Fluffballs, walking clouds, a cute mop with legs: Ragdolls have many names to describe their fluffy majesty. All this hair and sweetness is most likely bringing up an important question: Are Ragdoll cats hypoallergenic?
Sadly, as much as we wish it were true, Ragdolls are not on the list of hypoallergenic cats. However, this doesn’t mean that they will have you in a sneezing fit day in and day out. You’ll notice if you have a Ragdoll cat, allergies are unlikely to flare up.
Ragdolls are more hypoallergenic than most cats, as they do not have an undercoat (one of the main allergy causes). It is something of a contested subject, as there are differing opinions on this.
Some swear that a ragdoll cat and allergies go hand-in-hand, while other people are perfectly fine. Why is that, and what can you do if you suffer from allergies? All these questions and more will be answered below, so let’s jump in.
Are Ragdolls Hypoallergenic?
While they aren’t officially on the list of hypoallergenic cats, ragdoll cats are okay for people with allergies. When it comes to our adorable stars of the show, Raggies, they mainly cause allergies from their saliva, which unfortunately contains the Fel D1 protein. Some people are only mildly allergic and can be completely fine with Ragdolls, while others can fall into a sneezing fit as soon as they enter a Raggie’s domain.
Can Ragdolls Have Allergies?
Just like humans, ragdolls, and other cats, can develop cat allergies of their own. There are a few common categories of allergies in cats, like food, seasonal changes, fleas and ticks, and their environment.
Their environmental allergies can be things like dust, mold, and even grass. Flea bites can cause a mild allergic reaction, such as excessive scratching. While food allergies can be expressed in the form of vomiting, itchiness, or diarrhea.
If you do suspect any sort of allergies, mild or severe, it is usually a good idea to do a home cat check-up or pay a visit to your vet. They will be able to determine the nature of the reaction, as well as any potential treatment and how to keep your ragdoll cat allergy free.
What Causes Cat Allergies?
Unfortunately, allergies have many causes, and can be very severe or even fatal to some people. Allergies come into effect when a foreign substance or object enters your body, and your immune system reacts accordingly.
These foreign substances can be anything from pollen, bee venom, and dust to certain foods or even chemicals – the list is long and extensive. And, of course, some of these reasons include animals, more specifically, their hair or saliva. Most people who are allergic to cats are allergic either to their undercoat or their saliva.
So, are ragdoll cats bad for allergies?
Allergies 101 – The Undercoat
Generally speaking, cats have 2 coats of fur: the undercoat and the top coat. The undercoat is the softer, fluffier hair close to the skin that provides warmth and protection to the kitty. This is also the part of a cat’s fur that can mat quite easily, thus requiring brushing to maintain.
The top coat is made up of awn hairs and guard hairs, both serving the purpose of being the outer-main coat of the cat. The guard hairs are those coarser hairs you will see that stick out from their furry bodies. They usually determine the colors of the cat and help in keeping them dry.
The undercoat is what all the fuss is about, as this is one of the two things an allergy sufferer can be allergic to. Pet dander builds up in the undercoat (it has a flaky consistency) and is the culprit causing those red noses and swollen eyes.
It is microscopic pieces of cat skin that can become airborne and spread throughout the whole house if left unchecked.
To answer your question of “is a Ragdoll cat hypoallergenic?” No.
However, the good news is that Ragdolls don’t have an undercoat, thus minimizing/reducing this type of allergy drastically. Because of this, chances are 50-50 that a Raggie won’t trigger your allergies.
Allergies 102 – The Saliva
The other main cause of allergies from kitties is their saliva. More specifically, the proteins in it. This protein, called Fel D1, can affect allergy sufferers to varying extents. Strangely enough, some cat breeds produce more or less of this protein, often garnering a hyper- or hypoallergenic status.
Neutered and female cats also produce less protein than unaltered cats.
These proteins, combined with the dander, can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms in allergy sufferers, including:
- Sneezing and coughing
- Hay fever-like symptoms
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Asthma attacks
- Skin rashes and hives (very rare)
Ragdolls and Allergies: Is Your Ragdoll Hypoallergenic?
While you will find many different types of ragdolls, hypoallergenic ones, unfortunately, don’t exist. If you own Ragdolls, allergies shouldn’t affect you too much. In fact, if you’re looking for the best cat breeds that are hypoallergenic, ragdoll cats are a fairly good choice. They aren’t recommended if you have severe allergies, but mild allergy sufferers will be alright.
Because a Ragdoll’s saliva is what makes most people allergic to them, you might find that your allergies flare up after your cat has had a good self-grooming session. Unfortunately, cats are always grooming themselves, and it’s essential for their well-being. So, there’s no way to avoid it.
It’s always a good idea to have an allergy test before adopting a pet, especially if you have never owned a cat before. This will help to lessen the chance of any surprises when you bring your furball home.
How to Reduce Allergies From Cats
So you have a Raggie or any other cat that has stolen your heart, but you still sneeze at the sight of them. What can you do? Luckily, there are quite a few things allergy sufferers can look into to alleviate or reduce the chance of allergic reactions to cats.
Grooming – Brush That Derriere
If you have quite a negative effect coming from your kitty’s fur, regular brushing can help to reduce it. Because of their shedding, fine hairs, as well as clumps of hair, can be left all over the house, on every surface, or even float in the air.
To reduce this hair apocalypse, you can brush your Ragdoll cat often, minimizing loose and rogue hairs waiting to attack you. A good slicker brush is perfect for Ragdolls, as it reaches all the way through their long coats, ensuring you brush deeply and thoroughly.
Here’s a guide on how to groom your cat.
Healthy Cat: Healthy Human
Generally speaking, if your cat has a healthy immune system, no cat allergies, known irritants, or other health issues, it will be scratching and shaking less. This, in turn, causes less of their hair and dander to end up in and around the house, making things better for your sinuses.
Changing Up Your Home
While this may not be an option for everyone, if you can change some furniture in your house, it can also help with allergies. Specifically, any fabrics (like couches, curtains, and rugs) are allergen magnets.
They collect a variety of potentially irritating substances, not limited to just cat hair and dander, but also dust and other particles. So you either have to clean them thoroughly on a regular basis, or perhaps look towards replacing them with alternatives (leather couches, etc.)
Vacuum – Pet Hair Nemesis
Cleaning your home is, of course, a top priority to minimize any potential allergens lurking about. Vacuuming your floors and rugs is a great place to start, as hair and dander can collect in these places. Specifically, those beautiful, long-haired carpets. These are literal ground zero for unpleasantries to collect and build up.
The good news is that a pet vacuum is perfect for sorting out these allergen breeding grounds. Dustbusters and pet vacuums have special bristles and brushes to collect all the hidden pet hair your normal vac might miss. You will be shocked at the amount of hair and dirt still lurking in your carpets, trust me on this one: get a pet vacuum.
Purify the Air to Prevent Cat Allergies
Air purifiers can also be a tremendous help in removing allergens, especially those hanging around in the air. Try to get one with a HEPA filter, as they are excellent for collecting and capturing everything in the air.
Not only will this improve your allergies immediately, but you’ll probably also notice a better sleeping cycle. Gone are the nights of coughing and sneezing for three hours before bed, pop an air filter and purifier into the bedroom, and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.
As cats love rubbing themselves on absolutely everything, chances are your clothes are riddled with hair and dander. Doing your laundry regularly can eliminate this for the most part, as the washing cycle kills all allergens hiding in your clothes.
A handy lint roller can also help remove any hair sticking to your clothes while washing your hands after interacting with puss can remove any irritants that might stick to them.
Cats love to roll in the dirt a lot more than they love baths. However, it might be a good idea to get your fur child used to a regular bathing schedule. This helps to remove any dust and dirt from their coats (which can cause allergies of their own), as well as help remove dander and excess hair.
Especially during shedding season, you should bathe them often (just not too much, as it can dry out their skin). Check in with your vet on an appropriate bathing schedule for your Raggie. A nice, gentle pet shampoo will be perfect for your Ragdoll cat, to avoid drying out their skin too much.
Fun Fact: Ragdolls are one of the breeds that can like water if introduced properly. A bathtime play session might not be too far off the table!
Now that you’ve got an answer on “are ragdoll cats hypoallergenic?”, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about whether a Ragdoll cat is suitable for your home. Ragdolls are lovable kitties who need plenty of attention and cuddles, so if you do suffer from extreme allergies, you should definitely opt for a hypoallergenic cat breed instead.
While ragdoll kittens aren’t hypoallergenic, there are a few things in this guide about caring for your Raggie that might also help to reduce your cat allergy symptoms.
To ensure both you and your Ragdoll cat are happy, have a look at our awesome checklist of the best cat products.
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