Are British Shorthair Cats Hypoallergenic?

Cats are strange, to be honest. They are fluffy, loveable and all around cute. But there is trouble lurking in their fur — trouble for people who are extremely allergic to cats. So there is an ever growing search for a supposedly “Hypoallergenic” cat. A cat that is absolutely allergen free. British shorthair cats are a prime candidate for being hypoallergenic.

Now the question here is this:

Are British shorthair cats truly hypoallergenic? To put it plainly, British shorthair cats are not hypoallergenic. You might think or have been wrongly led to believe that they are.

After hearing this some of you might ask:

What do you mean they are not hypoallergenic? I read that they were.

Well, let’s debunk the myths and reveal what is truly the case. Read on to find out everything you need to know about British shorthair cats and how they fit in this whole hypoallergenic scene.

British Shorthair cats and the myths of being Hypoallergenic

I have already said that British shorthair cats aren’t hypoallergenic. But what do I mean when I say a cat is or is not hypoallergenic? And where did this even come from?

When I say the British Shorthair cats are not Hypoallergenic, it means that they cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to cat fur. Ordinarily, people who are allergic to cats get an allergic reaction, and they start showing symptoms of an allergy.

Symptoms like:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting

British Shorthair cats have been repeatedly labeled as being hypoallergenic. This means that they do not cause an allergic reaction. As much as I hope it was true, I am sad to say that this is a myth. If I am perfectly honest, there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat. Some cats might cause less of a reaction than the others, but there is no cat that doesn’t cause one. Same is the case for the British Shorthair cats. So don’t buy into this myth and save yourself a lot of trouble.

As for the myth itself, it apparently originated when a company tried to create a genetically modified cat who would have been hypoallergenic. And they used the British Shorthair as their first test subject. People didn’t take too long to create a myth out of thin air. The whole reason why people believed in this myth is because of the fact that the British Shorthair cats have shorter hair than most other breeds. Shorter hair means less fur, and you can easily figure out where this all ended up.

And lo and behold, British Shorthairs are hypoallergenic.

The main takeaway here is this:

No cat is hypoallergenic and doesn’t believe in everything you read on the internet.

What makes cats allergic?

Cats are furry creatures. Most of the cat breeds have an ample amount of fur on their body. When a cat cleans itself, the Dander and Saliva get on its fur. The saliva and dander have a Protein called Fel d1. And whenever you brush your cat, you get in contact with its fur which puts you at risk of an allergic reaction. This protein is the main reason why you get a reaction from your cat.

There is nothing anyone can do about this protein. Fel d1 is found in every cat on this planet. It’s a naturally occurring substance. Therefore there is only one thing you can do here, and that is to make sure you know how to shield yourself from this protein.

Things you can do to avoid an allergic reaction

There are a number of things you can do to prevent having an allergic reaction from your cat. And almost all of these come down to this:

How clean is your house?

You see, cats shed.  A British Shorthair may have shorter fur, but its fur is thick, and therefore it sheds quite a lot. The main thing you need to do here is to get rid of this fur as soon as possible and with minimal contact. The more it lurks in your house, the higher the chance of an allergic reaction.

You can take the following steps to avoid getting affected by the fur:

  • Brush your cat twice a week. I can’t stress this enough. Brushing is absolutely essential for your cat. It not only makes your cat feel great but it also helps you get rid of all the fur which would, otherwise, find its way all-around your house.
  • Get a good vacuum cleaner. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter cleans your house while also making sure it filters out all the tiny particles. This proves to be a great way of keeping the spread of allergens under control.
  • Keep an air purifier in your bedroom. You need to get quality sleep, and allergens can get in the way of that. Therefore invest in a quality air purifier. An air purifier in your bedroom is much more than an accessory. It is a necessity for people who are allergic and yet can’t give their cats away.
  • And last but not the least, use a mask whenever you are cleaning your house or are brushing your cat. I don’t need to tell you how important it is for people with allergies.

If you practice the things mentioned above, the number of allergic reactions you get would be lowered quite significantly. But in the event that none of it helps, don’t lose hope and meet up with your doctor to discuss an allergy shot. Allergy shots aren’t the first choice, but in severe cases, it’s either that you don’t take the shots or lose the cat. And we both know we aren’t going to lose our cats. So shots it is.

How to make your house allergen free?

It is a known fact that allergens build up gradually. It can take quite a while for an allergen to reach a level that induces an allergic reaction.

But here’s the catch:

It takes just as long to get rid of them.

Making sure your house remains allergen free requires you to take some precautions from day one. First and foremost, make your room a no-go area for your cat. This includes not taking your cat in your room and not allowing it to enter it either. Doing this will make sure that your room stays allergen free, and you can sleep easily without having to worry about allergies and such.

Secondly, bath your cat whenever possible. I know cats don’t like baths, and most of them will actively resist it. But it is necessary in this case. Washing removes dead cells from a cat’s fur. This way your British Shorthair won’t be spreading any allergens around the house.

And lastly, whenever you come in contact with your cat, wash your hands afterward and if it is not too much trouble, change your clothes too.

Follow these tips, and I am sure the allergen levels would be kept to a minimum.

Related Questions

Are short-haired cats better for allergies?

This is one of those things that are true but not entirely. Generally, shorter hair means less chance of spreading fur, which means low levels of allergens in the house. But the level of allergens a cat spreads also depends on its genetic qualities and its overall hygiene. So, short-haired cats like the British Shorthair may look as though they don’t spread as much allergen around, but in reality, there really isn’t much of a difference. After all, it all comes down to an individual’s household and his cat.

Do cat allergies go away?

For the most part, allergies can change a little overtime. An individual can develop tolerance to these allergies as time goes on. In addition to increased tolerance, there are quite a lot of cases where the individuals actually outgrew their allergies. So yes, cat allergies can go away with time.

Can Cat Allergies Be Cured?

Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for cat allergies. You can get allergy shots for increased tolerance, but the allergy itself never fully goes away. The only thing you can do is to take precautions and take proper medication after consulting with your physician.

Can you die from a cat allergy?

For the most part, a cat allergy won’t kill you. If you get an allergic reaction, you will develop mild symptoms, and that’s it.  But in more severe cases, a person can develop a condition called Anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life threating.

What gets rid of dander?

There are a few things that you can do:

  • Dust your house regularly
  • Wipe surfaces such as wood furniture with a damp cloth
  • Regularly do laundry especially after coming in contact with your cat
  • Use air purifiers in living spaces like your bedroom
  • Get a vacuum with a HEPA filter
  • Use anti-dander shampoo on your cat
  • Make sure your house is adequately ventilated, and there is ample airflow
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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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