The short answer to this right off the bat is no. Ragdoll cats are not hypoallergenic, and the hard truth is, no cat breed is 100% hypoallergenic… even hairless breeds like the Sphynx!
Rag doll cats can trigger allergies but they’re perhaps less allergenic than many other cat breeds.
Anyhow, in this post I’m going to explain not only why Ragdoll cats aren’t hypoallergenic but also why cats trigger allergic reactions and what these reactions tend to be.
I’ll also go on to explain what you can do to reduce Ragdoll cat allergens if you’re an allergy sufferer but you still want to cohabit with this most lovable of cat breeds.
Table of Contents
- Are Ragdoll Cats Hypoallergenic?
- What Causes Allergic Reactions to Cats?
- Cat Allergens
- How Allergenic Are Ragdoll Cats?
- What Are the Symptoms of Cat Allergies?
- How to Reduce Ragdoll Cat Allergens
- Related Posts
Are Ragdoll Cats Hypoallergenic?
As I’ve already stated, and just so we’re clear, Ragdoll cats are not hypoallergenic… but then no cat breed is.
However, we can imagine a continuum of hypoallergenic-ness, where a score of “1” might be the least likely to trigger allergies and a score of “10” being the most likely. In this type of scale, Ragdoll cats might feature as a “4” or “5”.
So while Ragdolls are not hypoallergenic, they’re not the worst cat breed for those who have allergies (find out more below). However, Ragdoll cats can most certainly trigger an allergic reaction for allergy sufferers.
What Causes Allergic Reactions to Cats?
Many substances cause some people to suffer allergic reactions:
- We know that exposure to pollen causes the symptoms of hay fever for some.
- For many certain foods cause a variety of allergic symptoms and some foods like peanuts can be extremely dangerous for them.
- Certain cosmetic products and fragrances are also known to cause allergies.
An allergy occurs when our bodies react to a substance that’s normally considered harmless by firing up our immune system to rise up to tackle it. Most times the symptoms are mild, but often they can be distressing or even dangerous.
Sadly, some people are allergic to cats… well, not the whole cat but specifically, proteins in their dander (dead skin flakes), on their fur, and in their urine and saliva.
Cats produce a number of proteins known to cause allergies to people sensitive to them. The most common is a protein called “Fel d 1”, which is found in the “sebaceous glands”.
The sebaceous glands create a substance called sebum, which helps to lubricate skin and hair and keep it healthy.
Other proteins that cause cat allergic reactions are “Fel d 4” and “Fel d 7”, which are found in cat saliva. We know that cats clean themselves by licking their coats and paws, so cats transfer these proteins all over their bodies.
There’s an assumption that it’s cat’s fur that’s the cause of allergies, but really it’s not the fur itself… fur is just one of the main ways people come into contact with cat allergens.
Unfortunately for cat allergy sufferers, all cats produce the Fel d1, Fel d4 and Fel d 7 proteins, which means cats are literally covered in allergens… ergo, there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat.
Furthermore, it’s estimated that between 10% and 20% of adults are allergic to cats. So for these people, cats can be a real problem.
It’s worth also pointing out that cats can also trigger allergic reactions in people who aren’t allergic to the Fe1 d1, Fel d4 and Fel d7 proteins. Cats that venture outdoors can pick up allergens such as pollen in their fur and this can lead to allergic responses from hay fever sufferers.
How Allergenic Are Ragdoll Cats?
Cats can be double or single coated. If a cat is double coated, it means it has a topcoat and an undercoat. Single-coated cats have just a topcoat.
Most cat breeds actually have double coats but all cats have a topcoat.
The topcoat for most cats tends to be longer than the undercoat as it’s the outer layer of fur that protects cats from the sun, wind and rain.
The undercoat is generally softer than the topcoat and it provides insulation. Since the fur of the undercoat helps to regulate temperature, it’s the fur that most often sheds during the autumn and spring months.
Hence, double-coated cats (cats that have a topcoat and an undercoat) tend to shed more than single-coated cats.
Although Ragdoll cats have a longer coat than many other cat breeds, they are single-coated. This means they don’t shed as frequently as many other cats, and indeed they are considered average shedders.
Now although fur itself isn’t allergenic, the sebum, saliva and dander it hosts most definitely is. This means if a cat sheds a lot, it’s likely to leave more allergens in its wake.
It stands to reason then that heavy shedding cats require more regular grooming and as a consequence it means allergy sufferers are more likely to come into contact with fur and dander.
Additionally, it means more frequent house cleaning to remove fur deposits!
Find out more: How Much Does a Ragdoll Cat Shed?
What Are the Symptoms of Cat Allergies?
Allergic reactions to cats are not the same for everyone. Some people have very mild symptoms while others have extremely severe reactions.
The quantity of allergens a person is exposed to as well as their sensitivity to them can affect how severe the reaction will be and how quickly those symptoms manifest.
The actual symptoms of cat allergies can include some or all of the following:
- Red, itchy and watery eyes
- Am itchy, stuffy and runny nose
- Facial pain or and headaches
- Skin rashes and hives
- Difficulty breathing and chest tightness
How to Reduce Ragdoll Cat Allergens
Sadly, the only way to prevent cat allergens in a home is to not have a cat. Some people who are allergic to cats may be able to live with a breed like a Ragdoll or other non-heavy shedder, but they’ll need to work on limiting their exposure to allergens.
Even though Ragdolls are single-coated they still require grooming. Ragdolls have medium to long fur that’ll require brushing just to keep it in tip-top condition let alone to reduce fur transmission throughout the home.
As a general rule, Ragdolls require daily brushing and washing every 4 to 6 weeks, though possibly even more frequently if you allow them outside (many Ragdoll cat owners keep them indoors).
However, if you have cat allergies you’ll likely need to bathe your cat at least once a week.Be warned though, like most breeds, Ragdolls don’t enjoy bathing so you’d need to get them used to the experience from kittenhood.
If you suffer from allergies, further steps to reduce allergens might be:
- Vacuuming your house regularly with a vacuum cleaner designed to combat cat fur!
- Restricting your Ragdoll’s access to all but a few rooms (though allergens will still make it into other rooms)… and never let it into your bedroom.
- Limiting direct contact with your cat and washing your hands with soap if you do.
- Run HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) cleaners in the rooms where you spend most of your time at home.
Summary: Are Ragdoll Cats Hypoallergenic?
If you’re a cat allergy sufferer and you want to avoid allergic reactions, don’t get a cat. However, if you do want a cat for your kids, then a Ragdoll might be one of the better breeds to consider.
However, as much as we might like it to be not true, Ragdoll cats are not hypoallergenic… no cat breed is.
Ragdolls don’t have the undercoat that results in more frequent shedding, but does not result in 0 allergens.
If you adhere to a regimen that reduces contact with allergens, you may still be able to live with a Ragdoll cat… but you’ll never completely eliminate the chance that your allergies will flare up.
Do you have a cat allergy but live with cats? I’d love to hear more, especially if you have a Ragdoll. Please leave a comment at the bottom of this page to tell me about it.
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