Are Oriental Shorthair Cats Hypoallergenic? The Ultimate Guide

Oriental Shorthair cats have lovely coats with up to 300 patterns and color combinations. Unlike their long-haired counterparts with medium-length coats, the shorthairs have short, glossy, and fine-textured coats that lie close to their bodies. However, before keeping an oriental shorthair cat, you may wonder, “Are Oriental Shorthair cats hypoallergenic?”

Oriental Shorthair cats are hypoallergenic but not 100% non-allergenic. They cause little or no allergies unless to people who are highly sensitive to cat fur, saliva, and dander. Generally, these cats shed less and produce less dander and allergy-causing proteins than most feline breeds.

Read on to find out whether Oriental Shorthair cats are truly hypoallergenic. We will also discuss this breed’s coat type, shedding levels, and the role of Fel d1 protein in causing cat allergies.

Let’s get started!

Understanding Hypoallergenic Cats

All cats produce allergens in their dander, saliva, and urine that can provoke an allergic response in some people. There are no 100% hypoallergenic cats, and 10 to 20% of people worldwide have mild to severe cat allergies.

Fortunately, even allergy sufferers can enjoy the company of feline companions if they stick to breeds considered hypoallergenic.

So, what are “hypoallergenic” cats?

Hypoallergenic cats are breeds least likely to trigger allergies in people. Breeds like the Oriental Shorthair are considered hypoallergenic because they produce fewer allergens and are more compatible with allergic owners.

The Meaning of Hypoallergenic in the Context of Oriental Shorthair Cats

Are oriental shorthair cats hypoallergenic

The Oriental Shorthair cats, like the Siberian and Balinese breeds, are considered hypoallergenic, although they are not 100% non-allergenic. 

Generally, these felines produce the least allergens and do not cause allergic reactions to most allergy sufferers, especially those not super sensitive to cat dander and saliva.

There are four main reasons Oriental Shorthair cats are perceived to be hypoallergenic and ideal for most allergy sufferers. They include:

  • Short fur
  • A low-shedding rate
  • A low rate of Fel d1 protein production
  • Generally easy-to-maintain coats

Most people, even those highly sensitive to cat allergens, don’t react to Oriental Shorthair cats. They are only at risk of flare-ups if their pets lick or rub against them excessively. 

Before bringing a new pet home, request a breeder to let you enjoy a few sittings with a potential pet. The idea is to assess your sensitivity levels before signing the dotted line. You may also want to consult your doctor, especially if you have suffered severe allergic reactions in the past. 

Find Out: 10 Cat Breeds With Long Legs: Their Personalities and Care Guide

The Role of Fel d1 Protein From Cats in Causing Allergic Reactions

All cats produce Fel d1, and Oriental Shorthair cats are no exception. This protein is found in their urine and saliva and spreads onto their coats during self-grooming sessions. 

When your furry friend produces new skin cells, it sheds the old ones, which are released into the environment as dander.

Any fur shed into the environment exposes you to Fel d1-covered hair. Fortunately, Oriental Shorthair cats are minimal shedders and only expose their owners to low levels of fur and dander. 

Most importantly, Oriental Shorthair cats produce less Fel d1 protein than other cat breeds. You also have a good chance of living happily with the breed because it doesn’t require much grooming. Although these cats can cause allergic reactions in some people, the likelihood is low.

Oriental Shorthair Breed and Allergic Reactions

In the U.S. alone, over 46 million households have cats. If you have cat allergies, merely stepping into a home with an allergenic cat can cause a severe allergy flare-up. 

Even breeds like the Oriental Shorthair cat can provoke an allergic response in some people and cause any of the following symptoms.

Allergic Reaction Category Symptoms
Nose & eyesItchy & watery eyes
Runny or stuffy nose
Facial pain and nasal congestion
Throat and nose discomfort
Rashes or hives
Redness & inflammation
Chest tightness
Shortness of breath
Asthma attacks
Cat allergic reactions

Owning an Oriental Shorthair cat doesn’t guarantee you will never experience an allergic reaction. It is common for some pet owners to experience some symptoms, especially during shedding seasons in spring and autumn.  

Fortunately, the low Fel d1 levels almost always ensure the symptoms are only mild or moderate. It is best to avoid being near an Oriental Shorthair cat if you experience severe respiratory symptoms like chest tightness.

The Breed’s Coat Type

As the name suggests, Oriental Shorthair cats have short, fine-textured coats that lie close to their bodies. Although the breed takes most of its physical traits from its Siamese heritage, you can tell it apart because it comes in an unusual array of coat colors and patterns. 

The Orientals come in virtually all hues, ranging from common colors like black and white to rare ones like lavender and ebony. Coat patterns include bi-color, tabby, smoke, shaded, and tortoiseshell, just to mention a few.

Also Read: Is Erythritol Safe for Cats? Here’s the Truth Unveiled and 5 Benefits

Why Do Oriental Shorthair Cats Produce Fewer Allergens?

Oriental shorthair cat

Oriental Shorthair cats produce fewer allergens because of the uniqueness of the sequence of their Ch1 and Ch2 genes. These are the genes that make the allergen Fel d 1. In Oriental Shorthair cats, these genes undergo several mutations to affect their levels of Fel d 1 allergenic properties.

Cats, like dogs, are notorious for spreading allergens that can impact some people’s health. The Oriental Shorthair cat, among other breeds like the Siberian and Balinese cats, is considered hypoallergenic for reasons beyond its minimal shed.

Generally, these cats have lower levels of the Fel d1 protein in their saliva, dander, and urine. The protein comprises Ch1 and Ch2 genes that mutate and alter their genetic structure. This results in reduced allergen synthesis and ultimately decreased production of Fel d1.

Do Oriental Shorthair Cats Shed a Lot?

Oriental Shorthair cats don’t shed a lot. Thanks to their Siamese heritage, they have sleek, short coats that help lower their shedding levels. Generally, the minimal shed reduces the risk of these cats eliciting an allergic reaction to persons sensitive to cat dander.

Oriental Shorthair cats have short, glossy coats, which reduces the chances of finding piles of fur around your living spaces. They are naturally a low-shedding breed that also requires less grooming.

On a scale of one to ten, where ten is the highest, the oriental Shorthair cat’s shedding level is three. Its hair length is 2/10, while its overall hypoallergenic levels are around 7/10. These scores are closely hinged on the breed’s hair type (short, glossy, and lies close to the body).

Oriental Shorthair Dander and Saliva Levels

If you sneeze and whizz when in contact with cats, you are allergic to the Fel d1 protein. It is typically present in a cat’s saliva, urine, and dander. Because felines are meticulous self-groomers, they spread the Fel d 1 protein onto their coats, and you can get an allergic reaction from exposure to cat fur.

Among the core reasons Oriental Shorthair cats are considered hypoallergenic is that they produce fewer Fel d1 proteins. On a scale of one to ten, the Fel d1 level in their saliva is at 2/10, while the Fel d1 level in their dander is also at 2/10.

Oriental shorthair cats are relatively safe for allergy sufferers because of their low Fel d1 production rate. Unless you are highly sensitive to the protein, this breed has a meager chance of triggering an allergic reaction.

Grooming and Coat Maintenance for Oriental Shorthair

Although Oriental Shorthair cats are “hypoallergenic,” they can pose a small risk of causing allergic reactions. Proper grooming and coat maintenance practices can significantly lower this risk, ensuring you can spend more time with your pet without jeopardizing your health.

Oriental Shorthair cats are low-maintenance thanks to their low-shedding, easy-to-groom silky coats. Because the fur is so short, use a bristle brush to help remove any loose fur. 

Ideally, you should brush your cat’s coat at least once weekly. An occasional bath would also be nice, and you can give your furry friend a thorough wipe-down between showers. Pay special attention to the ears and clip down the nails when they start tapping the floors.

Are you wondering how to lower the risk of allergen exposure during grooming sessions? Here are three tips that may help.

  • Use grooming gloves instead of combs or brushes
  • Wear a face mask during grooming sessions
  • As someone else to help with routine grooming

How to Manage Allergies With Oriental Shorthair Cats: 5 Tips

If you are an allergy sufferer, it is possible to enjoy the companionship of a furry friend if you stick to breeds like the Oriental Shorthair. Also, it is important to take measures to reduce the amount of allergens in your household. Your efforts will dramatically reduce your odds of suffering a flare-up.

Here are five tips that may help.

1. Know Your Limits

Rationally speaking, it is best to stay away from cats if allergic to them. However, if you love their companionship and would love to share your home with an Oriental Shorthair cat, it is important to know your limits.

A basic fact about allergens is that you must breathe them to suffer an allergic reaction. Therefore, leave tasks like grooming to a professional groomer or another family member. Also, it is best to ensure grooming sessions happen outdoors to reduce the amount of allergens left flying around your home.

2. Restrict Your Pet’s Access to Your Bedroom

Harsh as it may sound, your bedroom should be a no-go zone for your furry friend. This is just a small price to pay for ensuring you can co-exist with your pet without jeopardizing your health. Your bedroom should be an allergen-free zone where you can take a break from your cat.

Here are a few simple tricks to politely kick your cat out of your bedroom.

  •  Invest in different cat beds until you find one your pet loves
  • Keep your bedroom door closed
  • Spray some cat repellant around your bedroom
  • Teach your cat the command “No” and use it when it tries entering your bedroom

3. Up Your Home Cleaning Game

To keep cat allergies at bay, vacuum your home routinely. First, consider investing in a high-grade HEPA vacuum cleaner and use it to vacuum your floors, carpets, walls, and furniture pieces at least twice weekly. Ensure you do a thorough job of clearing out most if not all, cat allergen particles.

Secondly, ensure your home has a sound and functional central air conditioning system. Install HEPA air filters in each room your cat frequents to help you continually purify the air in your home. Don’t forget to replace your filters frequently to prevent allergens from recirculating back into your indoors.

Thirdly, use a vapor steam cleaner. The machine is quite effective at killing cat Fel d1 embedded in upholstery and carpeting. It can also help with other allergies by killing mold spores and dust mites.

4. Keep Your Cat and Its Stuff Clean

Most cats are not fans of water, and Oriental Shorthairs are no exception. Fortunately, there are pet-friendly wipes you can use to keep your furry friend clean and reduce the dander on its fur. Alternatively, you can wipe down your cat using a damp microfiber cloth.

Besides keeping up with your pet’s grooming routines, regularly clean its toys and bedding. Use a hot cycle to help eliminate any cat allergens stuck on them. Most importantly, request an allergy-free family member to help you maintain a clean litter box.

5. Wash Your Hands Often!

The last yet most important tip is to wash your hands often. Even if you were not petting your cat, any allergens on the counters or furniture can trigger an allergic reaction. You can also reduce the risk of allergen exposure by never touching your face before washing your hands.

Implementing the above tips doesn’t guarantee an allergy-free life. It is common to occasionally experience mild to moderate allergy symptoms, especially during shedding seasons. If this happens too often, talk to your doctor about allergy immunotherapy or prescription medications. 

Final Thoughts

Have you ever wondered, “Are oriental Shorthair cats hypoallergenic?” 

Well, Oriental shorthair cats are not 100% non-allergenic. However, they are least likely to provoke an allergic response because of their short fur, minimal shed, and low production of the Fel d1 protein.

Cat allergies are no fun. If you love cats and are bent on adopting one, the Oriental Shorthair is one of your best bets. Although it is not truly hypoallergenic, and you may occasionally battle allergy flare-ups, you have a good chance of enjoying the company of an enchanting furry companion and your health too!

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