Humans who suffer from cat allergies may be able to live with a Bengal! Although it has not been proven scientifically, most Bengal breeders and owners believe that Bengal’s produce less allergen than is typical of other breeds. Most allergy sufferers have less of a reaction to us.
Humans can be allergic to fur, or dander, or a combination of both. Cat dander is formed from dried saliva and cat skin. Since cat dander particles are microscopic they are easily released into the air and are part of living with any cat in your home. Try not to get too grossed out after all, humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour – about 1.5 pounds a year. By 70 years of age, an average person will have lost 105 pounds of skin. Humans shed and regrow outer skin cells about every 27 days – almost 1,000 new skins in a lifetime. Despite your shedding problem, we still choose to live with you!
When an an allergic response to a cat is triggered, typically it’s a reaction of the immune system to the protein in our dander. It sends your autoimmune system into an overactive state and can cause coughing, itching, sneezing, runny nose, coughing, hives or an asthma attack. The main theory of the “Bengals are hypoallergenic” proponents is that Bengals produce less protein and shed less than other breeds thus causing less reaction.
My human mom has asthma and is allergic to both dander and cat fur, yet she has no reaction to living with us. My sister Cheddar often sleeps on her stomach at night. Being that close to a cat used to cause her to have an asthma attack but it’s not a problem with us Bengals. She says she doesn’t need a scientific study to tell her what she already knows. She is allergic to cats but not Bengal cats.
When my mom had an orange tabby cat named Stanley, before he died of old age, she had a friend that could not visit her at home because he was so very, very allergic to cats, he used to have an asthma attack just stepping into the entryway of the house. Now he can stop by and visit anytime even though she now has two Bengals living with her. He does get a runny nose but that is his only reaction.
My advice if you want to get a Bengal cat and are allergic to cats is to visit a breeder to see if you have an allergic reaction. Most breeders would welcome a visit before adopting rather than a return after you adopt. Make sure that you carry antihistamine and inhaler with you in case you need it or ask your physician to advise you before your visit.
So are Bengal cats hypoallergenic? There is no scientific study to confirm that we are although most people seem to be non-reactive or at least less reactive to us versus other breeds. You should determine for yourself if that is true for you.