Most pet parents are all too familiar with the never-ending battle against cat fur. It seems to get into every nook and cranny of the house! So, why does your cat shed so much, and what can you do about it?
In this article, you’ll learn all about shedding, related health issues and how to manage it.
Table of Contents
- Shedding Is Natural
- Coat Length & Lifestyle Affect Shedding
- Health Issues May Cause More Shedding
- Does Your Cat Shed Too Much? How Should You Manage It?
- Summary – Why Does My Cat Shed So Much?
- Related Posts
Shedding Is Natural
First of all, it’s key to understand that shedding in cats is natural. The shedding process removes dead, individual hairs and releases natural oils that help your cat’s skin. In fact, if dead hair isn’t removed via grooming and doesn’t shed, it’ll cause skin irritation.
Here’s a bit of background on feline coats. They have multiple layers, and some breeds have an additional undercoat for warmth. All felines, long-haired or short-haired, have a guard layer. This guard layer has longer, coarser hairs that are water-resistant and prickle when the cat sees a threat. They also protect the layer below, which is the soft down or undercoat. The undercoat regulates body temperature.
This soft undercoat is usually the culprit behind matting. That’s because it may shed but get trapped behind the guard hairs. Of course, cats usually do a fine job removing hairs that have shed, but pet owners can assist with a comb or brush.
All coat layers shed naturally. The amount that’s shed depends on the breed, age, and season. Most kitties have one or two shedding cycles per year. They’ll shed heavily for three to eight weeks, then regrow hair over the next few months.
Now, those two cycles usually correlate with spring and fall, but it might differ for 100% indoor cats. Your stay-at-home furry friend enjoys AC in the summer and heat in the winter, so her system might be confused. The result? Well, it could mean nonstop shedding.
Coat Length & Lifestyle Affect Shedding
Long-haired cats tend to shed more than their short-haired friends. The simple reason is long-haired cats have more fur, resulting in more shedding. Their lengthy coats also require more grooming, something to keep in mind if you’re considering adopting one!
Also, some lifestyle factors like food quality, age, pregnancy and stress levels may also affect the amount your cat sheds. Let’s take a closer look at each factor below.
A poor diet means less nutrition for kitties to support hair growth and maintenance. Cat hair is made up of protein, so if your cat’s diet doesn’t have enough protein, it could lower her coat quality. Healthy fats are another dietary factor that helps prevent over-the-top hair loss. Omega-3 and omega-6 are examples of these healthy fats, and they’re found in a balanced diet. If you improve your cat’s diet, it may take a few weeks to notice a difference in her coat.
Elderly cats undergo hormonal changes and also groom themselves less. Both of these situations cause more shedding. The individual hairs become frailer and more prone to clumping. Help your senior kitty by providing regular, gentle brushing sessions.
Is your feline friend pregnant? Hormones that arise during pregnancy may lead to higher than normal shedding rates. More hair than usual will shed from a soon-to-be mother’s stomach to make way for nursing kittens.
A cat who constantly feels scared or stressed is prone to hair loss caused by too much muscle tension.
If you noticed that your cat suddenly started shedding a lot, ask yourself if there have been any changes to her environment. Did you introduce a new household member or pet? Change homes? Shift from working at home to working away? Any of these can cause your kitty to feel uncomfortable or stressed.
Health Issues May Cause More Shedding
So, we’ve already determined that shedding is normal for cats. However, excessive shedding might sound the alert for underlying health issues.
Allergies or hormonal imbalances might lead to above-average shedding. In some cases, severe shedding could be caused by a skin or coat issue like parasites, infections, or other diseases.
See your vet as soon as possible if you notice excessive shedding, surprising changes in shedding patterns, bald patches, or other skin issues. Your vet will find out if there’s an underlying health issue. From there, you can provide proper treatment to get your cat healthy again!
Find out about common Ragdoll health issues
Does Your Cat Shed Too Much? How Should You Manage It?
Shedding can’t be stopped altogether, nor should it. However, there are a few ways to manage it.
Grooming is a highly effective way to manage shedding. That’s because it helps remove loose fur while preventing mats and tangles. So, brush your cat every week or so with a brush or comb designed for her coat type. You may even use a de-shedding tool during shedding season, but check with your vet before doing so.
As mentioned previously, another way to manage shedding is through diet. Feeding your cat the high-quality, balanced diet she deserves helps improve her skin and coat health. Again, talk to your vet about diet to pinpoint any nutritional gaps.
The final key to managing shedding is knowing how to live with it! Cats shed, and as pet parents, we must be okay with that. As long as you know your cat is shedding at a normal level, all that’s left to do is vacuum, sweep or wipe away that fur.
If you have a long-haired kitty (like a Ragdoll cat) or one that naturally sheds more, consider using washable furniture covers.
Keep your home relatively clear of cat hair to prevent bugs and help your kitty live in a safe environment. You may even consider professional groomers to help the in-house shedding stay at a minimum.
Summary – Why Does My Cat Shed So Much?
Hopefully, you’re feeling more comfortable about shedding. Remember, it’s normal for all cats to shed. Just keep an eye out for abnormal shedding, and speak to a vet if necessary, and your kitty will stay healthy.
Does your cat shed excessively? Do you know why it sheds so much? Please tell me about your experiences or ask a question about cat shedding in the comment section at the bottom of this article.
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