Are Tonkinese Cats Hypoallergenic? A Guide for Allergic Owners

Tonkinese cats have short, silky, and close-lying fur. So are Tonkinese cats hypoallergenic? Despite their low shedding nature, this breed isn’t 100% hypoallergenic – no cat is, though. Take note that the length of the cat’s fur isn’t a determinant of how hypoallergenic it will be. Also, all cats can trigger allergies in different intensities.

Are Tonkinese cats hypoallergenic?

are Tonkinese cats hypoallergenic

Tonkinese cats are often branded as a hypoallergenic breed. The truth is it’s not and no cat is absolutely hypoallergenic.

Let me put this in context so you will understand how cat allergies work.

Cat allergies are triggered by a protein called Fel D1. This is commonly found on a feline’s saliva and spread all over its coat through grooming.

When a cat sheds fur and dander, its Fel D1 proteins will also shed together with it. If an allergic or asthmatic person inhales such dander, he or she may suffer from an attack.

Take note that some cats produce more Fel D1 than other breeds. This is the reason why some cat breeds seem to be hypoallergenic.

In general, the short-haired Tonkinese is tolerable for those with cat allergies. Still, you should conduct your research and consult with a veterinarian to know if a Tonkinese will be tolerable for your level of allergy.


Factors that affect Fel D1 production in cats

The amount of Fel D1 a Tonkinese produces is dependent on some factors. The following are some of the affecting factors:

  • Color. Dark-coated felines are more likely to produce more Fel D1 than lighter colors. Experts are yet to find an explanation for this.
  • Gender. Male cats are observed to secrete more allergens than females. This is an important consideration if you’re planning to get a cat, Tonkinese or not.
  • Age. Kittens produce fewer allergens than grown cats. This is largely because of the cat’s skin area. The smaller the cat is, the smaller the skin will be.
  • Sexual. Experts found that intact male cats produce more allergens than their fixed counterparts on the same breed.

Cat breeds that produce the least allergens

If you’re looking for a pet cat with tolerable allergen level, you should consider the following breeds:

  • Tonkinese. Tonks have short fur and they are observed to produce minimal dander. With regular brushing and periodic bathing, the Tonkinese breed will not trigger your allergies. Overall, this breed is also easy to groom.
  • Sphynx. Since the Sphynx cat has no fur, there’s no way for their Fel D1 allergens to spread. They are one of the most hypoallergenic cats, but take note that they are not for first-time owners.
  • Devox Rex. The Devon Rex is lauded for being a low-shedding feline. They are also small so their bodies only produce very minimal allergens.
  • Cornish Rex. This playful cousin of the Devon Rex is also considered hypoallergenic. This kitty has a single coat layer so it only sheds a third of fur of what other felines would produce.
  • Bengal. These feisty kitties are good options for those who have allergies. They produce very little dander, not to mention that they have such a beautiful coat pattern.

Cat breeds that produce a lot of allergens

While cats are cute and precious, some of them produce a lot of allergens. If you have allergies, you may want to steer clear of these cat breeds:

  • Persian. On a sneeze scale, this cat breed hits the ceiling. Its lush fur is a strong catalyst in the spread of allergens. Persian cats shed a lot and their thick fur can harbor a lot of Fel D1 from their saliva.
  • British Longhair. Its name already indicates the havoc this cat’s fur can do to your allergies. This kitty sheds a lot, not to mention that it’s high-maintenance.
  • Maine Coon. With its large size and a lush coat, the sight of a Maine Coon is enough to scare an allergic person. If you have cat allergies, this is definitely a breed to avoid.
  • Norwegian Forest. Like Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats are large and high-shedding. It’s not the best breed for those with reactive allergies.
  • Himalayan. This kitty is heavily boned and high-shedding at the same time. Their long and fluffy coat is a menace for anyone with cat allergies. 

Grooming a Tonkinese to reduce allergens

If you have allergies, there’s still a way for you and your Tonkinese to live harmoniously. The key here is managing the cat’s dander and shedding.

Below, I discussed the things you need to do to ensure that this kitty’s allergens are always at bay:

🐱Trim the nails

Before you perform any grooming task, you should first trim the claws of your Tonkinese. This kitty is feisty and not a big fan of grooming. You may end up with deep scratches if you leave their nails sharp.

You should never use a clipper for human fingernails. It’s best to get a pet nail trimmer since it’s made safe for a cat’s claws. It will also prevent you from hitting the feline’s quick.

The quick is a blood vessel on dogs and cats’ claws. For felines, this is often the pink part of the nail right where it meets the skin. This is very sensitive and should never be trimmed. If you happen to trim the quick, it will bleed profusely and cause pain on your Tonkinese.

You must trim your Tonk’s claws bit by bit. This will prevent you from hitting the quick. Some will also sedate their Tonkinese to avoid wiggly behavior.

If you don’t have a trimmer yet, I swear by the Dremel 7300-PT. This is one of the first Dremels in the market that’s been tried and tested by many pet owners. It has a rotary sand tip that grinds – not cut –  the cat’s nails. This prevents the risk of clipping the quick or cutting your Tonkinese during a sudden movement.

🐱Regular brushing

are Tonkinese cats hypoallergenic

Weekly brushing is important to manage a Tonkinese’s shedding and allergens. Since its coat is short, this breed is very easy to maintain.

For Tonks, you need a soft-bristled brush to prevent irritating the skin. You should also check for lumps, cysts, and hotspots along the way. Another thing you should be watchful of is fleas, which will look like dark specks on your Tonk’s coat.

By brushing, you can remove loose fur even before it drops on the floor and spreads the allergen.

The Mars Professional Grooming Brush is an excellent option here. It’s made with black boar bristles with a beechwood handle stained using lacquer. You can get this in different sizes to suit your hand size and Tonkinese.

Tonkinese cats don’t really need frequent baths. They can get by without getting a bath for a year. Unless your Tonk is dirty and smelly, you can give it a quick bath. But for the most part, this breed is clean and will not need a lot of grooming.

🐱Clean the eyes

are Tonkinese cats hypoallergenic

While their eyes aren’t a source of allergen, it’s still important to clean this part of your Tonkinese’s body. Many Tonks have dark facial color so their tear stains may not be easily visible. Still, you will notice wetness under the eyes, which is an indication of dirt.

You can use a damp towel to wipe off any muck and dirt under your Tonkinese’s eyes. Remember that you should never touch the cat’s eyeballs because it will hurt a lot.

If the eye boogers are deep-seated, you can use eye wipes. This is formulated to lift the most stubborn eye dirt without irritating the kitty.

🐱Clean the ears

 A Tonkinese’s ears are always raised and alert. And even though this kitty is often kept as an indoor cat, their ears still get dirty. You must clean it properly to avoid ear infections and the production of allergens. If there’s a bad smell coming from your cat’s ears, it’s a sign that an infection is underway.

To prevent infection,  regular cleaning is a must. First, you need a pet ear cleaner, a few cotton balls, and paper towels.

First, apply some ear cleaner on the cotton ball and wipe the outer layer of your Tonkinese’s ears. After that, squirt a small amount of ear cleaner into the ear. Massage your Tonk’s ears to spread the solution and help it clean more. After a minute or two, use another cotton ball to wipe the excess solution. You will finish this off with another quick wipe using a paper towel.


How much do Tonkinese cats shed?

Tonkinese cats are low shedding, which is why they are a good fit for households with allergic members. Still, proper grooming is necessary to curb the allergens that may trigger irritations to other people.

As compared to long-haired cats, Tonkinese kitties are easier to maintain. Their short coat doesn’t cause a big mess on furniture and your floor.

Nevertheless, you shouldn’t neglect the coat of your Tonkinese. While this breed isn’t prone to matting, failure to brush its fur will make the shedding go out of hand. This is something you wouldn’t like to happen if you have cat allergies.


Can I shave my Tonkinese cat?

No, shaving your Tonkinese cat for the sake of controlling its allergen production is not advisable. Shaving the kitty will not stop its body from producing Fel D1. As long as your Tonk is grooming itself, it will spread potential allergens. And once their skin molts, the allergen-ridden dander will go airborne.

Since Tonkinese cats produce very little allergens, it’s not necessary to shave their coat. Besides, their fur is too short and rarely needs a trim.


Will my Tonkinese get cold easily during a bath?

Due to their short coats, Tonkinese cats can get cold easily during a bath. If you need to bathe the kitty, prepare war – not hot! – water. This will prevent hypothermia, especially on cold days.

It’s important to dry the kitty right after bathing. Your bathing session should also be quick to limit the cat’s exposure to water and the cold temperature that comes with it. However, I don’t recommend blow-drying the cat because the wind will just make your pet chilly.

Take note that Tonkinese cats don’t need frequent baths. As long as the kitty doesn’t smell and not dirty, you don’t need to bathe them.


Will my Tonkinese cat smell?

All cats will smell at some point, especially if they are not groomed properly. Most Tonks will not stink if kept as an indoor cat. You should also brush its coat weekly to remove any dirt that may cause a foul smell. You should also wipe any excess moisture off your cat’s coat to prevent bacteria from proliferating on it.

However, if your Tonkinese cat has an unusual odor on specific parts of its body, it’s best to bring it to the vet. A foul smell on the ears, breath, and coat may indicate an infection. However, if the smell is coming from your Tonk’s rear, it might be a case of unexpressed anal glands. A pet groomer can fix this problem easily.


Do Tonkinese cats like water?

This may come as a surprise, but Tonkinese cats tend to be curious about water. They are often amenable to baths and could be found playing on a puddle. With this, you should secure your aquariums and fishbowls.

Tonks like water because they use it to cool down during a hot day. It’s also a source of entertainment for them, especially if there are moving objects.


Can a Tonkinese develop allergies?

Like any cats, your Tonkinese cat can also develop allergies. If your Tonk exhibits an adverse reaction to a specific food, objects, or smell, it’s best to have it checked at the vet’s clinic. This way, you can limit the allergen to improve your cat’s quality of life.


Final words

Are Tonkinese cats hypoallergenic? While there’s no 100% hypoallergenic cat, Tonks are known to produce less dander and allergens. They make good options for those who are quite sensitive to felines. However, you should be prepared to put up with its energy level, bold personality, and needs. It’s also important to know that Tonkinese cats are not the easiest to come by at the shelter. You should look for a reputable breed for a healthy kitten.

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