As someone who suffers from allergies, I was certainly apprehensive about buying a ragdoll cat for fear it would have me sneezing all day, every day.
If you’re reading this article, it’s likely you’re facing the same dilemma – deciding whether or not bringing a ragdoll cat into your home will cause your allergies to flare up.
The question you really want the answer to is: are ragdoll cats hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, no – ragdoll cats are not hypoallergenic, but they are considered to be one of the least allergenic long-haired breeds. Ragdolls produce lower levels of the glycoprotein Fel d 1, which is the major allergen found in cat saliva and skin glands. While ragdolls are not completely allergy-free, they may be a good option for people with mild allergies.
While I may get the odd tickle in my nostrils from time-to-time, it’s only a minor annoyance and certainly doesn’t outweigh the joys of owning a ragdoll cat – I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What does hypoallergenic mean?
The term “hypoallergenic” is often used to describe animals, or products, that are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
While there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic cat, ragdolls do produce less of the protein that is responsible for causing allergic reactions in humans than other cat breeds.
This doesn’t mean that ragdolls are completely allergy-free, but they may be a good choice for people who don’t suffer severe allergies.
If you’re considering getting a ragdoll, it’s always a good idea to spend some time around the breed first to see if you have a reaction.
A way to do this is by seeing friends or family who own ragdolls, or visiting a breeder (although, some may be reluctant to let you hold or cuddle any cats unless you’re serious about buying one).
Are ragdoll cats OK for people with allergies?
Because ragdoll cats are not a hypoallergenic breed, it means they are more likely to trigger allergies in people who are allergic to cat dander. However, regardless of this, allergic reactions to ragdolls – if there are any – are usually extremely minor and can be tolerated by people with mild allergies.
If you are someone who suffers big allergic responses to long-haired cats, it may be important to speak to a professional allergist first before buying one, to help make a fully-informed decision.
If you can’t afford to see an allergist, or don’t have the time to, below are some facts to help you decide whether or not a ragdoll cat is right for you.
5 things allergy sufferers should know about ragdoll cats
While there is no guarantee that you will not be allergic to a ragdoll cat, many people who are allergic to other breeds find that they can live happily with a ragdoll.
If you’re truly determined to get a ragdoll cat, here’s some things you should know:
1. Ragdolls are not hypoallergenic, but they are considered to be one of the least allergenic breeds.
2. Ragdolls produce lower levels of the glycoprotein Fel d 1, which is the major allergen found in cat saliva and skin glands. This means they’re less likely to trigger allergic reactions in people.
3. While ragdolls are not completely allergy-free, they may be a good option for people with mild allergies.
4. Ragdolls are a medium-haired breed, so they will shed some hair. However, they are not considered to be a high-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming.
5. Ragdolls are known for their easy-going personalities, and they typically don’t mind being brushed or groomed. This is great as it means you can limit the amount of hair being transferred into the air, or onto your furniture.
5 ways to prevent allergy reactions from ragdoll cats
If you do suffer from mild allergies but have made the decision to buy a ragdoll cat, don’t fear!
With a little effort, you can find ways to reduce your symptoms and make living with ragdolls much easier.
1. Keep them out of bedrooms
If you are allergic to cats, the best way to reduce your symptoms is preventing them from spending time where you sleep.
Try to keep them out of your bedroom and avoid letting them jump all over your sheets and pillows, as this can trigger allergic reactions while you sleep.
2. Use an air purifier
An air purifier can help to remove allergens from the air in your home – such as floating ragdoll hair or dander particles – which can reduce your symptoms.
Look for an air purifier that has a HEPA filter, as these are the most effective at capturing allergens.
3. Vacuum regularly
Vacuuming regularly can also help to reduce allergens in your home.
Ragdolls shed enough hair to require weekly cleaning – especially if you let your cat onto your couches – so again, be sure to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap as many allergens as possible.
After vacuuming, be sure to empty the bag or canister outside so that you don’t reintroduce allergens back into your home.
4. Wash bedding frequently
If you’re determined to let your ragdoll into your bedroom, and ignore point one, then make sure you wash your bedding frequently in hot water.
This will help to remove any allergens that may be left on your bedding and prevent your eyes and nose from getting itchy and interrupting your sleep.
5. Use allergy medication
There are several types of allergy medications that can help to reduce symptoms brought on by ragdoll cat hair.
These include antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays. Be sure to talk to your doctor about which type of medication is right for you.
If you’re looking for something stronger, allergy shots (immunotherapy) are another option for reducing allergies symptoms.
With this treatment, you will receive injections of gradually increasing amounts of the allergen over the course of several months.
This helps your body build up immunity to the allergen and can eventually reduce your symptoms.
Again, you should consult your doctor or medical professional before seeking this treatment.
Do ragdoll cats have a lot of dander?
All cats produce dander, but ragdolls tend to have less than other breeds. Dander is a protein found in saliva and skin glands that can cause allergic reactions. When a cat licks itself, the dander gets into the air and can trigger an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to it.
Ragdoll cats are known for having a lower level of dander.
Because of this, they are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in people who are prone to them, which is why ragdolls are one of the more popular long-haired cat breeds you can buy.
Regardless of this, it’s still important to bathe and groom your ragdoll regularly to prevent any excess build-up of dander.
So, in summary, are ragdoll cats hypoallergenic? Unfortunately, no, they’re not.
However, they are less likely to trigger allergies in people when compared to other long-haired breeds as this is because ragdolls produce lower levels of the glycoprotein Fel d 1, which is the major allergen found in cat saliva and skin glands.
Since ragdolls do not have this protein, they remain a great option for people with mild allergies.