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04.08.2022

Allergy-free or a sneezing spree—are Bombay cats hypoallergenic?

The Bombay is a medium-sized, all-black cat much desired for their elegant, black, panther-like looks. Their funny, docile, and thoughtful nature makes them fantastic feline companions for most humans, but can allergy sufferers live with them? Untamed tackles the following questions:

  1. Are Bombay cats hypoallergenic?
  2. Can their shedding pattern trigger or worsen cat allergies?
  3. Will the super affectionate behaviour of a Bombay cat be a problem for allergy sufferers?
  4. Who should avoid contact with kitties of this breed?
  5. What safety measures to take while living with them?

Corticosteroids and antihistamines are not the only solutions for people with cat allergies. Learn about breed-specific feline nutrition and grooming tips that help cat parents minimise their exposure to pet allergens.

Understanding cat allergens and hypoallergenic cats

People with cat allergies have over-sensitive immune systems that react to one or more organic compounds found in a feline’s saliva, fur, urine, sweat, and dander (dead skin). Cat allergies are more common in people reacting badly to dust or pollen.

More than 95% of people allergic to cats have sensitivity to Fel d 1—a secretoglobin protein produced by various mucosal glands of felines. The protein easily lands on eye and nose membranes upon exposure, triggering reactions like swelling and itching. While Fel d 1 is the major cat allergen, felines also exude secondary allergens—Fel d 2, Fel d 3, Fel d 4, Fel d 5w, Fel d 6w, Fel d 7, etc., but the number of affected humans is much smaller.

All felines produce Fel d 1 and other allergens but not at the same rate. That’s where hypoallergenic cats come in. The prefix “hypo” stands for “low” or “less than normal”, so a hypoallergenic cat essentially releases fewer allergens than an average cat. Keep in mind that even a low-allergenic kitty can trigger reactions if you have moderate to severe cat allergies. Allergen-free cats do not exist.

Always check for allergic reactions—Bombays get ferociously attached to their humans. Losing their forever homes can make these kitties depressed.

Source: Helena Lopes

Bombays and Fel d 1

Bombay cats are not hypoallergenic because they exude the same amounts of Fel d 1 as most cats. This breed comes from mating Burmese cats with British Shorthairs, and since the parent breeds are not hypoallergenic, Bombays are also labelled as such.

Even felines of the same breed can have different concentrations of Fel d 1 in their fur, saliva, and dander. Typically, adult Bombay cats who are pregnant or unsterilised may have high concentrations of allergen in their system.

Opinions on a Bombay cat’s hypoallergenic status vary significantly. Some experts recommend this breed to allergy sufferers because they shed less, while others say it’s difficult for an allergic person to parent a Bombay because of the kitty’s needy and cuddly nature.

Can allergy sufferers handle a Bombay cat’s shedding pattern?

People tend to associate low shedding with hypoallergenic cats, but that is an ungrounded assumption as you can still be exposed to the allergens in a kitty’s urine, dander, and saliva. Cats who shed less may release fewer allergens in the environment, but even as low shedders, Bombay cats are far from ideal for allergic people.

It’s natural for Bombays to shed their dense, short-haired coats moderately throughout the year. Since their fur is super fine and lightweight, it tends to linger in the air for longer periods than the heavier fur of fluffy breeds like Maine Coons and Persians. Unless you have quality dander-reducing air purifiers running 24/7, you’ll face constant nasal irritations when living with a Bombay.

Something’s off, and it makes me sad—My hooman’s a sneeze-machine every time I demand cuddles.

Source: Patrick Carr

The temperament of Bombay cats—can cuddles hurt?

Bombay cats are not as independent as Bengals and British Shorthairs. They are sociable cats who live for interaction and would be upset if you don’t pet or cuddle with them every day.

Parenting Bombays would be challenging for allergy sufferers as these kitties have a natural tendency to lick their humans as a sign of affection. Their delicate, almost unnoticeable fur can also settle on your clothes after the cuddling session and worsen your symptoms. 

Who should avoid Bombay cats?

Allergic people may experience different levels of sensitivity to Bombay cats. People with mild allergies usually get itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose around this breed. Those with severe allergies suffer from extreme and unmanageable symptoms, such as:

  • Non-stop sneezing
  • Wheezing and cough
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Hives
  • Face swelling
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Anaphylaxis

People with moderate or severe allergies should steer clear of Bombay cats. Allergy sufferers with mild reactions can live with this breed if they take allergy medications, but using these meds long-term comes with various side effects. You can instead go for known low-allergenic cats like the Russian Blue, Siamese, Siberian, and Oriental Shorthair. Before you adopt any kitty:

  1. Spend time with them to assess your sensitivity levels
  2. Consult an allergy specialist for medical advice tailored to your condition

I adore you, hooman, but keep your distance. It's best for both of us.

Source: Nathan Riley

Living with Bombay cats and cat allergies—safety measures

If you adopt a Bombay cat, often come in contact with one, or have to share living space with someone who has one, pay attention to:

  1. Personal safety measures
  2. Environmental care
  3. Feline grooming and diet

Personal safety precautions

Check out the essentials of personal care while living with Bombay cats:

Do’s

Don’ts

  1. Use dander-removing cat wipes to clean your pet
  2. Wash your hands after engaging with your cat
  3. Consider taking allergy shots that help build Fel d 1 tolerance—consult a doctor for more info
  1. Avoid rubbing your face, nose, and eyes after touching your cat
  2. Don’t brush the cat or clean the litter box yourself—ask a family member for help
  3. Don’t let the cat lick you or use your sofa and bed

If you’re visiting someone who has a Bombay and your allergies are severe, use gloves and a mask around the cat and take allergy medications in advance. You can consider the following based on your symptoms:

Treatment

Action

Prognosis

Nasal steroid

Reduces nasal inflammation

  • Suitable if you react by sneezing
  • May irritate the mouth and throat

Antihistamine

Blocks histamine production

  • Inhibits various mild symptoms
  • May induce drowsiness

Environmental care

Reduce allergens in your living space by:

  1. Using air purifiers and vacuum cleaners with high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filters—they can remove most of the airborne dust and allergens
  2. Washing your linen and drapes with an anti-allergen laundry detergent
  3. Avoiding dust- and dander-collecting items like:
    1. Rugs
    2. Wall hangings
    3. Indoor plants
    4. Figurines
  4. Using a mask and gloves while using the vacuum cleaner (avoid dusting as it only aerosolises the allergens)
  5. Creating multiple cat-free zones by limiting your kitty to certain areas indoors

Dust collectors plus a non-allergenic kitty equals a nightmare for allergy sufferers.

Source: Inna Yatsun

Feline grooming or diet

You can minimise allergen-loaded fur from spreading with:

  1. An effective grooming regimen—Get your Bombay kitty brushed (preferably outdoors) every week. Many allergy sufferers use cat wipes on their pets every day as it’s a time-saving way to remove most of the loose fur and dander
  2. A high-protein diet—Proteins are the building blocks of your kitty’s coat and skin. A low-protein diet can cause Bombay cats to shed and throw up hairballs more frequently. Besides proteins, a Bombay would also need Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish) to prevent excessive hair loss

You can keep your kitty’s fur and skin healthy by choosing the right cat food. Go for products with:

Reduce dander production—Try Untamed

Incorporate Untamed jelly and gravy products in your Bombay cat’s daily meals. Our dishes offer 60% to 63% protein—that’s twice more than what you find in basic supermarket cat food. Untamed products are also low-fat, low-carb, and free from:

Our meals support your Bombay's overall health because we make them with human-grade whole meat. It’s rich in protein and provides essential micronutrients like taurine and vitamin E that have antioxidative properties. Kitties develop strong and gleaming coats within weeks of switching to an Untamed diet. Our food has 78%–81% moisture, so it keeps their skin hydrated, reducing flaking and dander production.

Banish the dander with Untamed and keep your kitty healthy inside and out!

Image (c) Untamed

We offer more than dander control!

Untamed recipes are formulated by vets to ensure the optimal nutrient ratio and keep cats fit and active. Let your Bombay kitty enjoy our:

  1. Allergen-free meals—We use hypoallergenic ingredients because feline food allergies accelerate dander production (by causing shedding, sneezing, vomiting, and diarrhoea)
  2. Gently steamed food—Steaming protects the nutrients in food and improves its digestibility, keeping tummy issues like retching, regurgitation, constipation, and IBS at bay
  3. Single-protein and multi-protein options—We cook premium cuts of chicken breast and liver, duck, tuna, ham, salmon, shrimp, mackerel, and sardines. If you have a freshly weaned kitten or a senior cat with stomach sensitivity, use our single-protein-source options, Tuck-in Tuna in Jelly and Chocka Chicken in Jelly
  4. Irresistible taste—Our natural aroma will disarm any kitty, including fussy ones who’ve been indifferent to wet food before

Start with an Untamed trial pack. Visit our TRY NOW page to answer a few questions about your Bombay and order a sample meal box customised to your kitty’s preferences!

Untamed can work its magic on any kitty!

Our protein-dense, grain-free meals can:

Our satisfied clients say that we have helped their kitties thrive. Here’s how they describe the Untamed effect:

Period on Untamed

What happened

A week

  • Hydrated skin
  • Fresh breath
  • Proper digestion

Two to three months

Six months and up

Making those occasional cuddles bearable—Untamed looks out for kitties with allergic owners.

Image (c) Untamed

Your Untamed trial pack is a few clicks away!

Order the trial pack from our online store and let your Bombay sample our delicacies. The steps to take are easy:

  1. Take the TRY NOW quiz
  2. Select the products
  3. Place the order

We offer the following perks to our clients:

We focus on producing and supplying cat food ethically, so we use:

  • Sustainably reared meat
  • Dolphin-safe fish
  • Recyclable cans and delivery cartons