Shedding is a normal and natural process in cats. However, keep a close eye on how much your feline friend sheds. A cat shedding excessively could mean she has underlying health issues. Understand more about the cat shedding process, its normal and abnormal causes, and tips on how to minimise it by reading on.
Do indoor cats shed seasonally?
No, there is no fixed cat shedding season for indoor felines. Shedding also varies from breed to breed. To understand why this happens, we need to learn about photoperiod.
Photoperiod equates to the number of hours cats are exposed to sunlight each day. A feline’s brain transmits signals to the hair follicles according to the amount of light it senses.
The more cats spend time under the sunlight, the more they shed. If they are exposed to less sunlight, they will grow secondary fur for insulation than shedding.
However, indoor cats are frequently subjected to artificial light and air conditioning at home. As a result, their bodies become confused and lose track of seasonal changes. Thus, cat shedding indoor can happen at any time of the year.
What about cat shedding in outdoor felines?
What months do cats shed? Cats living in the wild and outdoor cats shed twice a year. In the spring, they shed excessively to lose their winter undercoat. In autumn, heavy cat shedding happens in preparation for the growth of next winter’s undercoat.
During the winter season, outdoor and wild cats shed less. Their thick winter coats are essential in protecting and regulating their bodies from the harsh cold weather.
Since outdoor and wild cats have more exposure to sunlight, they shed more heavily compared to indoor cats.
Do Long-Haired Cats Shed More Than Short-Haired Cats?
No, technically, short-haired breeds shed just as much as long-haired breeds. However, their short and fine fur makes it hardly noticeable. With that said, “hairless” breeds, including Cornish Rex and Devon Rex, tend to shed less.
Unlike other cats, their bodies are not covered with traditional fur but a fine down coat, which resembles peach fuzz. This makes them hypoallergenic breeds and is a popular choice for cat lovers dealing with pet allergies.
Why does cat shedding happen?
Cats shed for various reasons. For now, let’s focus on the most common and harmless causes of shedding.
Normal Cat Shedding Cause #1: Removal of Dead Hair
Like humans, our feline friends also undergo periods of hair growth and hair shedding to clear away dead hair. If it is not removed, it can cause the cat’s skin to get irritated. Just note that cat shedding signifies that your feline friend is in good health, as sick cats barely shed.
Normal Cat Shedding Cause #2: Old Age
Just like any living being, cats will also experience slower metabolism as they continue to age. It can affect our furry buddy’s hair growth and removal process. Their fur may appear noticeably clumpy or matted and less pliant.
Normal Cat Shedding Cause #3: Pregnancy
Pregnant cats are low in calcium and other essential nutrients to keep their coat healthy. That’s because most of it is used to sustain their unborn kittens as well as to produce milk. As a result, noticeable hair loss may occur after giving birth and during the nursing period.
Why is my cat shedding so much in the summer?
Some cats, particularly long-haired breeds, may shed excessively during summertime in response to the season’s hot weather.
A light summer coat will replace their thick fur to keep them cool and safe from heatstroke. Thus, cat owners will need to put more effort into cleaning and vacuuming their homes during this time.
Why is my cat shedding like crazy?
If your cat is shedding large amounts of hair, be on the lookout for signs that signify that she is suffering from a health problem. Bald spots, inflamed skin, skin sores or bumps, overgrooming, rough coat texture, and vomiting cat hair frequently are big red flags.
Below are the potential reasons behind excessive cat shedding:
Abnormal Cat Shedding Cause #1: Lack of Proper Nutrition
A cat’s fur is composed of keratin, which is a type of protein. If she has insufficient amounts of protein in her meals, it can lead to poor coat quality and excessive cat shedding.
Abnormal Cat Shedding Cause #2: Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is a health problem that is caused by the overproduction of thyroid hormones. It speeds up the metabolic state in cats and leads to drastic changes in a feline’s behaviour and appearance. Excessive cat shedding and weight loss are some of the most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Abnormal Cat Shedding Cause #3: Allergic Reaction
Abnormal cat shedding can be due to allergies. It can induce atopic dermatitis or itchy skin and rashes. The most common triggers of allergic reactions in cats are fleas and environmental and food allergens.
Abnormal Cat Shedding Cause #4: Parasite Infestation
Parasites like fleas and ringworms can cause skin allergies and fungal infections. It makes a cat’s fur brittle and easy to break. This condition often comes with extreme itchiness, so cats can’t help but bite and lick the affected area. Hence, it results in more excessive cat shedding.
Abnormal Cat Shedding Cause #5: Stress and Anxiety
Cats may develop behavioural problems when they are too stressed. For instance, some felines overgroom themselves to the point of losing all their hair. Others tend to resort to self-inflicted mutilation by biting and ripping off their fur.
Is your feline friend exhibiting signs that her excessive shedding is brought on by an underlying health issue? Take her to the vet immediately. In a case like this, abnormal cat shedding can be stopped by addressing the root cause of this condition.
How can I stop my cat from shedding?
Stopping cat shedding is not possible as it naturally occurs in felines. Focus on minimising it instead. So, how to reduce cat shedding? Here are some useful tips that you can follow:
Groom your cat regularly.
Brushing and combing your cat frequently helps remove dead and loose hairs. It will also reduce the amount of hair that sticks around your home, effectively lowering the necessity to vacuum and clean constantly.
How often you brush your cat will depend on the length of her coat. Long-haired breeds such as the Maine Coon and Persian cats need daily brushing to prevent matting. Medium-haired breeds, including the Japanese Bobtail and Manx, should be brushed twice or thrice a week.
Thick-coated short-haired breeds such as the Scottish Fold and American Shorthair require weekly brushing. Short-haired single-coated breeds like the Cornish Rex and Siamese are fine with a monthly brushing.
When brushing your cat, make sure to comb in the same direction as the fur. This removes mats and tangles, at the same time, prevents accidentally pulling her hairs out.
Deep mats are difficult to remove, so you might need to carefully trim them off with scissors. If you are not confident in doing this task, leave it to the groomer.
Make sure to find cat food for shedding control. Experts suggest that owners should choose one that contains around 45% of protein on a dry matter basis.
Check the ingredients list to make sure that it is made up of animal-based protein sources such as fish, pork, beef, lamb, and venison. That’s because animal-based proteins are easily digested by cats than plant-based proteins.
Note: Dry matter basis can be calculated by:
Your cat’s food should also contain ample amounts of healthy fats. It should be made up of 25–35% on a dry matter basis. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are highly beneficial in reducing cat shedding and improving your cat’s coat and skin quality. The cat food should have omega fatty acid-rich ingredients such as salmon, mackerel, or oil.
Cat shedding can be reduced by keeping your furry feline well-hydrated. It will improve the overall quality of her skin and coat and maintain the function of her vital organs.
Making your feline friend drink water can be a bit of a challenge. Cats are known to rarely drink and hydrate themselves. Another of their quirks is avoiding still-water sources since they might be contaminated.
Encourage your cat to drink more water by gradually adding wet food to his meals. One can of wet food contains 3.85–4.4 ounces of water, and this is half the amount of their recommended daily water intake.
If possible, consider using a cat water fountain than a regular water bowl. That’s because running water is more enticing for cats and tastes better for them.
If you opt to use a regular water bowl, choose one made of stainless steel, stoneware, or ceramic. It should be wide, shallow, and elevated as it is easier for them to drink. Placing multiple water bowls around your home is advised as well.