Are Bengal cats Hypoallergenic?
One of the most frequent questions we get from people is whether or not Bengal cats are hypoallergenic? The correct answer is yes, they are hypoallergenic, but to fully understand that answer, you must realize that hypoallergenic does NOT mean allergy free; it means "relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction." In comparison to other cat breeds, Bengal cats are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in people,
The most common cat allergen is a protein found in cat saliva, skin cells, and urine called Fel d 1. This protein enters the air on cat hair and dander. The reason more people tend to react to this cat protein over the allergens of dogs is its weight. Fel d 1 is so light that it stays airborne longer and is, therefore, more likely to enter the lungs when a person with this allergy walks into a room with cats in it (Konkel). It is also incredibly sticky, so once it lands on the surfaces of a house, it doesn't go away. There are some Oriental breeds that produce less Fel d 1; the Bengal is not one of those cats.
some Bengals have retained a coat-quality referred to by breeders as pelted. The fur is extremely short and feels as soft rabbit fur. The sleekness of this coat type contributes to its cleanliness and reduces the Bengal's need to groom itself. With less grooming, less saliva spreads onto the Bengal's coat, and less hair and dander with Fel d 1 attached to it is released into the air.
Bengals are hypoallergenic because they groom themselves less often than cats with courser coats and double coats. Feeding your Bengal cat a raw diet rich in Omega 3 can further reduce the amount of hair and dander released into the air making Bengal ownership possible. But, this does not guarantee that every allergy sufferer will not be affected by Bengal cats.
Believe it or not, its not actually the hair itself that most people are allergic to, but proteins that are secreted by the skin (Fel d1 protein) and present in the cat’s saliva (Fel d4 protein). While there are no 100% hypoallergenic breeds, there are non-shedding cats that don’t shed nearly as much hair and dander as other breeds. These rarely cause allergic reactions, and can often be a great option for people who normally suffer around pets. We would advise spending some time with a cat of the specific breed you’re thinking of getting before you commit, to see if it will work for you and your family.
Cat dander consists of microscopic pieces of dry cat skin and dried saliva. Cat dander particles are tiny, about one-tenth the size of dust mites. These dander particles easily become airborne and will quickly be present throughout a home where a cat resides. The problem isn’t really the dry skin particles themselves, but a glycoprotein in and on the dander, called Fel D1. Fel D1 is found in a cat’s sebaceous glands under the skin and in a cat’s saliva. This protein is the culprit for susceptible people who are exposed to it.