Here’s the deal:
In the United States, around 3 out of 10 people are allergic to both cats and dogs. Why are these people allergic? Dander.
So, do Bengal cats have dander? The short answer is yes. However, these cats tend to have much less dander than other breeds, allowing them to join the list of breeds that can be termed as being “almost” hypoallergenic.
How are these cats more hypoallergenic than others? Let’s discuss this below:
Do Bengal Cats Have Dander?
As we have settled above that the main culprit of allergic reactions is dander, let’s get into more detail as to what dander really is and how it causes an allergy.
What is Dander?
Dander is a term used to describe microscopic bits of dried cat skin and cat saliva. This dander builds up when a cat licks its coat that transfers their saliva to their hair.
Once dander is on their hair, the dander travels wherever the cat goes. It can get trapped in rugs, carpets or even beds if your cat lays there.
However, the more serious problem is that the dander easily becomes airborne as your cats run around the house. And through the air, the allergens travel to humans which is what mostly causes an allergic reaction.
How does dander cause an allergic reaction?
The main cause of an allergic reaction isn’t actually dander itself, but a protein found within the dander called Fel-D1.
This protein is found within the cat’s saliva and its skin that causes an allergic reaction when humans come in contact with dander.
When a person comes in contact with these Fel-D1 particles, the body sees them as intruders and as a result, the immune system launches a chemical known as histamine. This chemical causes inflammation and typically results in a runny nose, congestion, rashes, itchy eyes and hives. People with a more severe allergy might also suffer from an asthma attack.
Dander-related allergies are more common during seasons when the Bengal cat sheds more often. More shedding results in more frequent contact with the allergens such as hair that can trigger an allergic reaction.
Why is the Bengal cat more hypoallergenic?
Bengal cats, like all other cats, have the Fel-D1 protein in their saliva and skin as well. However, they produce much more infrequent allergic reactions than other breeds.
Although there has been no research on why Bengal cats produce fewer allergic reactions, there are three possible explanations for this case:
- They might produce lesser Fel-D1: One explanation for this is that Bengal cats simply produce less Fel-D1 protein. This would cause fewer allergens to travel to humans and cause allergic reactions.
- Their Fel-D1 protein may be different: Because Bengal cats are basically a hybrid between Asian leopard cats and domestic cats, the chemical structure or composition of their Fel-D1 protein could be different that would have a much lesser chance of causing an allergic reaction.
- Bengal cats shed less often: The coat of the Bengal cat is different from other cats. They have one single layer of pelt that requires much less grooming than other cats with a normal coat.
Therefore, the Bengal cat grooms its coat less often and the transfer of the allergen to the hair is minimized. This reduces the spreading of dander throughout the house which eventually causes less frequent allergies.
Can allergic people keep Bengal cats?
From the above information, we can easily assume that Bengal cats are actually some of the best breeds for people who are allergic to cats.
Tips to Reduce the Spread of Dander
For people who are extra-sensitive to cat allergens, here are some helpful tips you can follow to decrease the spread of dander in your house and your chances of getting an allergy:
Give your Bengal cat a weekly bath
Because the allergens travel through your cat’s hair, giving them a bath once a week will ensure that your cat does not overly shed around the house. This will greatly reduce the spread of dander throughout the house.
But make sure that you bathe your cat only once a week and not more than that because frequent bathing can dry out your cat’s skin.
Try to keep them off the furniture
Bengal cats are an active breed and tend to climb on furniture, beds, and couches.
When they leave, the dander sticks to your bed and furniture which, when you use, causes an allergic reaction. Thus, it is important to keep them off of these areas.
How do you do that?
Give the cat lots of space to play, then place a cat tree and a bed for the cat. Once they have their own place to play, they won’t bother invading your space.
Another option would be to buy a hypoallergenic mattress and pillow cover because you are most likely to catch allergens through these two items.
Get a HEPA air purifier
An HEPA air purifier works by removing airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and pet dander.
An HEPA air filter is a great option for people who are more likely to get an allergic reaction from airborne allergens.
The Personality of Bengal Cats
If you are someone who is willing to give your cat attention 24/7, the Bengal cat is perfect for you.
Not only do these cats love to constantly interact with their owners, they demand entertainment at all times whether in the form of a human, toys or another pet.
Bengal cats tend to be very active creatures that love to climb. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to have an indoor cat tree ready beforehand. These cats also like to play with water and enjoy taking a bath.
Before you get a Bengal cat, you should be able to provide it with lots of attention.
These cats are also extremely intelligent and love to have their brains challenged. You can teach them several tricks, as well as play games such as fetch. Bengal cats also tend to be very intrigued by puzzles.
Health Concerns in Bengal Cats
Bengal cats have the same potential of developing genetic disease as any other cat.However, there are some certain diseases that their breed is more susceptible to. These include:
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This particular disease which is simply known as HCM, causes the muscular walls of the heart to thicken.
A cat suffering from HCM will usually show signs such as rapid breathing and lethargy.
HCM can usually be detected through an echocardiogram. A vet will run this test on your cat to reveal if your cat is suffering from this disease or not.
In some extreme cases, cats with HCM may suddenly die, therefore it is important to never completely rule its possibility out. Get your kitten tested and make sure that neither of its parents suffered from it.
The only way to do that is to buy your cat from a breeder who can provide you with a health certificate and justify a healthy lineage of the cat that you’re purchasing.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: PRA is a disease that affects the Bengal cat’s retina. This disease slowly progresses, eventually leading to blindness. Because there are no current tests to prove that your cat is suffering from PRA, you should see that both parents are free from this disease and their lineage does not have any cat that suffered from PRA.
Apart from these two common diseases, Bengal cats are free from other serious health complications.
Grooming and Care
Because of their short and (almost) single coat, Bengal cats don’t require grooming very often.
To maintain their coat, brush their hair every once in a while, to remove dead hair and to spread the oils in their skin.
Although a bath is rarely required, these cats love playing with water and would appreciate a bath.
Take care of their ears and clean off any dirt and grime that builds up with a slightly damp cloth.
When their nails grow too long, gently trim off the tips of their nails. Also, try to keep their litter box clean to further maintain good hygiene.
What is the lifespan of a Bengal cat? A Bengal cat can live up to 14-16 years of age like most domestic cats.
How much does a Bengal cat cost? Bengal cats do not come cheap, and a single kitten can cost anywhere from $600 upwards of $10,000 depending on the gender and pedigree. Therefore before you plan on getting one, make sure you can accommodate one in your house and keep it happy.