The benefits of owning an emotional support animal are well documented. Anecdotal evidence and research results show us that if you suffer from an emotional or a psychological disorder, owning an ESA can help relieve your symptoms and make life a little easier to navigate. Emotional support animals – be they dogs, cats, or any pet of your choice – can, among other things, calm you, reduce your anxiety, help you in social situations, and just be there as a companion for you.
The most popular ESAs are dogs and cats, for obvious reasons. But what if you’re allergic to animals? Many people are. Well, fear not, because there are several hypoallergenic emotional support cats out there to choose from! Below we’ll take a look at some of the best hypoallergenic cat breeds and which ones might be good for your own particular condition.
Why hypoallergenic cats don’t trigger allergies
There are many benefits of choosing a cat as your ESA. But what if you have allergies? Well, you may be surprised to learn that there are actually two things that make some people allergic to cats. Most of us tend to assume it’s the fur that causes allergy problems, which indeed it can be, but more people are allergic to proteins that are secreted by the skin and are also present in a cat’s saliva. They are two different proteins: Fel d1 from the skin and Fel d4 in the saliva.
Here are our recommendations for the best hypoallergenic ESA cats that are less likely to cause either of these reactions in humans.
If you are very sensitive to cat fur, then the Sphynx cat might be the answer for you. They are hairless, so obviously there’s no fur allergy issue. The cat’s saliva can’t get trapped in its fur, because it has none! So it’s a double whammy, making the Sphynx a great ESA cat for allergy problems. As they’re fairly unique, they do require some special care, so be sure to check out their needs if you’re thinking of getting one.
Oriental cats have a very short and fine coat that hardly sheds at all, so you won’t have the worry of loose hairs around the home. Plus, the short coat means it’s less likely to trap saliva. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to give your Oriental cat a regular brush to further reduce the risk of loose hairs. They are beautiful cats, and with the smooth coat making them very pleasing to stroke, they are one of the best hypoallergenic cats to help ease anxiety.
You may be surprised to see the wonderful Russian Blue on a list of best hypoallergenic ESA cats. Their lovely coat doesn’t have any special hypoallergenic qualities, but their trump card is that they produce less Fel d1 – the protein secreted from their skin. So if you’re more allergic to this than cat fur, the Russian Blue might be the ESA of choice for you. They make very good house cats and, being a little more independent than other potential house cat breeds, they can be left on their own for a period of time. They like to bond with one person over others, and they don’t particularly like change of any sort. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or agoraphobia, or you just want a more reliable constant companion, then the Russian Blue could be one of the best hypoallergenic emotional support cats for you.
Balinese cats have the same benefits as Russian Blues, in that their skin produces less Fel d1. They are very friendly, affectionate, and playful cats, making them a good choice for a family or for a particular child to bond with. They do need more attention than a Russian Blue, so are not ideal if you need to leave them on their own for too long. They are in fact a Siamese cat with a longer coat, meaning they’re also very beautiful creatures.
Perhaps one of the less well-known cat breeds, the Cornish Rex has an unusual trait that makes it a perfect choice if you want an ESA cat but are allergic to fur. The majority of cats have three layers of fur: a top “guard” hair, a middle “awn” hair, and a bottom “down” hair. The Cornish Rex’s little secret is that it only has the bottom down hair. This makes them very soft to stroke but also means that they have a lot less fur than most cats. Less fur means less shedding, thus making this one of the top hypoallergenic emotional support cats.
You won’t be surprised to learn that the Devon Rex is akin to the Cornish Rex! The Devon Rex has the same type of coat as its counterpart: just the soft down hair. But where Devon has one over on Cornwall is that the Devon Rex has even less fur and hardly sheds at all. Certainly a contender for the best ESA cat for allergies!
Having an allergy to animals need not be a barrier to getting an ESA. Hypoallergenic cats make a good choice and, as you can see, there are several suitable breeds to choose from – so go and find your companion cat and apply with us online for a stress-free, relaxed assessment.