If you love cats but you don't like vacuuming, non shedding cat breeds are the answer. Although there are not really any breeds of cat that don't shed at all, there are several that shed very little. When a breed is referred to as "non shedding," it simply means that the amount of hair the animal regularly loses is minimal. There are two types of cats that shed far less than other breeds - hairless cats and Rex breeds.
Hairless Cat Breeds
It may interest you to know that a hairless cat is not really hairless at all. It has a coat that is made up of very short hairs. While it will shed a little, it won't be noticeable due to the short, sparse coat that the cat has.
The Sphynx is considered a hairless cat, and may be what most people think of when they hear, 'non shedding cat breed.' This breed is the result of a naturally occurring genetic mutation. Although there have been records of this mutation occurring throughout history, it was not until 1966 that there was enough interest to create a new breed.
The Sphynx has a fine downy coat that covers its body, but it does look hairless until you look closely. Its ears seem too large for its head, as do its eyes, and the cat has a muscular body. Many people consider the Sphynx one of the most intelligent, vocal and social breeds.
The Don Sphynx, also known as the Donskoy, resembles the Sphynx, but it's not the same breed. This breed was founded in Russia during the 1980s, and one major difference is that the hairless gene in the Don Sphynx is dominant, making it easier to get the hairless type when cross breeding. Usually the cat has a short, fuzzy coat that it gradually loses in the first two years of life, making the Don Sphynx closer to the truly hairless cat.
The Peterbald is a cross between the Don Sphynx and the Oriental short hair. Many cats within this breed have the most obvious coat of all of the hairless cat breeds. The coat of a Peterbald can be categorized in four ways:
- Bald - Completely hairless
- Flock - Short, downy hair
- Velour - Hair that is one to five millimeters long
- Brush - Curly, wiry hair
The fur of a cat can be separated into three types:
- Guard hairs (top)
- Awn (middle)
- Down (undercoat)
Some cats have fewer layers of coat and therefore shed less.
The Cornish Rex
The Cornish Rex has a thin, curly coat that sheds very little. It is missing both the guard and the awn layers in its coat. It feels the cold more like a hairless cat does because of this lack of insulation. This breed is considered very intelligent, friendly and a good companion animal.
The Devon Rex
The Devon Rex is another one of the low-shedding cat breeds that has a curly coat. It has both the down and the awn layers and is missing only the guard hair, so it may shed a bit more than a Cornish Rex would. The look is very similar for both of these cats although they are unrelated.
Non Shedding Doesn't Mean Hypoallergenic
There is a misconception that people are allergic to the hair of cats and so a non shedding breed would keep allergies at bay. A ccording to the Auckland Allergy Clinic, cat allergies are caused by the presence of a particular protein in the saliva. This actually has very little to do with the hair except for the fact that cat's clean themselves with their tongues, and the dried saliva flakes become part of the dander released by the cats.
If you are looking for a low shedding breed because you dislike vacuuming, one of these breeds may be perfect for you. By grooming your low shedding cat daily, you may find that there does not seem to be any shedding at all. If you are looking for a cat that won't make your cat allergies act up, you may be out of luck.
Be aware that the non shedding breeds need a little more care when it comes to keeping them warm and comfortable, and take that into consideration when making your choice. Due to this lack of a normal coat, hairless cat breeds should be kept indoors. They can get sun burned and are easily bothered by the cold.