The truth about the cat's shedding is that every cat lover must accept it because this is a normal, natural event in a cat’s life. Even humans have periods of hair growth and shedding of hair. Shedding is how animals replenish their fur and keep it in good condition.
Cats in the wild generally shed their coats twice a year, in the spring to lose the heavy winter undercoat and in fall in preparation for the "grow-in" of the next winters' undercoat. However, since we have domesticated cats and subjected them to air-conditioning in summer and artificial heat in winter, their systems have been confused enough to put them into a constant shedding state.
Cats shed to remove dead hair from their bodies. Dead hair can cause skin irritation and thus needs to be removed. If you do not remove it for them, they will release it on their own.
Hair shedding is considered a sign of health in the cat because sick cats do not shed. It happens for different reasons, but basically, it depends on the time your cat spends outdoors or whether your cat is purely an indoor cat. The shedding is largely influenced by daylight, and this is called “photoperiod”. The number of hours a cat is exposed to sunlight in a day (photoperiod) triggers the shedding process. Also, shedding varies considerably with the breed and husbandry practices (i.e. bathing, grooming, activities, etc.).
Indoor cats shed at any time of the year. The amount of shedding hair is less than the outdoor cats due to the artificial light inside the house, but it also depends on the control of the constant temperature in your home.
The outdoor cats shed in the spring and fall when the days start to lengthen and there is more sunlight. You will not see much, if any, shedding of your outdoor cat during the winter months because they naturally will hold on to all their fur to use as thermal protection from the cold conditions.
Cat breeds that don't shed
Two cat breeds are often touted as shedding a minimal amount - the Cornish Rex that has short, curly fur that lies close to her body, and the Devon Rex that is similar and has curly fur that can be in a very thin coat across the cat's body. Because of their very short and fine fur, their shedding is not usually noticeable, but they also shed.
The only cats that do not shed fur are the purebred hairless cats, such as the Sphynx. This unusual cat is not totally hairless. She has a fine down on her body, rather like the fuzz on a peach. Some people say the skin of a Sphynx feels like suede or chamois. This breed is rare and it needs a special kind of care, but they are a great choice for people with allergies.
How to deal with cat’s shedding
Shedding in cats can be controlled with frequent brushing and combing. Daily brushing and combing remove loose and dead hair and help keep a cat’s skin and coat healthy. The cats with healthy fur coats tend to shed a bit less.
Start brushing your cat slowly, keep the sessions short and positive and always stop before your cat protests. Using food treats can help make the situation pleasant and help your cat learn to enjoy the situation. As your cat learns to enjoy the sessions, you can make them longer. Brushing helps remove dead hair, and therefore the cat will be less likely to shed in your home.
When you comb your cat, comb her carefully in hair growth direction to smooth the coat and remove any minor knots or tangles. If the coat has a particularly stubborn knot or tangle, you may have to trim it off with scissors. For longhaired cats, begin with a wide-tooth comb and follow up with a fine-tooth comb. To avoid injury, if your cat's coat has severe matting, consult a veterinarian.
Whether purebred or mixed breed, a key to good brushing lies in the length of a cat’s coat. Cat with a very short, single coat similar to the Siamese, Burmese and Cornish rex needs very little brushing. The dense-coated shorthaired cats like American shorthairs, British shorthairs and Scottish folds require a monthly brushing session. Semi-longhaired cats resembling Maine coons should be combed and bathed even more regularly. Cats with long, flowing coats resembling the Persian should be combed and have their faces cleaned at least every other day, and they should be bathed weekly or bi-weekly.
Combing and brushing have so many advantages:
- more frequently you brush your cat and remove dead and loose hair from her body yourself, she will not shed;
- they will reduce the occurrence of hairballs, especially in the longer-haired breeds;
- keep cat's coat smooth and free from mats - little clumps of fur that sometimes form;
- it is a wonderful form of interaction for both you and your cat, and can be a wonderful bonding occupation;
- allow you to keep an eye on your cat's coat and skin for potential problems, such as parasites and skin conditions etc.
Other ways to reduce cat’s shedding is to keep your cat healthy and feed her quality cat food. You should feed your cat with nutritionally complete and balanced cat food with all the nutrients a cat requires for healthy skin and hair coat. Some products on the market can be applied to your cat’s hair coat to reduce daily shedding. There are vitamins derived from fish oils, available at pet shops and veterinarians, which can also help. They provide omega-3 fatty acids that strengthen the coat. Also available are topical sprays, which alter and reduce the shedding cycle.
If the heavy shedding is consistent throughout the year, the cats may have food sensitivity or a dust allergy. In extreme shedding cases, when your cat is actually sick from excessive hair balls, some veterinarians recommend shaving the cat three to four times a year. But In both cases, you should consult with your veterinarian to determine the cause of such shedding.
We adopted a PAIR: Brother & Sister; Domestic Longhaired Tigers (Grey.....). Handsome lil Stinkers that have started 'POOFTING' around the apartment (Seemingly.....)w/each step. It's all part of thee LOVE that comes w/th DEAL. Respect Folks.
our longer haired cat has not gotten used to brushing yet and fights it
I had a Maine Coon and he needed to be brushes several times a day. His fur was quite a lot of work to maintain in a mat-free state.
This article inspires me to brush my cats more. A couple of them have hairball issues and I see this would really help.
Oh thank you for all these great tips on shedding! Our cats love to be brushed...so that does help...and such a fun one on one way to spend time with your cats!
This is a really interesting post with great tips. I had no idea a sick cat will not shed!
It's interesting to read that heavy, year-round shedding could be a food sensitivity or dust allergy. The article also brought up another interesting point about indoor cats' shedding being affected by the amount of artificial light they're exposed to and a constant temperature being indoors. From experience, I've learned that older cats tend to have problems with their hair matting and not so much shedding. They tend not to groom themselves as much as they age and their skin gets drier.
I love cats, but shedding is the worst part. I brush my cat and vacuum a lot. Hair in the bed is the worst. Usually we keep our chairs covered for easier de-furring.
my 2 females shed like crazy, its a good thing they both love to be brushed unlike there brother!
Love all the facts! I never realized that sick cats don't shed.
This is terrific information for me. I did not know that hair shedding is considered a sign of health in the cat, because sick cats do not shed.
I didn't know that sick cats don't shed. Guess my cats are all healthy because there is plenty of cat hair around!
Brushing makes a world of difference with hairballs! Plus my fur babies love it.
I need to brush my cats' hair more often. A couple of them get hairballs, plus I learned here how good it is for them.
I currently live with sleek, short-haired cats who love to be brushed, thank heavens.
Love all the facts! Thanks for sharing!
We have two brother kitties, they were born in our garage, 6 years ago. One of the kitties loves me to brush him, and never wants me to stop, the other brother isn't as wild about being brushed, but let's me do it for very short periods of time. I was surprised to learn about the 2 breeds of cats that don't shed; very interesting!
It's sad that some people adopt cats and dogs from shelters and then return them because they shed, tear up things in the house, or have accidents in the house. Understanding that pets shed before you make the decision to adopt is important. Shedding, accidents on the carpet, or scratching or chewing on things just comes with the territory when you have pets.
I do watch my cats' shedding carefully. I have actually become aware of one of my cats developing kidney issues when she started shedding in clumps. I also worry about fur balls, so I try to brush them frequently to keep the fur balls down.
I am aware that all pets shed to some extent but feel like the pros outway the cons on pet ownership. I do love reading about ways to improve pet ownership, including pet hair issues.
Great, helpful article. All of my cats love being brushed. I got them used to it when they were babies.
Mostly my wife takes care of our two cats, they don't shed too much. There are some particular parts of the year that are heavier than others. We do have grooming brushes and use them occasionally.
Great advice regarding: Start brushing your cat slowly, keep the sessions short and positive and always stop before your cat protests.
This point also stood out for me. We have two cats (litter brothers but with different fathers). One cat is a long hair orange & white tabby and the other a short haired reddish-black. Although the need for regular brushing is clear for both their temperament/ tolerance for it differs. Since they eat raw meat both have full thick coats with the long haired brother requiring a slower pace and shorter sessions (lest he gets snappy). Perhaps we haven\'t found the perfect brush for him yet. The wire brush is good for the thick hair but too scratchy on his back. And the solid metal grooming brush (more like a comb) which is perfect for our short haired cat just tugs too much on the long haired bro.
With 7 cats in my home there is a lot of shedding. I comb them regularly and this really seems to help.
My cat Jingles has a lot of fur but to be honest with you I've never seen her shed if she has its been very little to where we haven't noticed
That's a very interesting article about addressing cat shedding.
My ultra-crotchety shorthaired cat actually LOVED being brushed even though she hated being petted. I used to have to brush her every day to keep her happy.
I have gotten my cats used to regular brushings since they were kittens. I didn't want them to fight it later so I started early.
I didn't realize dead hair caused skin irritation in cats. My cat used to like being brushed to remove excess hair, but now they don't want to sit to be brushed anymore, despite being very careful with how I brush and trying different brushes. It's interesting about how indoor cats shedding is different from outdoor cats.
Thanks for the info
My cat sheds a lot, and he hates being brushed most of the time. Once in a while he\'ll tolerate it for a few minutes and then he\'ll attack the brush. :)
My two Persians cats shed like crazy, I find this blog very helpful.\r\nThank You!
My cat sheds like crazy! Thanks for the great post!
Fortunately for me my cat buddy is a short-hair because she hates brushing. I\'ve tried three different kinds of brushes and she just loves to attack them. I can brush her for about 10 seconds and that\'s about it. It\'s interesting what you wrote about a/c and heat changing them to shedding all year round which I have found to be true.
thanks for the advice!
Great information! We are searching shelters now for a cat for our daughter. It\'s another thing she will have to remember when choosing her next pet!
My medium long-haired cat seems to shed less that my two short haired cats. Luckily, the two short haired cats love to be brushed.
this is great. i have two cats and soooo much hair everywhere
My cats love to be brush!
Fortunately the shedding is not too bad with my kitty and he loves being brushed
Helpful article, especially the tip on keeping the brushing sessions short & positive and stopping before the cats protests.I have two cats (litter brothers but w/different fathers). One cat is a long hair orange & white tabby and the other a short haired reddish-black. Although the need for regular brushing is clear each cat has a different temperament/ tolerance for it. The short haired cat loves brushing; the long haired isn\'t happy with it and has more hairballs. Perhaps we haven\'t found the perfect brush for him yet. The wire brush is good for the thick hair but too scratchy on his back. And the solid metal grooming brush (more like a comb) which is perfect for our short haired cat just tugs too much on the long haired bro. We need to find gold-i-locks a brush that\'s "just right"!
Thanks for the great advice. Will definitely start to brushing my cats more frequently.
Found you! Hope you can enlighten me. My boy is an older, outdoor tabby. Sheds like crazy, and brushed regularly. New this summer are tangled knots of hair (kind of like cotton balls) on his back near tail. No way will they come loose when brushed. This is a hot summer and he’s wearing a heavy winter coat! Please help!
My cat is 2 years old this year, I am happy that she is pregnant with her first litter, I see that her latest change is to use a lot of furs, her hair is flying all over my room and even reaching my clothes, I think the main reason for hair loss is hormonal changes caused by pregnancy.
My beautiful black cat is 16 I adopted her 3 years ago when her owner\r\nside.I brush her many times each day which she loves. She was always shedding\r\nMasses of hair but about 4 weeks ago it all stopped.She has a lovely silky shiny\r\ncoat. I wonder if this means she is unwell, she also hardly eats now. Could she be\r\ndying? She is very needy and always wants to have my attention ! Age 16 and called Jessica
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