Are Bengal Cats hypoallergenic?

Are Bengal Cats Hypoallergenic? (Everything You Need to Know)

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Taking home a cat is exciting. Visiting a friend is exciting too (especially after the last few years). But if you’re someone with allergies who is considering getting a Bengal Cat or you’re visiting someone who has one, it’s nice to understand how that’s likely to impact your allergies.

First off: no, Bengal Cats are not hypoallergenic, because no cat is. But if you’re looking for information on that subject, you likely want to understand how hypoallergenic Bengal Cats are, and what to do if you want to prevent an allergic reaction.

For that reason, we asked our veterinary advisor Dr. Jamie Whittenburg to offer advice on pet care and how to think about allergic reactions to your dog. We’ll go into detail in this post on:

  • Whether Bengal Cats are a good choice for someone with allergies
  • How to care for a Bengal Cat and help lower your odds at having an allergic reaction
  • What to do if you do have an allergic reaction to a Bengal Cat

And more. Let’s get started!

Are Bengal Cats Hypoallergenic?

Bengal cats are not hypoallergenic.

Many homeowners and cat enthusiasts may be convinced that this cat breed is hypoallergenic, but they are not. There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat or dog.

The Bengal cat is a short-haired cat that is very sweet and loving to its owners and families. Although this cat is a perfect companion for busy homeowners and family members, are they ideal for families prone to allergies?

Read on to learn about Bengal cats, hypoallergenic animals, and snow Bengal cat hypoallergenic varieties.

Bengal cats produce dander, protein, and hair that can trigger allergies in humans or asthma in those known to have asthma attacks. However, Bengal cats may be one of the best choices for families prone to allergies but would like to adopt a pet.

Can You be Allergic to Bengal Cats?

You can be allergic to Bengal cats since they produce hair, proteins, and saliva that may trigger allergies. However, Bengal cats may not cause as many allergies or severe allergies since they don’t have long, luxurious hair.

Cats with longer hair tend to cause more allergies in those prone to pet allergies than short-haired cats. Additionally, you can battle pet allergies with a short-haired Bengal cat by ensuring that you vacuum cat hair often, wear masks and gloves when changing the kitty litter box, and brush your cat to ensure they don’t shed everywhere.

Consider buying them a separate bed so that you are not uncomfortable during the night and don’t suffer late-night allergy flare-ups.

Do Bengal Cats Shed?

Bengal cats shed, but they don’t shed often. This cat breed may only need to be brushed once every two or three days to keep up with the allergies they may be causing you or your family. Consider keeping a consistent routine to ensure allergies stay away and your family remains safe.

Vacuuming their most frequented areas can help keep allergies from flaring up. You may also want to consider using dry shampoo or other cleaning solution to ensure that your cat remains clean and that excess protein is washed away.

Although these proteins will accumulate again, these solutions can help keep allergy flare-ups away more often.

Are Bengal Cats Allergy Friendly?

Bengal cats are not technically allergy friendly, but they are a better alternative to cats with long hair. Bengal cats are short-haired cats, which are better for allergy-prone people but can still cause mild side effects.

You may find yourself getting red, itchy eyes and sniffles from a Bengal cat, but this cat doesn’t usually trigger anything too serious.

Bengal Cat Grooming Tips

Consistent grooming of your pet is always the best way to keep allergies as much at bay as possible (along with several other benefits to consistent grooming). Here are some key things to keep in mind when it comes to grooming Bengal Cats:

  • Brush your Bengal cat’s fur regularly to prevent matting and tangles. It is best to brush your Bengal Cat’s fur daily to prevent matting and tangles. If you are not able to brush them daily, then at least once a week is essential.
  • Trim your Bengal cat’s nails monthly to keep them from getting too long. Generally speaking, it is best to trim them every 4-6 weeks. Some Bengal Cats may need their nails trimmed more or less often than this.
  • Bathe your Bengal cat as needed, using a mild shampoo made specifically for cats. As for bathing, most Bengal Cats only need a bath once every few months. However, if your Bengal gets dirty more frequently, then you may need to bathe them more often.
  • Keep your Bengal cat’s ears clean and free of debris by gently wiping them with a cotton ball soaked in warm water.
  • Check your Bengal cat’s teeth regularly and brush them as needed to help prevent dental problems. Ideally, you should brush your Bengal Cat’s teeth every day. However, if you are not able to do this, then brushing them at least once a week is still beneficial.

This is a good video overview of how to groom a Bengal Cat:

Bengal Cat Coat & Fur

In addition to understanding the proper grooming habits for your Bengal Cat, knowing a bit more about their coat and fur can help you fend off an allergic reaction to them. When it comes to their hair, some fast facts:

  • Bengal cats have a unique coat and fur that sets them apart from other cat breeds.
  • The coat of a Bengal cat is usually short, fine, and dense.
  • Bengal cats can come in a variety of colors and patterns, but the most popular are brown tabby and black tabby.
  • The fur of a Bengal cat is usually sleek and shiny, with no undercoat.

Bengal Cat Fast Facts

If you’re interested in whether a Bengal Cat is hypoallergenic, then you may be considering making one a part of your family. If that’s the case, here are some interesting facts about Bengal Cats that may help you make a decision on whether they’re right for your family:

  • The Bengal cat is a hybrid breed of domestic cat.
  • It is created by the crossing of a domestic cat with an Asian leopard cat.
  • Bengals have wild-looking, yet gentle and loving dispositions.
  • They are very active and love to play and explore their homes.
  • Bengal cats come in many different colors, but all have spots or rosettes on their coats.
  • Bengals are known for being very intelligent and can be trained to do tricks and even walk on a leash!
  • These cats make great pets for families with children and other pets, as they get along well with everyone.
  • Bengals are relatively healthy cats, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions.

Treating Your Allergies

Obviously if you have a severe allergic reaction you want to consult with a medical professional. If you’re having a milder allergic reaction to your Bengal Cat (or anything else really) here are some remedies to consider:

  • Over the counter medications: Antihistamines can be used to treat the symptoms of allergies. These are available over the counter and include brands like Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec.
  • Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays can help to reduce congestion and irritation in the nasal passages. Some common brands include Flonase and Nasacort.
  • Eye drops: Eye drops can help to relieve itchiness and redness in the eyes. Some popular brands include Zaditor and Alaway.
  • Oral decongestants: These can help to reduce congestion in the nose and throat. Some common oral decongestants include Sudafed and pseudoephedrine.
  • Allergy shots: Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, can be used to help reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. A series of shots are given over a period of time, and then maintenance shots are given periodically to keep the allergies under control.

Sources:

Dr. Stephen Dreskin MD, PHD from UC Health has a great overview of dealing with pet allergies as well if you’re having issues there:

Tips from Our Vets

The idea of a hypoallergenic dog or cat is a myth.

There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog (or cat). Hypoallergenic implies that the dog will not cause a human to have an allergic reaction. Many mistakenly believe that humans’ allergies to cats and dogs are caused by hair shedding.

Though hairs that fall off of the dogs and cats may increase the risk of allergies, humans are allergic to proteins that dogs and cats shed in their saliva, urine, and dander.

Allergic reactions in humans to dogs and cats vary widely from human to human, and some dogs will trigger allergies in a human while others will not.

In my experience as a veterinarian, dogs and cats that children grow up with when they are young, and dogs that are brought into the household as puppies tend to cause the fewest allergy issues. It is likely that constant exposure to your personal dog desensitizes your immune system to that dog’s specific proteins.

If you have a dog or cat allergy and a dog or cat, there are some things you can do to help decrease your allergic reaction.

Keep in mind that it is the proteins the dog produces that cause the allergy. However specific actions like controlling loose hair, or obtaining a non-shedding breed, can decrease the protein-containing dander that causes your allergies in your home.

Dog Breeds with Hair & Not Fur

A number of breeds have hair, as opposed to fur, and therefore do not shed. These include:

  • Poodles
  • Shih Tzus
  • Schnauzers
  • Scottish, Yorkshire, and Bedlington terriers
  • Maltese

Cat Breeds with Hair & Not Fur

Similarly there are a number of cat breeds with hair and no fur:

  • Sphynx
  • Devon Rex
  • Cornish Rex
  • Peterbald
  • Siamese
  • Manx
  • Birman
  • Burmese
  • Himalayan
  • Persian
  • Russian Blue

Strategies to Reduce Pet Allergies

  1. Non-Shedding Breed – As mentioned above, some humans with allergies find that they tolerate non-shedding breeds better than those with fur, as this reduces the amount of dander in the air.
  2. Brushing, Bathing, and Grooming – Regardless of hair coat, frequent brushing, bathing, and grooming will decrease the dander present in your environment. For home brushing, the procedure should be done outside to avoid aerosolizing the dander into your home. Baths should be administered no more often than every other week to decrease the likelihood of drying out the dog or cat’s skin. Professional grooming frequency will depend on the cat or dog’s coat, but to reduce allergies will likely need to be done at least monthly.
  3. Clean Home – If you or a family member suffers from dog or cat allergies, it is essential to clean your home often. Frequent vacuuming, dusting, as well as cleaning fabric furniture, will keep the cat or dog dander in your home under control.
    1. Vacuuming – You should vacuum with a high-quality vacuum that has a HEPA filter installed.
    2. Moist Cleaning – Sweeping with a dry broom is not recommended. This method tends to stir up the dust and dander into the air. Swiffers and wet mopping are preferred for floors. Moist cloths are preferred to feather dusters for dusting.
    3. Air filters – Replace the filters in your furnace and air conditioning units. Always buy high-quality, preferably HEPA rated, filters. It may also be helpful to purchase individual room air purifiers/filters.
  4. Flooring – Carpeting will hold on to dander and other allergens. If you or a family member suffers from dog allergies, it may help to replace carpeting with hardwood, linoleum, or tile flooring. These types of flooring are easier to clean and will reduce the allergen load in your home.
  5. Accessories – Your dog or cat will deposit allergenic proteins where they sleep and also on toys and other objects that they get saliva on. Ensure you regularly wash all beds, pillows, and toys frequently.

Final Thoughts: Is There Such a Thing as Hypoallergenic Bengal Cats?

There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic Bengal cat, but Bengal cats are a good alternative to other, longer-haired cats. Keep in mind these points when seeking to adopt a Bengal cat:

  • Hypoallergenic animals do not exist.
  • Allergies can be triggered by exposure to cat hair, skin, urine, and saliva.
  • Bengal cats are loving and may rub on you a lot, causing allergies.

Bengal cats can be a perfect family companion, but they may require weekly brushing, cleaning, and vacuuming to ensure allergies stay at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ll go question-by-question through these, but note that there’s a lot of overlap as people are often curious about whether certain breeds are hypoallergenic: no breed of cat is hypoallergenic, but some breeds trigger allergies more or less than others in certain people.

Sources & Additional Resources

If you’re looking for even more information about pets being hypoallergenic this is just one in a series of guides:

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.