Breeds

Are Russian Blue Cats Hypoallergenic?

Are Russian Blue cats a good option for people with allergies? Are Russian Blue cats hypoallergenic? We've got the answers and more.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: December 27, 2023 | 6 min read

Russian Blue feline on back being brushed

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As its name suggests, the Russian Blue breed developed in Russia. It is also the oldest of all Russian cat breeds. Cat enthusiasts love Russian Blue kitties for their sweet-tempered and loving nature. These cats are also extremely intelligent, playful, and affectionate.

The most recognizable features of the Russian Blue feline are their plush silvery-blue fur and delightfully green eyes. Their distinctive double coat requires minimal grooming, but does that make them hypoallergenic?

According to a study published in the Allergy, Asthma, Immunology Research journal, dog and cat allergies affect 10 to 20 percent of people globally. If you’re one of the unlucky ones who gets the sniffles every time a cat enters the room, it’s understandable that you’re looking for a feline companion that won’t send you off sneezing. Are Russian Blue cats hypoallergenic? While no cat is entirely hypoallergenic, the Russian Blue breed is an excellent choice for allergy sufferers.

Are Russian Blue Cats Hypoallergenic?

The Russian Blue breed is a good option for potential pet parents with mild to moderate cat allergies. Russian Blue cats are relatively low shedders and produce lower levels of Fel d 1 protein, known to cause allergic reactions in those who suffer from cat allergies. As a reminder, no cat is entirely hypoallergenic, and those highly sensitive to felines may still react to the Russian Blue.

Hypoallergenic Cats

Woman's hand is cleaning Russian blue cat with a lint-roller on a grey sofa

So, we know that Russian Blues are considered hypoallergenic cats. But what does that mean? Hypoallergenic refers to anything—felines included—that is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. While there is no such thing as an altogether allergy-safe cat, certain breeds are less likely to leave you with itchy eyes and a runny nose.

There are two factors used when classifying our furry friends as hypoallergenic. First, scientists have determined that certain felines produce less Fel d 1 protein—the cause of most cat allergies in humans. Fel d 1 is found in a cat’s dander, saliva, and urine.

The following cats are understood to produce lower levels of Fel d 1 protein:

Their shedding frequency is the second factor determining whether a feline companion is hypoallergenic. All cat breeds shed hair and dander, even the hairless varieties. However, felines with less hair or who require infrequent grooming may be a better choice for those with allergies.

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, your furry friend spends 30 to 50 percent of their day maintaining their coat. Grooming is an essential wellness practice for cats. It cleans their coat and cools the skin. A cat’s tongue is covered in sharp hooks called papillae that actually wick saliva into a feline’s undercoat. This wicking benefits cats because their saliva contains a natural antibacterial agent to clean their skin and coat. Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, all this grooming will likely trigger your allergies. 

When cats groom, their saliva’s Fel d 1 protein is transferred to their coat. So when you’re admiring how fantastic your cat’s coat smells, you’re also coming in contact with allergens. The less shedding and grooming your cat does, the less likely you will experience allergies.

There are various low-shedding cat breeds, including:

What Are Cat Allergies?

Woman sneezes in her handkerchief, runny nose while holding a cat Maine Coon

Let’s take a step back: What are cat allergies? While scientists are still not sure why certain people develop allergies to cats, we do know that pet allergies are caused by your body reacting to proteins in a cat’s saliva, urine, and dander.

An allergic reaction transpires when the immune system mistakes a safe, non-toxic substance for a harmful invader. The immune system reacts to this perceived threat, called an allergen, by releasing substances called histamines. The immune system makes histamines that produce a wide range of bodily reactions, including congestion, increased mucus production, skin rashes, and headaches. While this sounds problematic, in the case of an actual threat to the body, these reactions form an essential line of defense against an invader, helping trap and expel it from the body while encouraging you to rest in the process. Unfortunately, during the false alarm of the allergic reaction, the body overreacts to a harmless substance, like your cat’s saliva. 

Allergic responses can produce any one of a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Headache
  • Hives, rashes, or other skin eruptions
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid retention
  • Nasal congestion
  • Red, itchy, or watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of the throat and tongue
  • Wheezing

If you experience difficulty breathing or develop hives that spread rapidly, seek medical help immediately. Allergic reactions like these can be fatal if not treated promptly.

14 Tips To Reduce Allergic Reactions

Cat being brushed on the head

While the Russian Blue is considered hypoallergenic, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t experience any allergy systems, especially if your cat allergies are more severe. Follow these 14 tips to reduce the chance of allergy symptoms.

  1. Groom your cat daily. Brushing your furry friend will catch loose hairs and dander before they float around your home. Use a boar bristle brush to clean your cats. These brushes also disperse your cat’s natural oils through their coat for a shiny, sleek coat.
  2. Purchase a grooming vacuum. The reality is that every time we groom our cat, fur is bound to fly. A grooming vacuum reduces the chance of hair escaping our grasp by sucking up hair as you brush.
  3. Keep your home clean. Regularly cleaning your home removes allergens from your environment.
  4. Use air purifiers. Air purifiers can make a night and day difference for those with environmental allergies. While pricey, air purification is the best way to remove allergens and other particles from the air. Look for an air purifier with a HEPA filter and place them in places your feline frequents.
  5. Bathe your cat frequently. While most cats can’t stand the bathtub, baths remove allergens and clean your cat’s coat. Just remember to use a cat-safe shampoo.
  6. Try an anti-allergen spray, which works by neutralizing allergens in the air. This ultra-fine mist can be used on hard and soft surfaces.
  7. Apply a dander remover to your cat’s coat. Apply dander remover once a week—no bath required.
  8. Wash your hands after handling your cat. After cuddling or playtime, wash your hands to remove allergens from your skin. Also, avoid touching your eyes or face.
  9. Keep your cat out of the bedroom. Reduce allergy triggers in your sleep by making your bedroom a no-cat zone.
  10. Keep your cat off your clothes. There are few things a cat likes more than a warm pile of laundry, but anything that will be on your body for long periods should be hair-free.
  11. Clean the litter box as often as possible. Better yet, assign this taste to another family member. Cleaning the litter box removes the allergy-causing protein in your cat’s urine.
  12. Try allergy-reducing cat food. Purina Pro Plan’s LiveClear cat food reduces Fel d 1 protein by an average of 47 percent after the third week of daily feeding.
  13. Use antihistamines and decongestants for allergy relief. As a long-term option, allergy shots are an immunotherapy that introduces a small amount of an allergen into your body to eventually stop the hostile immune system response.
  14. Explore natural remedies. Vitamin C and quercetin have a natural antihistamine effect. Healthy oils, like flaxseed and fish oil, may reduce inflammatory responses associated with allergies. Nasal irrigation of both nostrils using a saline solution will reduce nasal and sinus symptoms related to allergies.

Factors That Affect Shedding

Like humans, cats have a natural hair growth cycle that includes hair shedding. All cats shed to remove damaged hair and release natural oils that moisturize the skin. Most felines shed heaviest in the spring and fall; however, many other factors can affect the frequency of your kitty’s shedding:

  • Age: As our furry friends age, their grooming may become more sporadic. As a result, you may notice more fur around your home.
  • Allergies: Cats have allergies just like humans. An allergic reaction can cause skin inflammation and, as a result, hair loss.
  • Diseases: Kidney, liver, and thyroid diseases can increase your feline’s shedding.
  • Infections: Bacterial, fungal, and other infections can increase shedding.
  • Nutrition: If your kitty isn’t getting adequate nutrients, they will shed more frequently. To reduce shedding, you should also confirm your cat is staying hydrated.
  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy and lactation, cats undergo hormonal changes that may increase hair loss.
  • Temperature: Cats shed more frequently when it’s warm. To reduce shedding, keep your home at a cooler temperature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Russian Blues Shed A Lot?

Not only are Russian Blue cats hypoallergenic thanks to their lack of Fel d 1 protein, but they are also low shedding. Despite their dense coats, Russian Blues are very light shedders. Our article on Russian Blue cat shedding tells you everything you need to know about caring for a Russian Blue cat’s coat.

How Often Should I Groom My Russian Blue?

Aim to brush your Russian Blue once or twice per week for a luxurious and healthy coat.

Final Thoughts

Are Russian Blue cats hypoallergenic? While no cat is entirely allergy-friendly, this breed may be a good alternative for those who struggle with cat allergies. Curious about other breeds being hypoallergenic? We cover the Birman, Bengal, Maine Coon, Savannah, and other popular breeds.

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