair.
2. Russian Blue
Basic Facts: The Russian blue is a rare breed of hypoallergenic cats that existed for centuries. It originated from the Archangel Isles in Russia and is considered a natural breed. Details of its origin are unknown; however, many legends surround its history. It is said that Russian Blue descended from royal felines kept by Tsars and were considered good luck charms with healing abilities.
Temperament: Their vivid green eyes and lustrous double coats make them exclusive looking felines. Behind the sophisticated appearance, there is a quiet, well-behaved and loving companion. Russian Blues are one of the most intelligent breeds and probably the most devoted and loyal ones. Once they let a person in, that person becomes the sun and the moon to the Russian Blue. A striking feature of these hypoallergenic cats is their naturally upturned mouth that gives them a smiling expression.
Cool Fact: Russian Blue’s first public appearance was one with
3. Colorpoint Shorthair
Basic Facts: Developed to resemble a Siamese in every way but with more point
Temperament: This extrovert is
Cool Fact: These blue-eyed kittens have over 100 vocal sounds and are not shy to state their opinion. May be feline to the bone, but they sure have some dog-like traits. Playing fetch is just one of them.
Basic Facts: The national cat of Russia. Originating from Siberia, this gentle giant has been around for at least a thousand years. The Siberian earned Championship status in 2006 and is very popular among pet lovers. The long history of natural selection made this breed of hypoallergenic cats powerful, agile and hardy and is not linked to any congenital health condition.
Temperament: Siberians are soft-hearted but fearless. Beneath the fluffy coat there is muscular body fit for a forest dweller – highly athletic and powerful. This big chunk of fur is affectionate, attentive and very playful. Their calm and loving nature makes them excellent therapy pets. Siberians are extremely outgoing and get along with both pets and humans and are not shy in the presence of strangers.
Cool Fact: These hypoallergenic cats have a few uncommon traits. Siberians are known for their affinity for water which is often ascribed to their genetic memory of fishing in their historically natural habitat. Moreover, they are not bothered by noise and it seems nothing can scare them; a trait that earned them the nickname “fearless”.
Basic Facts: Previously known as the Safari cat, the Bengal got its name in the early 1970s after the scientific name of its ancestor, the Asian leopard cat. To achieve the wild look in a safe way, the Bengal breeding program began in the 1960 as a joint effort between Jean Mill and Dr. Willard Centerwall. However, Centerwall’s incentive was to pass the immunity to feline leukemia from the Asian leopard cat to domestic cats through breeding. His endeavor was unsuccessful.
Temperament: Behind its wild exterior, this exotic looking feline is
Cool Fact: It is said that most precious things in life have no price, but the popularity of the Bengals soared and created
Basic Facts: Developed through selective breeding, the world met the Sphynx in the 1960s for the first time. The breeding program started in 1966 in Canada with the intention to produce hairless cats. These unique looking felines were originally
Temperament: Snuggly and affectionate, these hypoallergenic cats will often act clownish and funny to catch the attention of their humans. They are very social and love being around their caretakers. As many other felines, Sphynxes are curious, playful and friendly. Most of these kittens are not completely hairless as they usually have very thin layer of downy fuzz and can be found in various colors and patterns.
Cool Fact: These wrinkly wise aliens have popular peers in movies. One famous Sphynx is Mrs. Whiskerson, a guest star in the popular comedy show Friends, commonly known by the catchphrase “Not a cat”. Another one helped growing the popularity of this breed by starring in the hit movie Austin Powers as Mr. Bigglesworth, the famous antagonist’s pet cat.
7. Oriental Shorthair
Basic Facts: In the 20th century, the Siamese cats were so popular that many breeders eagerly worked on creating different versions of Siamese while keeping the body type the same. It was in the 1950s in Europe that the breeding program began and produced the Oriental Shorthairs. Descended from Siamese, Russian Blues, British Shorthairs, Abyssinians and domestic shorthairs, the Oriental Shorthairs produced some longhaired offspring over time. Those are now recognized as a separate breed – Oriental
Temperament: Long, slender and flexible, this cat is full of enthusiasm and energy. The curious Orientals will go to great lengths to be involved in everything their humans do. Loving, loyal and extremely verbal, these hypoallergenic cats are companions like no others. Passionate about their humans, Orientals become extremely attached and will be their owners’ best friends forever.
Cool Fact: According to the conformation rules, more than 300 combinations of coat
Basic Facts: Developed by accident in 1964, the Ocicat may look like a wild cat but is an
Temperament: Highly intelligent, curious and friendly, they take pride in their learning abilities and enjoy playing with puzzle toys. Ocicats are very sociable and will get along with anyone. Their distinctive spotted coat comes in 12 colors, six of them being shades of silver. These hypoallergenic cats require only occasional brushing as they are very much self-maintenance type of kittens.
Cool Fact: Sometimes referred to as the Domestic Ocelot, this breed received the Championship status in 1987 and soon other registrations followed. These felines can be seen everywhere in pop culture, often featured in literature, tv shows, commercials and movies. As pets, today they can be found all around the world.
Basic Facts: All the ancestral roots of these hypoallergenic cats lead to a kitty named Wong Mau. This copper brown kitty was given as a gift to an American Siamese cat breeder in 1930. Soon after, the Siamese and Wong Mau were crossed, and a breeding program was created. The breed initially started to be registered in 1936 by the CFA. However, because of the continuous usage of Siamese in the breeding programs, the registrations were suspended up until 1953 when this practice ended.
Cool Fact: The 1930s and 1940s were controversial times for the Burmese. The popularity of these sweet felines was so high that owners mated them with Siamese to meet the demand. The kittens were falsely advertised as purebred and sold to zealous buyers.
Basic Facts: Named after the exotic dancers from Bali, this breed of hypoallergenic cats is more refined than exotic looking. First developed as a breed in the mid-1940s, these felines descended from long-haired Siamese kittens that were considered a fault in the lineage. It is safe to say that Balinese are the happy mistake of mother nature.
Temperament: It is unclear what feature of the Balinese is cuter: their fluffy, silky coat, their sapphire eyes or their happy personality. Often quiet but opinionated, this extroverted mood-reader loves to interact with its people and will love the attention that its given. They may look sophisticated but are clownish and entertaining with a great sense of humor. These hypoallergenic cats come in chocolate, lilac, seal and blue color, just as their parents do.
Cool Fact: Initially known as Long-haired Siamese, this
Basic Facts: Native to Thailand (formerly known as Siam), this feline enchanted the world with its appearance. Many tales and legends surround the history of the Siamese – from housing the souls of those who have passed to finding the King’s goblet – there is no doubt that these felines were highly thought of. Considered sacred, the Siamese were owned exclusively by Buddhist monks and the royal family.
Temperament: These temple guardians come in two distinct types: traditional and modern. Notwithstanding the physical differences, Siamese are very loving, loyal, social and intelligent. Often bonding strongly to a single person, they are companions for life. These hypoallergenic cats are partially albino and all of them are born white or pure cream. The coloration is developed in the first few months of their life.
Cool Fact: This pampered royalty deserves a spot on the walk of fame as it is a true Hollywood star. The Siamese starred in many movies that include “That Darn Cat!”, “Bell, Book and Candle” and “The Incredible Journey”. They have even resided in the White House.
12. Devon Rex
Temperament: Life would be everything but boring with the Devon Rex. This unique breed looks like a wise alien, but its nature is happy, mischievous and a bit naughty. Because of their silly behavior these hypoallergenic cats earned the nickname “the cat in a monkey suit”. Tricky little guys they are, they will most probably snag every food they find. Best friends and tireless playmates to children, these pixies are very easy to love.
Cool Fact: A Devon Rex named Frisky starred in Superman in 1978 and the following year this breed received
13. Cornish Rex
Basic Facts: Although Cornish Rex may look aristocratic, its origin is not. Like the Devon Rex, these hypoallergenic cats were a result of a natural mutation in a feral cat’s lineage. Born on a farm in Cornwall, England, the progenitor of this breed was named Kallibunker. At first backcrossed and later crossed with a Siamese, today the breed is recognized by all cat registries.
Temperament: Their child-like spirit stays within them even in their senior years. It seems like this goofy feline never grows old. The Cornish Rex is playful and interactive and loves to be handled. This is a cat who loves to be with its human. Snuggly and affectionate, with an outgoing personality, the Cornish Rex makes great therapy pet. Because of their appearance, these hypoallergenic cats are often linked with their cousin, the Devon Rex. However, testing proved that the natural genetic mutations causing the distinct coats of these felines are separate.
Cool Fact: The Cornish Rex is known as the Greyhound of the feline world. Unlike any other cat, the Cornish Rex can gallop and is just as fast as its canine peer. They also possess dog-like traits, like the affinity to playing fetch and retrieving.
Don’t forget to check our list of 30 Hypoallergenic dog breeds!