If you suffer from cat-related allergies, you’re likely looking for a hypoallergenic cat. But are ragdoll cats hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, ragdolls are not hypoallergenic. Though ragdolls have fluffy fur, they do not possess an undercoat as most domesticated cats do. Because of this, ragdolls have been known to shed less. However, most people who suffer from cat allergies are allergic to a cat’s saliva and dander.
Allergies are complicated, and there’s more to this answer than the simple explanation provided above. So if you’re curious about how cat allergies work and how to care for a long-haired cat like a ragdoll, keep reading!
Are ragdolls a good breed for people with cat allergies?
This is likely a better question than whether or not a ragdoll cat is hypoallergenic, as avoiding triggers like cat saliva and skin is basically impossible when you have a cat at home. However, some cats are more allergy-friendly than others. Is the ragdoll one of them?
Yes! Ragdoll cats get their reputation for being “hypoallergenic” due to their lack of undercoat, which means they shed less often. In fact, many long-haired cats have been known to be better choices for those who suffer from allergies because the long, thick fur keeps allergic skin proteins in more efficiently than a short-haired cat.
How can I reduce allergic reactions in my home?
With proactive prevention, it’s possible to have a cat in your home even if you have mild allergies. Here are a few tips to keep allergens down at home:
- Brush your cat regularly. Take some allergy meds before getting to it, because brushing your cat’s fur will likely release dander into the air. However, the trade-off is worth it because your cat will be cleaner and more comfortable afterwards! It also helps gather up loose hair to prevent shedding at home, which reduces the level of dander in the environment.
- Vacuum. If you’ve been wondering whether or not that fancy pet hair vacuum is worth it, now’s the time to find out! Allergens can stick in the environment for a long time, and regularly vacuuming loose hair and dust from your environment can do a world of good for an allergy sufferer.
- Don’t let your cat sleep in your bed. Though it may be tempting to cuddle your kitty at night, the fur and dander in your bed will interrupt your sleep in the end!
- Wash your hands. After interacting with your cat, it’s a good idea to wash your hands, especially before touching sensitive areas like your face or eyes. Even if your allergies or mild, exposure to your mucus membranes can trigger an uncomfortable allergic reaction!
- Wash your cat’s bed and toys. Anywhere your cat hangs out deserves special attention, including beds, pillows, or rugs. Wash these items regularly to remove dander and extra fur. If your cat has washable fabric toys, go ahead and throw those in, too! This will remove allergens so you can get back to playtime.
- Get an air filter. A good air filter can remove tiny allergens from the air in your home, producing fresher, cleaner air for you and your cat. If your pet also has allergies, this can be a double-whammy!
Do I need to brush my ragdoll?
Yes! Like any long-haired breed, ragdolls need regular brushing. Brushing your cat ensures they have a healthy, tangle-free coat, allowing them to feel more comfortable and more easily groom themselves.
Pay attention to spots like the belly (your cat may not like this, but give it a try!) and between the legs and armpits – mats are more likely to form in these hard-to-reach zones. If you’re a proactive groomer, you can prevent the formation of uncomfortable tangles that need to be cut or shaved out.
Mats can also pinch your cat’s skin and cause pain or discomfort. If the mat has been present over a long period, infections can form on the skin beneath the fur.
How often should I brush my ragdoll?
Though ragdolls require less frequent brushing than other long-haired breeds due to their single coat, you should still brush your ragdoll cat at least twice a week.
What causes cat allergies?
For those who suffer from allergies, an allergic response is triggered by exposure to particular proteins. For most cat-related allergies, these proteins are found in cat saliva and dander (skin particles).
When your body comes into contact with these proteins, your immune response attacks them, as it interprets these as something dangerous. This immune response causes common allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, swollen eyes, and hives.
Because the protein responsible for most cat allergies is present in saliva and skin particles (things you can’t avoid in a cat!), it’s basically impossible to have a truly hypoallergenic cat, even if they don’t have any hair at all!
Are cat allergies common?
Definitely! Allergies to cats are quite common. In fact, cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies!
The reason these allergies are more common has to do with the size and shape of the protein molecule that causes them – the feline FelD1 protein is about one-tenth the size of a dust allergen. It can stay airborne for hours, easily making it ubiquitous in your environment.
The protein is also incredibly sticky, causing it to stay on human skin for longer periods of time. This is also why handwashing after handling cats is important!