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Are Calico Cats Hypoallergenic Or Bad For Allergy Sufferers?

Are Calico Cats Hypoallergenic Or Bad For Allergy Sufferers?

Calico cats are gorgeous and not so common to see. So, I believe many cat fanciers would like to own this type of cat. 

I also believe that all of you cat lovers suffering from pet allergies would first like to know whether calico cats are hypoallergenic.

Unfortunately, these cats are not considered hypoallergenic. Still, they might not be the worst option for allergy sufferers.

Let’s dive more deep into this issue.

Calico Cats Are Not Hypoallergenic Cats

Calico Cat is sitting on the wall

Since calico is not a breed of cat, but only an expression of their coat color, explaining whether these cats are hypoallergenic is somewhat tricky.

First of all, some breeds are more likely to have calico coats. These breeds are the following:

• American Shorthair

• British Shorthair

• Cornish Rex

• Devon Rex

• Exotic Shorthair

• Japanese Bobtail

• Maine Coon

• Norwegian Forest Cat

• Persian

• Scottish Fold

• Turkish Angora

There is no guarantee for calico coats in cats; it is not like a breeder can determine their Maine Coon or Devon Rex cat will be a calico cat! This is about genetics, and there is no possibility of deliberately breeding a calico cat.

The Cornish Rex is a cat known as not likely to cause allergic reactions in humans. On the other hand, Persian Cat and Maine Coon are not an equally good option for allergy sufferers.

Furthermore, calico cats such as Turkish Angora and Norwegian Forest cat are a far better choice than Persican or Maine Coon cat for people with pet allergies.

But, in general, the answer would be – no, calico cats are not hypoallergenic.

Still, They Are Less Likely To Trigger Allergic Reactions

Due to the unique chromosome combination responsible for their tri-color coat, calico cats are almost always females.

Male calico cats are extremely rare. A study published in the Journal of allergy and clinical immunology [1] found that Fel d 1 protein production is higher in male than in female cats. This protein is responsible for allergy triggering in humans.

Therefore, since calico cats are mostly females – they are less likely to trigger allergic reactions in humans in general.

See Also: How Much Is A Male Calico Cat Worth?

Should You Get A Calico Cat If You Suffer From Allergies?

Calico Cat in the bathroom

Although calico cats are not hypoallergenic, this doesn’t mean you should avoid having this type of cat – even if you are allergic.

There are some ways you can control your allergies. So, this might be useful for all allergic people struggling with the decision whether or not to get a calico cat. 

Let’s see what you can do to decrease allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, or watery eyes – caused by having a calico cat in your home.

See Also: 3 Reasons Why A Cat Keeps Sneezing But Seems Fine

1. Bathe Your Cat Often

I’m sure you all know bathing your indoor cat too often is not usually necessary. However, this is different with calico cats and allergy sufferers.

Regular bathing can decrease the concentration of allergen by up to 84% [2], therefore, this is crucial information for all people with allergies who would like to own one of these felines. The best would be to bathe your calico cat once a week.

Of course, always use a pet shampoo when bathing your cat. You should even avoid using baby shampoo on your cat, since cat’s pH levels are more neutral than humans’.

Also, always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after you bathe your cat.

2. Sterilize Your Cat

All cats produce allergens, but some produce a lot of more allergens than others.

According to the Veterinary Medical Center in Ohio [2], sterilized cats produce less allergens than intact cats.

Therefore, by sterilizing your calico cat, you will decrease the chance of your allergy symptoms to appear.

If you don’t want your cat to reproduce – this is an additional reason to consider sterilization!

3. Use An Air Purifier

This is a great way to control the spread of allergens in your home.

The best would be to put an air purifier in the room where your cat spends most of her time.

4. Medical Help Might Also Be Necessary

If you have more severe allergy symptoms, and previous steps don’t seem to be helping, and you still want to live with a calico cat – then it’s time for you to look for some medicine.

Allergy immunotherapy will be of help for many people. Still, if your allergy symptoms impair the quality of your life, I think the best idea for you would be not to have a calico cat.

In fact, it would be better for you not to have a pet at all, since a lifestyle of constant vacuuming and keeping your cat in one room in the house all the time, can get to be quite exhausting.

Are There Any Hypoallergenic Cats At All?

Calico Cat with green eyes lying on cardboard scratch board

Any human with an allergy knows how hard this can get to be. If you are a cat fancier, but you or some of your family members are allergic to cats, of course, you are afraid of an allergic reaction with having a cat inside your home.

Cat allergies are indeed quite a problem nowadays. According to a study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery [3], up to 10-20% of humans globally are allergic to cats.

No wonder so many cat fanciers would love to get a hypoallergenic cat!

Many people believe that shorthaired cats are more likely to be hypoallergenic cats. Here is news for you: short haired cats shed, too! Also, there is one important thing to know.

Cat’s fur is not the main thing that triggers allergic reactions in humans. People allergic to cats react to the protein Fel d 1, which is found in the skin, saliva, and even in cat urine. 

Since cats spend half their days licking their fur, this protein from the saliva dries into light bristles that are airborne and end up on your furniture, clothing, or your skin – where they can linger for days.

Unfortunately, a 100% hypoallergenic cat doesn’t exist. Even hairless cat breeds, such as the Spyhnx cat, still produce proteins that can cause an allergic reaction in humans.

Some cats are simply less likely to trigger allergies in humans.

Read Also: 6 Explanations For Why Do Cats Shed So Much


Calico cats are not hypoallergenic, but this does not mean you should instantly give up on having this type of cat even if you struggle with allergies.

There are ways to keep allergies at bay, such as bathing your cat often, and using an air purifier.

However, there is no way to completely prevent a calico cat from spreading allergens.

Therefore – people with allergies might still live with a calico cat, but I would not recommend this to people manifesting severe allergy symptoms. 


[1] Jalil-Colome, J, Sex difference in Fel d 1 allergen production. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1996 Jul;98(1):165-8. DOI, Retrieved March 16, 2023.

[2] Allergic to your cat? Easy tips to prevent and control your allergy. DOI, Retrieved March 16, 2023.
[3] Sparkes, AH: Human allergy to cats: A review of the impact on cat ownership and relinquishment. J Feline Med Surg. 2022 Jan; 24(1): 43–52. DOI, Retrieved March 16, 2023.

Read Next: 5 Interesting Facts About The Calico Cat Temperament