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Is a Bombay Cat Hypoallergenic? Vet-Reviewed Allergy Facts & Tips

Bombay cats are not considered hypoallergenic. While no cat breed is truly hypoallergenic, some breeds are known to produce fewer allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive to cat allergens. These reactions are typically caused by a protein called Fel d 1, which is found primarily in a cat’s saliva. However, cats make lots of different proteins and all of these can cause allergic reactions. There are at least 10 such proteins which have been identified that can be found in a cat’s saliva, urine, skin, and fur.

Although the Bombay cat has a short and glossy coat, which may result in fewer allergens being released into the environment, it does not guarantee that individuals with allergies will not experience a reaction.

Allergies can vary from person to person, and some individuals may still react to the proteins produced by the Bombay cat. If you have allergies, it is recommended to spend time with a Bombay cat or consult with a doctor before bringing one into your home to see if you have any allergic reactions.

Exactly the kind of cat you’re allergic to can also vary. Sometimes, you may react more strongly to a male or female cat. The same can be said for breeds of cats. Even if we don’t completely understand it yet, those with allergies can sometimes react strongly to certain breeds and hardly at all to others.

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What Makes a Cat Hypoallergenic?

All cats produce proteins. It’s these proteins that cause allergic reactions. Therefore, all cats can technically cause allergy symptoms in some cases.

No cat breed is completely hypoallergenic. The primary allergen responsible for cat allergies is a protein called Fel d 1, which is found primarily in cat saliva.

“Hypoallergenic” cats may produce lower levels of this protein or have different coat properties that reduce the spread of allergens. There are several breeds that may anecdotally produce fewer of certain proteins than other breeds. These cats can potentially cause milder signs or be more tolerable for individuals with allergies.

However, Bombay cats do not fall into this category.

overweight bombay cat
Image Credit: rodrigocswm, Pixabay

Are Any Cat Breeds Hypoallergenic?

There are some cat breeds that are considered hypoallergenic—usually because they aren’t considered to be heavy shedders, or anecdotal evidence suggests they may produce fewer allergens. The breeds that most commonly fall into this category are the Balinese, Russian Blue, and Siberian. They may produce fewer allergens than other felines, which may lead to fewer allergy signs for sufferers.

These breeds might be worth considering for individuals with allergies, but it’s essential to note that individual reactions can vary. Spending time with the specific breed before bringing one home or consulting with an allergist is recommended.

Bombay cats produce about the same number of proteins as other felines. Therefore, they likely won’t produce fewer allergy signs for those sensitive to them. However, because every person is different, some might do fine with a Bombay cat even though they have cat allergies. The only way to know is to try one out.

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How Can I Reduce Cat Allergens in My Home?

To minimize cat allergens in your home, consider taking a few measures. Regularly grooming your cat, including brushing their coat to reduce shedding, can help. However, it does depend on the breed. Some cats don’t shed much and, therefore, don’t need much brushing.

Bombay cats shed much less overall than most other cat breeds. Therefore, brushing may help a little bit, but it won’t help as much as it does for other cat breeds.

Using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in your home, vacuuming frequently with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner, and keeping surfaces clean can also reduce allergens. Allergens can stick to all surfaces (but are more often found on fabrics, such as on couches, drapes, or upholstery), so keeping the allergens cleaned up can go a long way to reducing the number of allergens in your home. Steam cleaning the aforementioned fabrics along with rugs and carpets can help. Though radical, a change from a carpeted floor to a tiled floor can be very effective in limiting the areas where allergens are most prevalent in a house.

Establishing cat-free zones in the house and using allergen-blocking bedding and covers may help as well. We recommend not allowing the cat into your bedroom as you spend a lot of time in your bedroom sleeping. Therefore, if you sleep with no allergens, you’ll be much less likely to experience allergy signs.

Plus, washing your hands after interacting with your cat and avoiding touching your face can reduce potential allergic reactions. Your hands are a direct route for allergens to enter your face, so keeping your hands clean is important.

bombay cat in the grass
Image Credit: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock

What Are Common Signs of Cat Allergies?

Cat allergies typically need a diagnosis by a doctor. Allergy signs tend to be very similar; there isn’t a difference depending on what you’re allergic to. Sometimes, you’ll notice a pattern of exposure and signs, which can help you determine what you’re allergic to.

For instance, if you always get signs a few minutes after petting a cat, then you may be allergic to cats.

However, allergy tests are often necessary to truly diagnose allergies. After all, correlation doesn’t often equal causation. In other words, just because it seems like you get signs whenever you’re around a cat doesn’t 100% mean you’re allergic to them.

However, some people have more serious signs than others. Here are some of the most common signs of cat allergies:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Itching or rash on the skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Asthma-like symptoms

These signs occur because the immune system is reacting to a protein as dangerous, even when it isn’t. All allergy signs occur due to this underlying cause, which is why signs are mostly the same no matter the allergen.

Bombay Cat
Image Credit: Steven Reynolds, Flickr

Can a Person with Allergies Live with a Bombay Cat?

It depends largely on the person and the signs. Bombay cats may not trigger any allergies in certain people, while they may trigger severe allergies in others. Proteins vary from feline to feline, even within the same breed. Therefore, the only way to determine if you can live with a Bombay cat is to spend time with one.

Often, a breeder will allow you to spend time with a kitten before taking it home. This allows you to determine if you can live with the kitten or not.

You can also speak with your doctor, who likely knows the most about your allergies.

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Final Thoughts

Bombay cats, unfortunately, aren’t considered hypoallergenic. While some breeds do elicit fewer allergic reactions than others, Bombay cats don’t fall into this category. They tend to produce the same amount of allergies as other cats, though different individuals have different reactions to certain allergens.

The only way to know if you can be around Bombay cats or not is to be around them. It’s best to spend time with the specific kitten you’re considering adopting, as proteins will vary from cat to cat—even within the same breed and bloodline.

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