The Devon Rex cat breed is a popular one due to their social, outgoing, and playful personality. They enjoy and benefit from pet owners that can give them plenty of attention and do well with children and other pets. They’re very intelligent, easy to train, loyal, and great first-time pets. However, this breed is sought after for even more than their personalities—they’re also valued for being hypoallergenic.
The Devon Rex cat sheds very little and is an excellent choice for people that are allergic to cat hair. Their coats are short and wavy and can be seen in a variety of colors and patterns. Their coats don’t develop mats and are low maintenance. Keep reading to find out more about this unique breed and whether they’re a good option for you.
What Is a Hypoallergenic Cat?
Cats that don’t produce a lot of allergens are considered hypoallergenic. While there isn’t a cat breed in existence that is entirely hypoallergenic, the Devon Rex is one of the few that can be pets to people with allergies if their allergies aren’t severe.
Any kitten sold with the description of being entirely hypoallergenic is being sold by an untrustworthy breeder. All cats have the Fel d 1 protein that is found in their skin,1 fur, saliva, anal glands, and sebaceous glands, and it’s primarily this protein that people with allergies to cats negatively react to. It isn’t cat hair that is solely to blame for a person’s allergic reaction, and, therefore, even hairless cats can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
Although the Devon Rex may have a short, wavy coat and shed very little, it’s the fact that they produce less of the Fel d 1 protein than other cat breeds that makes them hypoallergenic. However, the less dander around the house, the less an allergic person is exposed to the Fel d 1 protein.
How To Lower Your Exposure to Cat Allergens?
If you have a cat, hypoallergenic or not, and want to reduce your exposure to their Fel d 1 protein, there are a few ways to go about this.
Wipe Down Surfaces
Your cat naturally leaves behind dander on the areas they’ve touched, rubbed against, or spent time on, so the best thing you can do to rid your home of it is to wipe your surfaces down often. This includes tables, chairs, shelves, floors, and even walls. Dander can stick to just about anything, so be sure to wipe down all surfaces that it might be sticking to—even though you can’t see it.
Another important tip is to vacuum your house often. Vacuuming is better than sweeping because it sucks the allergens inside of its filter instead of into the air. Look for vacuum cleaners with a HEPA filter and anti-allergy seal, as these features lock in allergens and prevent them from escaping back into your home.
Be sure to vacuum your upholstery, curtains, carpets, and rugs regularly, as these hold onto allergens.
As much as vacuuming your house reduces allergens, you may want to consider replacing the fabrics and items in your home that retain allergens with ones that don’t or ones that are easier to clean. Swapping your curtains out for blinds and changing cloth chairs for leather or plastic ones will make a big difference.
Wash Bedding & Blankets
Cats love to cozy up on your bed or sofa blanket, so be sure to wash those often to get their dander off. Waking up in the night with watery,2 itchy, and red eyes, coughing, and sneezing is an indication your cat may have been sleeping on your bed, even if you don’t allow them to.
It’s also necessary to wash their cat bed and blankets often to reduce allergens from building up in your home.
Get Your Cat Groomed
Your cat shouldn’t be neglected because you’re allergic to them. Although you might not be able to brush their coats, bathe them, and clip their nails, someone needs to do it. If a family member can’t take on that responsibility, if you have a cat with a thick haircoat prone to matting, you might need to take them to a groomer who can do all those important tasks for you.
Not only will keeping your cat groomed benefit them, but it’ll also be better for your health. Washing and brushing a cat’s coat removes loose hairs that would otherwise fall out and end up on your furniture or around your home.
If you’re struggling with cat allergies, you may be forced to set a few boundaries for yourself and your cat. If your allergies are bad, avoid touching, hugging, or kissing your cat. Their saliva contains the Fel d 1 protein that affects allergic people, so allowing them near your face or to reciprocate your kisses is a big no-no. If you do touch your cat or give them a brushing, make sure you wash your hands straight after.
You’ll also need to restrict your cat’s access to certain rooms. While it’s great to have a cat hang out in bed with you, your bedroom should be a cat-free zone because that’s where you’ll spend most of your time and where you want the least number of allergens around.
Cat urine and poop contain the Fel d 1 protein, so try to keep your cat’s litter box out of the way and in a room or area you don’t have to use often. If your cat is happy to play outside and is safe from threats, let them. If your cat is outside, less of their allergens will be inside.
Many people with allergies to cats get on fine with the Devon Rex breed, with little or no allergic reactions. However, everyone is different, and you might be more sensitive to their dander and saliva than another allergy sufferer. To truly know if you’ll be able to share a home with this breed, you need to know how you’ll respond to them.
Before welcoming a Devon Rex into your home and then discovering that you’re allergic to them, go to different animal shelters and look for the breed. If you find any, spend some time with them, playing with them and interacting with them. Who knows, your allergies may remain under control, and you may have found your new best friend, which is a win-win.
If you can’t find a Devon Rex at your local animal shelters, chat to a breeder about spending some time with their cats or visit a friend that has this breed. Taking these steps before buying a Devon Rex will prevent any possibility of having to rehome your cat.
Other Hypoallergenic Cat Breed Options
If the Devon Rex isn’t the breed for you, that’s okay. There are several other cat breeds that are also considered hypoallergenic—we’ve listed them below.
- Cornish Rex – These cats have a short coat that is soft and curly and sheds infrequently. Like the Devon Rex, they’re energetic and intelligent. They have slender bodies and large features and are always chatty.
- Javanese – This chatty and attention-seeking breed also has a slender but muscular body. Their coats are medium to long and don’t have an undercoat. They’re easy to groom and shed very little.
- Sphynx – This breed is easy to identify for their lack of hair; however, they do have a thin, soft layer of hair that covers their body. Although almost hairless, these cats come in different colors and patterns. These cats still need to be bathed regularly as they get greasy and are susceptible to fleas.
- Russian Blue – If you’re less favorable of the bald appearance and leaning towards a fluffier cat, consider the Russian Blue. These beautiful cats have silky, dense coats that are short and plush. They produce fewer allergens than other breeds and shed lightly.
- Siberian – For an even fluffier option, the Siberian cat breed has a long, waterproof coat that has three layers. They’re affectionate, loyal, and sweet-natured. They do shed quite a bit, but they produce low levels of the Fel d 1 protein and are therefore considered hypoallergenic.
The Devon Rex is a fun and playful cat breed that is considered hypoallergenic. Most allergy sufferers do well around this breed because of their low Fel d 1 protein levels and infrequent shedding. However, it’s always best to spend some time with a Devon Rex before getting one for yourself in case you’re more sensitive to them than others.
Featured Image Credit: klevers, Shutterstock