With the growing popularity of the Savannah cat breed, combined with their marked differences in personality and appearance from other cat breeds, there are plenty of people interested in owning one (or more!) of these unique cats. whether it’s their loyal and curious personalities or reports that Savannah cats are more allergy-friendly than other cats, there are plenty of reasons to want one. But are Savannah cats hypoallergenic?
Savannah cats are widely considered to be mostly hypoallergenic. It is still possible to have an allergic reaction to Savannah cats, but the chances are slightly lower. You’ll likely experience a less severe reaction to a Savannah cat than you would to other cat breeds. No cat breed is entirely hypoallergenic.
All cats have some level of allergens; there is no such thing as an allergen-free cat. That’s because the allergy is a reaction to a specific protein in cat cells, and all cats create some amount of that protein. Some cats are considered hypoallergenic because they either produce less of that protein, shed the allergen less in their fur and dander, or a combination of those traits.
Do Savannah Cats Shed?
Savannah cats are considered a low-shedding cat. That means that they are less likely to shed a ton of hair while grooming themselves, and also less likely to need regular brushing from you. However, they do still shed.
If you have allergies, you should expect your cat to shed more (and therefore release more allergens) anytime the weather is changing significantly, especially if the temperature inside your home also changes.
Cats are also more prone to shedding when they are stressed or if they are growing. Savannah cats have a long growth period so that you can expect this shedding for the first two years, and they’ll continue shedding a little more if they are bored or stressed by their home environment.
Fortunately, Savannah cat hair isn’t tough to clean up. It’s generally shorter and smoother than many breeds, which makes it less likely to cling to furniture and cleaning tools, and it is easier to wipe off flat surfaces as well.
Can You Live With A Cat If You Are Allergic?
Absolutely. Many people have cats despite a cat allergy, and you have a lot of options for managing your allergy. We’ll talk a little more about management strategies, but there are some things you should consider first if you’re thinking about adopting a cat despite an allergy.
The first thing you should know is that your allergic reaction will decrease over time. The allergy itself won’t go away, but the longer you live with your cats, the less likely you are to react to allergens.
That’s because an allergic reaction is essentially an overreaction from your immune system. As your body gets used to the presence of your cat’s specific allergens, it will seem less and less reason to react.
If you have a relatively mild reaction, you may stop reacting to your cats entirely within a few months.
Even with a more severe allergy, your reactions should begin to calm down within a month of living with your new feline companion and will continue to decrease so long as you don’t spend more than a week or two away from your cat (and their dander).
There are also allergy shots and other methods of managing your allergy directly, without trying to control the allergens. Those solutions are usually only recommended for people with relatively severe allergies, though because they require constant treatment.
You can’t get a single shot like a vaccine; you need to get them regularly to continue benefiting from the treatment.
What Are the Best Cats For Someone With Allergies?
Savannah cats aren’t necessarily the best hypoallergenic cats out there and aren’t legal in every state. So, here are some other cat breeds that are also hypoallergenic and might be a better choice depending on your situation.
Of course, no cat should be chosen simply because they are hypoallergenic. It would be best if you considered breed personality, energy levels, and care needs before adopting a new cat. While most cat breeds have fewer genetic health problems than purebred dogs, there are still some genetic problems that crop up in some cat breeds.
While responsible breeding practice helps reduce the chances of getting a cat with a genetic problem, you should do your research to make sure you know ahead of time if your chosen breed has any common genetic disorders.
Balinese cats produce less of the allergen protein than other cats. So, despite a relatively thick and luxurious coat, they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
These cats have a very short coat and usually produce very little dander. You should still groom them to reduce allergen buildup further.
If you’re looking for a cuddly but low allergen cat, Devon Rex cats fit the bill. They have very short, thin hair, which naturally reduces allergen buildup with little effort.
Sphynx cats are a hairless breed that has long been considered one of the best hypoallergenic cats. They still have patterns on their skin, and it’s less loose than some breeds, making them an attractive cat. They aren’t allergen-free, though, and will need baths to help with the oils on their skin.
Siberian cats are a good option if you’re looking for a medium longhair that’s still relatively hypoallergenic. Their secret is lower enzyme levels in their saliva, which means fewer allergens are on their coats when they groom. Regular grooming and lightly washing their thick coats can help reduce allergens even further.
There are many other hypoallergenic cats out there. This is far from a complete list, so don’t get discouraged if none of these options appeal to you immediately.
Tips For Managing Cat Allergies
Here are a few things you can do to help manage your allergies so that you and your cat can still have a long, loving relationship.
Close Your Bedroom Doors
One of the first things you should do, especially if you have a moderate to severe cat allergy, is to close your bedroom door. While it might be helpful to cuddle your cat in bed, your body will thank you for the break from your cat’s allergens.
You’ll feel and sleep better if you aren’t dealing with cat dander overnight.
Vacuum Your Furniture Regularly
Another critical step is to build a habit of vacuuming your furniture regularly. Please pay particular attention to your cat’s favorite resting spots since they will probably have the most dander.
Try to vacuum your furniture at least as often as you vacuum your carpeting. This can be one of the single most effective tools for allergy management with cats.
Use a Damp Washcloth To Wash Off Your Cat
Another trick is to use a damp washcloth to wipe down your cat’s fur gently. Many cat allergens start in your cat’s saliva and get deposited on their fur while they groom. If you wash your cats’ fur off, you’ll help remove some of those allergens and prevent them from building up.
Consider a HEPA Filter
If you have a more severe allergy, you may want to invest in a HEPA air filter or two. These will help pull the allergens directly out of the air, letting you breathe easier and reducing the allergen count of your whole home.
Final Things To Consider
In Savannah cats, it’s not entirely clear what combination of traits makes them relatively hypoallergenic cats. Likely there is some genetic component because many breeders have noticed that Savannah cats with a higher percentage of Serval genes (F1 and F2 Savannah cats) seem to be better choices for cat owners with allergies.
However, Savannah cats have relatively smooth, short coats, so their allergy friendliness may also be related to their skin and coat type.
Despite Savannah cats being considered a hypoallergenic cat, it’s essential to contact your breeder for a visit or two before you decide to bring a Savannah kitten home. Not only can you make sure you don’t react, or only have a mild reaction, to your Savannah kitten, your breeders home is also likely to have higher allergen counts.
By visiting a breeder’s home to see your cat, you not only solidify your bond but also have a chance to see how your allergy deals with Savannah cat allergens.