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Do Tabby Cats Shed? [Are They Considered Hypoallergenic?]

Tabby cats are famed for their unique striped coats and distinct ‘M’ marking on their foreheads. But how much do these cats shed? Are they suitable for people who suffer from allergies? Here is everything you are going to need to know.  

So, do Tabby cats shed? Tabby cats do shed, just like all cats, and they are not considered hypoallergenic. However, the amount they shed is dependent on the individual breed and their respective coat length, where longer hair cats generally shed more. So if you suffer from allergies, it is essential to check the breed’s typical shedding patterns.

Contrary to popular opinion, tabby cats are not a specific breed; the term tabby actually refers to the fur markings on their coats.

Nevertheless, adopting any cat can cause concern if you are an allergy sufferer as reactions can differ between breeds and individuals.

For some, it may mean not getting a particular cat breed altogether.

For others, it could mean being particularly mindful and vigilant; being sure to take precautions to minimize any potential reactions.

With this in mind, let read on to find out if tabby cats are safe for you and your family.

How Much Do Tabby Cats Shed?

Individual tabby cats will shed different amounts depending on their breed. Several other factors can also affect shedding, the time of year, the breed, the presence of any stress factors, and diet.

Let us now take a look at these in closer detail.  

Seasonal Shedding

All cats will shed more during the Spring and Autumn months, which is triggered by the amount of sunlight available during the day.

In the Spring, cats will shed their thick winter coats in order to grow their thinner summer coats.

In the Autumn, they will shed again to make room for the growth of thicker winter fur.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Interestingly, indoor cats will often have a different shedding pattern to outdoor cats due to the continuous artificial light in the home.

This can cause indoor cats to shed little and often throughout the whole year. They may even skip the main shedding periods altogether.

Tabby Cat Breed

As mentioned previously, the tabby pattern can appear in a number of cat breeds, including long-haired and short-haired varieties.

The tabby pattern can manifest in many different forms, including stripes, blotches, and ticked varieties.

Obviously, long-haired cats will shed more than shorter-haired ones, so it is important for you to pick the right breed if you suffer from allergies.

Long-haired breeds often have double or even triple layer coats, which consist of very dense undercoat that tends to shed heavily, especially in the Spring.

This makes them well adapted to deal with cold climates but less suitable for allergy sufferers.

If you are looking for a tabby cat that doesn’t shed much, you are better off looking for a cat breed with a single layer coat, such as the Bengal or the Abyssinian.

Stress

Aside from breed type, there are a number of other causes of excessive shedding in cats.

Perhaps the most common of these is stress.

Cats are lovers of routine, so any disruption may lead to the development of stress.

Short-term stress may not cause too many issues (such as rearranging the lounge), but the addition of a new pet into the family or extreme boredom over an extended period may develop into chronic stress.

This can cause your cat to overgroom and, in the worst cases, may even lead to your cats’ fur falling out in clumps.

If you suspect your cat is suffering from stress, then you will need to identify the cause and take steps to remove it. Seeking the advice of a cat behaviorist may also help.

Diet

Diet is another important factor that may affect shedding patterns.

Cats require particular nutrients to maintain healthy skin and fur, so a diet that is lacking in these may cause your cat to shed more than he should.

Many cheap kibble diets on the market contain high levels of carbohydrates which cannot be digested well by cats.

The best diets for cats are high in taurine, vitamin A, and meat protein.

Are Tabby Cats Hypoallergenic?

In general, tabby cats are not considered to be hypoallergenic. In fact, scientists have yet to find a truly hypoallergenic cat breed. Even the hairless Sphynx cat can cause allergies as the majority of reactions are triggered by the Fel D1 protein found in a cat’s saliva. 

This protein is then distributed over a cat’s fur during grooming and can even be present in a cat’s urine.

The good news is that the tabby pattern can appear in many different cat breeds.

Some of these breeds are not suitable for allergy sufferers, such as the Persian and the Himalayan breeds.

However, there are some breeds that are considered to shed less and produce less of the Fel D1 protein in their saliva.

This makes them better options for people who suffer from allergic reactions around cats.

Best Tabby Cat Breeds For Allergy Sufferers

Let’s run through some of the most hypoallergenic tabby breeds now:

Bengal

Bengal cats are considered to be one of the best breeds for allergy sufferers.

They were first developed as the result of a cross between a domestic cat and a wild Asian leopard cat, which has given these cats a sleek, close-lying coat that sheds very little.

Due to their wild ancestry, they may also produce less of the Fel D1 protein than most other breeds.

It is important to note that if you are considering adopting a Bengal, you will need to provide him with a meat-rich diet to ensure his coat remains in tip-top condition.

Oriental Short-hair

This breed is considered to be a good option for allergy sufferers as it is believed to produce less of the protein that triggers allergies.

These cats also have very short coats, so they tend to shed less than many other cat breeds.  

Burmese

The Burmese breed is considered to be one of the lowest shedding cat breeds in the world due to its Siamese lineage.

These cats have slight tabby markings on their coats and are known to be incredibly affectionate towards their owners.  

Cornish Rex

These unusual-looking cats have a very distinct curly coat that is known to shed very little.

Their fur consists of a very fine layer of hair that sits close to the body, with no guard hairs present.

So even when they do shed, they only release very small amounts. The tabby pattern is the most common coat variety found in this breed.

How To Reduce Shedding In Tabby Cats

The key to minimizing shedding in cats is to groom them regularly. 

The amount of grooming required will be dependent on the breed you choose.

For example, a Bengal cat will only require grooming once a week with a slicker brush or grooming glove.

However, if you suffer from allergies, then it is best to brush more often.

It may sound a little counterintuitive to brush your cat to stop him from shedding fur, but actually, there is a very good reason for this.

When you brush your cat, you are removing the dry skin flakes (known as dander) from your cats’ body that would otherwise fall onto your furniture or carpet.

The Fel D1 protect attaches to these flakes during grooming which is why it is so important to remove them.

If you suffer from allergies, it is also essential for you to follow a strict cleaning routine to minimize the risk of allergens floating in your home.

How To Minimize Allergies While Owning A Tabby Cat

Here are a few ways you can keep your allergies a bay:

Change Your Clothing After Interacting With Your Cat

Chances are that you adopted a feline companion because you love cats!

So, of course, you will want to play with him and lavish him with affection.

However, if you suffer from allergies, it is important to change your clothes after a long interaction to reduce the risk of symptoms arising.  

Vacuum Regularly

Flakes of skin and hair fall onto your carpet or furniture when your cat grooms himself, so regular vacuuming is a must!

Ensure you purchase a hoover that is specifically designed to pick up pet hair, as these tend to be more powerful than standard hoovers.

Clean Out Your Cats’ Litter Tray Often

As mentioned above, the Fel D1 protein can be found in a cat’s urine.

So, you should clean your cats’ litter tray as soon as possible after your cat has used it.

This routine is also important for your feline companions’ welfare as cats are very particular about hygiene.

If the litter tray is unclean, your cat may choose to use other areas of your home instead!

Consider Investing In An Air Filter

These devices are great for allergy sufferers because they work to remove contaminants from the air in a room, including cat dander.

Pet allergens tend to be very small (around 2.5 microns), so the best filters for you, if you suffer from allergies, are those that contain a HEPA filter (high-efficiency particulate air filter).

Wash Your Hands Regularly

This is perhaps the simplest thing you can do, but it works wonders for removing potentially harmful allergens from your hands.

It is best to wash them at the end of every interaction with your cat.

Consider Upgrading To Tiled Or Hardwood Flooring

Carpets have a nasty habit of trapping dander within their fibers.

Hard flooring can be cleaned much more easily, so there is less of a risk of cat dander remaining in your home.

The same goes for furniture. For example, a leather sofa is much better than a fabric one if you suffer from allergies.

Some people suggest that bathing your cat can help to prevent allergies.

This is true to an extent; however, you must be careful not to bathe your cat too often as it can actually make the situation worse.

Excessive washing can dry out your cat’s skin which may cause more dander to be released. Bear in mind that cats will also groom themselves more vigorously after a bath.  

Finally

Tabby cats do shed. But how much, well the truth is it depends.

So, ultimately, if you are looking to add a tabby cat to your family, then you will need to do your research to ensure you are buying the best breed, for you.

Also, remember that allergic reactions can vary between individual cats, so you should spend some time around your potential new family member before making the final decision to bring him home.

Unfortunately, no cat is completely hypoallergenic; however, the precautions mentioned above will help to minimize the effects should you decide to bring one home!

Oh, and don’t forget to look into their size!