Hypoallergenic cat breeds do exist, but some confusion lies in the meaning of the word. The prefix "hypo" simply means "less than", so cats in this category may cause less allergic reaction, and less severe symptoms than other breeds. People who have cat allergies are actually allergic to a protein that is found in the saliva, urine and glands of all cats. Hypoallergenic cat breeds appear to produce less of this irritant, and they are listed here, but many other factors and variables seem to apply. Even among the more desirable hypoallergenic cat breeds, unneutered males tend to produce allot more of this protein than neutered males, with females producing the least. Regularly bathing the cat in question seems to help some allergy sufferers as well, by reducing the saliva the cat invariably deposits on its fur while grooming. When the saliva dries it turns to dander and becomes airborne both on loose hairs and on its own. When it is breathed in, the allergic reaction is triggered. It may take days or weeks of exposure for a reaction to develop, meaning that an hour or two of sneeze-free contact with a potential kitten is not a guarantee that the future will be just as bright. Nonetheless, many happy folks have found the cats listed here to be small miracles, so check them out....(honorable mention to the Maine Coon cat, which can also be less irritating.) Special warning about breeders or companies guaranteeing a non-allergenic cat. So far, that does not exist.
Cats have been selectively bred for appearance and temperament for thousands of years no doubt starting with the first good mousers who made themselves useful in the first farmhouses. Recently all sorts of exciting varieties have been developed including several hairless breeds and some fabulous felines like the Singapura which is one of the smallest. Along with different domestic cats there are an assortment of wild cat/domestic cat crosses that add lots of spice to the mix. Exotic cats are in vogue too. Many of the varieties of cats listed here are pedigreed and recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association(CFA), the world's largest cat organization. Check them all out in our exclusive -CatStats- fact files.