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Cats that don’t shed

The athletic Sphynx is one of many cats that don't shed.

The athletic Sphynx has plenty of personality, but needs to be monitored for body temperature because it has so little fur.

Cats that don’t shed

By Mary Van Doren on February 01, 2018

There are plenty of cats that don’t shed for feline fans to choose from

You love cats, but you’re allergic. Or you might just be a cleanliness fanatic. Either way, you’d rather not spend hours vacuuming endless clumps of fur out from under the sofa, sneezing uncontrollably and going through a year’s worth of lint removers in a couple of weeks.

Take heart! There are not only many breeds of cats that don’t shed, but these breeds offer a wide variety of characteristics that are sure to make you and the cat happy companions for many years.

First of all, you should know that it’s not a cat’s fur that causes allergic reactions in some people – it’s certain proteins in cat dander and saliva. Dander consists of dead skin cells that fall from the cat’s body. And saliva, of course, is what you get when Fluffy decides to express affection by licking you the way her mother licked her as a kitten.

Unfortunately, as Dr. Deb, a Certified Veterinarian Expert on JustAnswer, explains, “All evidence to the contrary, there really aren't any ‘true’ hypoallegenic breeds of cats. We know that those humans allergic to cats are typically responding to a protein known as Fel d 1 secreted by sebaceous glands and Fel d 4 which is present in cat's saliva.”

Luckily, some cats do produce less of these proteins, making them a good bet for households where people have cat allergies. And quite a few of them are on the list below of cats that don’t shed, so take heart!

Meanwhile, cats that don’t shed can truly be a blessing if you just don’t want to be inundated with fur everywhere or committed to hours of grooming every week.
 

A few things to know about cats that don’t shed

Cats in general have three types of body covering: the guard and awn, which are furry, outer layers, and down, which is the fine layer closest to the skin. Cats that shed a lot have all three layers.

Cats that are “hairless” actually do have hair, but it’s just one layer, the fine down layer. Some people say these cats feel like fine suede when you touch them!

The most important thing to know about these “hairless” cats is that because they lack a heavy coat of fur, they’re susceptible to the cold and the resulting respiratory ailments. If you want to adopt a hairless cat, be prepared to spend extra time and attention in keeping it warm. Of course, this does tend to mean that such cats are fond of snuggling their humans, which is always a bonus!

“Hairless” cats also have very delicate skin because it’s mostly unprotected by a heavy coat, which means you may also run into skin problems, especially if the cat engages in excessive grooming.

Other cats that don’t shed have one or two layers in some combination. This allows you to choose a cat that might actually look light it sports a luxuriant fur coat, while still being relatively low-shedding.

These cats don’t shed a lot because the shed fur is caught in the outer layers of fur. That means you’ll have to do at least some brushing and grooming to remove the old fur and keep your cat’s coat healthy.

There are even low-shedding cats with not just longer fur, but beautifully-patterned fur, such as the Bengal and LaPerm. In fact, the LaPerm is noted for its wild and crazy coat that makes it look as if it just stepped out of the dryer!
 

Choosing the right cat

Many of the low-shedding cats are Asian in origin, and, like their talkative Asian brother, the Siamese, can be quite vocal with their humans. These include the Japanese Bobtail (notable for – as you’d expect from the name – its short tail) and the Balinese.

Most of these cats are affectionate, though some are more likely to bond with one human or family, and be shy around strangers. Some are quite intelligent and/or playful, often described by breeders as having a sense of humor!

In addition, most of these cats get along well with other cats and even other pets. You’ll see some that are known for their ability to get along with children, though no matter how good-natured the cat, be sure your children don’t get carried away, or you risk having the cat develop an aversion to children anyway.

Some cats also are so affectionate that they don’t tolerate being left alone all day, contrary to what we expect of felines.

In short, you can consult the chart below and related photos to find exactly the right cat for you. Be sure to check the notes at the bottom for any trait that has ¢with a number. 

Even if cats that don’t shed aren’t always the answer to allergies, many of them make the perfect companion for many other reasons!  

Cats that don't shed

 

        

No fur

Some fur but low shedding

Lots of fur but low shedding

Low dander

Affectionate to family

Sociable outside family

Like a dog / playful

Good with children & other pets

Vocal

Unusually small

Unusually large

Unusually intelligent

Will overeat if not monitored

Sphynx

¢1

 

 

n

n

 

 

 

 

 

 

n

 

Donskoy

¢2

 

 

 

n

 

 

n

 

 

 

n

 

Cornish Rex

 

n

 

n

n

n

 

 

 

n

 

 

 

Peterbald

n

 

 

 

¢3

n

 

 

 

n

 

n

 

Javanese

 

n

 

n

n

n

 

 

 

 

 

 

n

Devon Rex

 

n

 

n

n

 

n

 

 

 

 

¢14

n

Burmese

 

n

 

n

¢4

n

n

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exotic Shorthair

 

n

 

 

¢5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonkinese

 

n

 

 

n

n

¢6

 

 

 

 

n

 

Bengal

 

n7

 

n

n

 

 

 

n

 

 

 

 

Russian Blue

 

n

 

n

¢8

 

 

 

 

 

 

n

 

Oriental

 

n

 

n

n

n

 

¢9

 

 

 

 

 

Siamese

 

n

 

n

n

¢10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese Bobtail

 

n

 

 

n

n

n

 

n

 

 

¢11

 

Siberian

 

 

n

n

n

n

n

 

 

 

n

 

 

Colorpoint Shorthair

 

n

 

n

¢12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Korat

 

n

 

 

n

 

 

 

 

 

 

¢13

 

Birman

 

 

n

 

n

 

 

n

 

 

 

n

 

Bombay

 

n

 

 

n

n

n

n

 

 

 

 

 

Turkish Angora

 

 

n

 

n

 

 

 

 

 

 

n

 

LaPerm

 

 

n

 

n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balinese

 

 

n

n

n

n

n

n

n

 

 

 

 

  NOTES

  1. Because there is so little hair to absorb body oils, this cat will need regular baths to remove the oil.
     
  2. The skin of the Donskoy is hot to the touch, and the high body temperature of the Donskoy helps it to avoid some of the respiratory diseases that affect the Sphynx. Donskoys actually sweat, just like humans.
     
  3. This is a cat that seeks out human companionship and does best when someone is home during the day.
     
  4. Burmese are social, playful cats, but don't like to be left by themselves.
     
  5. Exotic Shorthairs are very close to their owners and become sometimes upset if they can't hear or see a sign of their human friends.
     
  6. Tonkinese cats are social and intelligent, but get bored easily if nobody is around to play with them.
     
  7. These cats are not prone to too much grooming, so the protein allergen in the cat’s saliva will not be spread around.
     
  8. This cat is quite gentle, but is sometimes shy around loud noises or people it doesn’t know. It is slow to form bonds, but when it does, it bonds tightly with its human friends. Russian Blues are Intelligent, attentive, and trainable.
     
  9. This cat is equally comfortable with people or cats.
     
  10. They are friendly and like people, but most Siamese cats choose one person to be their best friend for life. Siamese cats like to hang out with both people and other cats.
     
  11. The breed is both intelligent and social, and can learn tricks and tasks like dogs.
     
  12. They love to follow their friends around the house, but tend to be nervous around strangers or unusual noises.
     
  13. Korats are brilliant and prefer having a few close friends to being social with anyone who walks in the door. They have a strong will and are not easy to train, but it can be done if they trust and respect you.
     
  14. This breed is trainable and bonds tightly with its family. 

What’s your favorite breed of cat that doesn’t shed? Please share your opinion with us in the comments below.