Are Tabby Cats Hypoallergenic? What You Need To Know

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Tabby cats are extremely popular, and allergies will concern many would-be owners. But are tabby cats hypoallergenic?

No, tabby cats are not hypoallergenic.

Key Takeaways

  • Despite being popular and distinctive in their coat patterns, tabby cats are not hypoallergenic. They produce the Fel d1 protein in their saliva, fur, and urine, which can trigger human allergies.
  • While you can’t control the amount of Fel d1 protein your cat produces, you can limit its spread. Regular grooming, a balanced diet, and frequent cleaning of the home environment, including litter trays and bedding, can help manage allergies.
  • While no cat breed is completely hypoallergenic, some produce fewer allergens, like the Siberian cat. Hairless breeds like the Sphynx can also be a better option for those with allergies but are not entirely hypoallergenic.
  • Stress and poor nutrition can contribute to excessive shedding in cats. A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients and a calm environment can help reduce shedding and, consequently, the spread of allergens.

Table of Contents

Why Do Tabby Cats Cause Allergies?

Like all cats, Tabby cats produce the Fel d1 protein in their saliva, fur and urine. This protein is what triggers allergic reactions in humans.

As tabby cats are not a specific breed, they are no different to other cats in producing this protein. Some breeds will produce more or less than others, and may be better suited to allergy sufferers.

When cats shed fur, groom themselves and use the litter tray, they spread the Fel d1 protein around your home, which can cause allergies if you come into contact with it.

cat face and nose close up

The beautiful tabby cat is not a breed in its own right.

These cats are often referred to as tabbies for their recognisable coat patterns.

Tabby cats have different fur patterns based on the positioning of their stripes, and all of them have distinctive “M” markings on their forehead.

How do you own a cat when you’re allergic?

You cannot control how much Fel d1 protein your cat produces, but you can limit how much it spreads around your home.

One of the main ways it is spread around is by your cat shedding.

The amount your cat sheds will depend on their breed and factors such as their diet, health, the season and other reasons explained below.

Long-haired cats tend to shed less than short-haired breeds. Grooming longer-haired cats can be more challenging as their fur easily tangles.

maine coon cat

Short-haired cats tend to shed more but are much easier to groom.

Some pure-breed cats, such as Himalayan and Bengal are more likely to have genes that cause hair loss.

Others, such as Sphynx, are bred to be hairless.

There are ways in which you can try to reduce the amount your cat sheds:

Brushing Helps With Shedding

One of the best ways to reduce excessive shedding is brushing your tabby cat.

Brushing regularly removes longer hairs and ones ready to fall out anyway. This will prevent the fur from falling out on your carpet, furniture and clothing.

Cats will need brushing in different amounts depending on their breed.

Brushes We Recommend

This brush is very effective and a favourite for cats who dislike brushing. It’s a perfect size, removes a lot of fur and leaves your cat’s fur soft and fluffy.

For cats that don’t like regular brushes, these gloves can be helpful to get your cat used to being groomed.


Cats should always be fed a quality, balanced diet.

Although most readily available cat food will have a suitable balance of ingredients, it is still possible for cats to become deficient in specific nutrients. Vitamins A, E and B are necessary to produce and maintain healthy fur; when a cat does not get enough of these, they can shed more than usual.

two cats eating wet food from a bowl

All cats need plenty of protein to maintain healthy fur. Some dry foods have less protein than wet foods, which often have a higher meat content. If your cat is shedding excessively, switching to a mix of wet and dry food or entirely to wet food could improve this.

Many different food options are available, so experimenting with different ones can help find the right food for your cat to improve their coat and reduce shedding.

Stress and Shedding

If your cat is stressed, it may shed large amounts of fur in clumps.

There are many reasons your cat could be stressed, and it doesn’t always mean something is medically wrong with your cat.

Cats can become stressed from location changes. Bringing a new cat into your home can be a stressful time. Here are tips on introducing a new cat into your home. This is especially true for rescue cats with issues or troubled pasts.

Loud noises can be stressful for cats. This can include loud music, excessive traffic noise and thunderstorms. It can be helpful to try and reduce background noise if you notice your cat is shedding lots of fur.

How To Minimise Allergic Reactions?

Change clothing and bedding regularly

If your cat sleeps on your bed, then stopping this will make a big difference for allergy sufferers.

Washing and changing the bedding and your clothing often will also help.

Vacuum regularly

Removing any cat hair and other particles from your floors and surfaces will help prevent a build-up of allergens for you to come into contact with.

Clean out litter tray often

Outdoor cats may not use a litter tray, but if they do, or your cat is an indoor cat, cleaning out their litter tray often will reduce the allergens present in the area and avoid them from getting carried through the house.

Wash hands regularly

Cleaning hands often will reduce the spread of allergens onto your household items.

Use an air filter

Air purifiers remove harmful particles and flying loose hair from the air before they have a chance to settle on your clothes, furniture, or bedding.

In our view, Philips make the best air filters. The Philips 3000i continuously detects and removes allergens from the air is extremely effective with high-grade HEPA filters to remove 99.97% of airborne allergens, pollen, dust and other particles.

Philips air filters are expensive, and a more budget-friendly option would be this model from Levoit.

  • Change carpets to solid flooring

If you have a tabby cat, you’ll know that a lot of the hair they shed ends up on the floor. Carpets can hold and build up hair and other particles much easier than solid floors.

Even vacuuming often doesn’t remove all of this from the carpet easily, so while an extreme step, changing for solid floors could be an option for an allergy sufferer that wants to keep cats.

cat hair collected in carpet

If you have carpets in your home, it will seem like no matter how much you vacuum, the hair doesn’t go away!

That’s where a handheld carpet scraper comes in handy. This little tool will easily brush all of the cat hair out of your carpet so you can vacuum it up. You will be amazed at how easy it is and how much hair appears when you use it.

Read this article for more about why tabby cats shed and how to minimise it.

Are Any Cat Breeds Hypoallergenic?

No cat breed is completely hypoallergenic, but some breeds, such as Siberian cats, produce less Fel d1 protein and can be better for people with cat allergies.

There are also some breeds of cats which shed less fur than others. These can be better choices for people with allergies.

Cat Breeds Which Shed Less

Are Hairless Cats Hypoallergenic?

Some breeds of cats, such as the Sphynx, have been selectively bred to be hairless. But are these cats hypoallergenic?

sphynx cat

Like all other cats, Sphynx cats produce Fel d1 protein, but because they are hairless, they do not spread it around by shedding fur.

It is still present on their skin and saliva, so there is still a risk of allergies, but Sphynx cats can cause fewer allergic reactions than other breeds.  

Despite this, Sphynx cats are not considered to be hypoallergenic.

Final Thoughts

Tabby cats are not hypoallergenic.

Like all cats, Tabby cats produce the Fel d1 protein in their saliva, fur and urine. This protein is what triggers allergic reactions in humans.

As tabby cats are not a specific breed, they are no different to other cats in producing this protein.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which cat is the most hypoallergenic?

The Siberian cat is considered the most hypoallergenic cat breed, but no cat is completely hypoallergenic.

Are short-haired tabbies hypoallergenic?

Short-haired tabby cats are not considered hypoallergenic, as the protein in cat saliva and dander causes allergies, not the length of their hair.

Why are tabby cats so special?

Tabby cats are special because they have a distinctive coat pattern that can vary widely, from classic tabby stripes to spots or swirls. They also come in various colours and are known for their affectionate and outgoing personalities.

Are Bengal tabby cats hypoallergenic?

Bengal cats are not considered hypoallergenic, as they produce the same allergens as other cat breeds.

Can I get a cat if I’m allergic?

It is possible to get a cat if you are allergic, but it is important to know that there is no guaranteed way to eliminate the risk of an allergic reaction. Some people find they can live with cats without issues, while others may need to take certain precautions or consider alternative pets.

Can you live with a cat if you are allergic?

It is possible to live with a cat if you are allergic, but it may require taking certain precautions, such as keeping the cat out of certain rooms or using air purifiers. Some people also find relief from allergy medications or allergy shots.

What is the lifespan of a tabby cat?

Tabby cats can have a lifespan of anywhere from 12 to 20 years, depending on various factors such as their diet, exercise, and overall health.

What are the 4 types of tabby cats?

The four most common types of tabby cats are classic tabby, mackerel tabby, spotted tabby, and ticked tabby. Classic tabbies have bold swirls on their sides, mackerel tabbies have thin stripes, spotted tabbies have round or oval spots, and ticked tabbies have a more uniform coat with no distinct pattern.

What is the friendliest cat breed?

There are many cat breeds known for their friendly and affectionate personalities, including the Ragdoll, Siamese, Maine Coon, and Sphynx, among others. However, it’s important to note that every cat has its unique personality, and friendliness can vary widely, even within the same breed.

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