Cleaning up fur can be a real bummer, especially if your cat is shedding like crazy. But that’s just part of a cat’s nature.
It’s a different story, though, if it happens too often and excessively. If you’re finding cat hair everywhere (enough to make another cat), you might wonder: why is my cat shedding so much?
Humans shed hair all the time. In fact, it’s considered normal. Losing fifty to a hundred dead hair each day is pretty common, but shedding over 200 is a cause for concern.
What about cats? Why do cats shed? When is it considered normal, and when is it considered excessive? If you’re among the many cat owners with these questions in mind, read on.
We’re here to give you the whats, whys, and hows behind your cat’s shedding and more.
Cat Shedding: What You Need To Know
If you’ve chosen to have a furry cat, expect to find loose hair all over your place – from the floor to the couch and beddings, and even your clothes. That’s just how it goes.
Same with humans and dogs, cat’s shed to get rid of unnecessary, dead hair. Apart from that, your cat’s shedding can also be attributed to the following:
Season. Outdoor cats tend to shed more around spring and fall. The shedding of cat fur prepares your cat’s body for the rise and drop in temperature when the seasons change.
A cat’s fur molts to get rid of the heavy winter undercoat in spring. This preps them up for the coming warm weather. On the one hand, cats lose hair in fall to get ready for the grow-in of the heavier winter coat. The fluffy and dense winter coat will serve as additional insulation for the colder months.
Exposure to sunlight. Your cat’s shedding is largely influenced by the amount of daylight it’s exposed to. As such, the shorter days during fall can trigger the thickening of your cat’s coat (the undercoat, to be exact).
However, indoor cats shed less than cats that roam free outdoors. They also shed at any given time of the year. This is because of their exposure to artificial light, heat, and air conditioning – things that can faze your cat’s biological system.
Breed. If you think that long-haired cats shed more than cats with short hair, think again. Some cats with short hair can shed more than those with long hair.
So, if you’re allergic and looking for a cat that sheds less, it’s best to choose based on breed instead of hair length. Certain breeds shed less than others.
Obviously, the Sphynx is part of the list since they’re naturally hairless. Besides the Sphynx, Burmese, Birman, and Siamese cats are also known to shed less.
How To Know If Shedding Is Normal Or A Medical Problem
Shedding is normal for most cats. However, there are cases wherein your furry friend is shedding more loose hairs than usual.
As a cat owner, you know your cats best. You’d know when your cat is shedding too much. However, you might want to get help and contact your vet if your cat exhibits the following behavior and conditions:
Excessive Grooming. Cat grooming is a big part of a cat’s day-to-day activities. In fact, cats groom 30-50% of their waking hours. However, this becomes a problem when your cat’s licking and scratching start to affect the quality of its life.
If you’re a pet owner with a cat that tends to lose interest in other things like eating or playtime and grooming excessively, consider this a red flag and get in touch with your vet.
Hair Loss. Shedding is considered excessive when bald spots start to appear in your cat’s coat. Its underlying cause can range from something as mild as a harmless, in-born skin condition to something severe like an immune system problem.
Other Symptoms. If your cat’s excess shedding is accompanied by other symptoms like skin problems (think sores and hives), loss of appetite, weight loss, and the like, you can already conclude that there’s a problem.
Why Is My Cat Shedding So Much?
7 Possible Reasons Behind Your Cat’s Excessive Shedding
A couple of things can bring about increased shedding and hair loss. If your cat sheds non-stop, consider the following reasons:
Yes, cats (and even dogs) can get sunburned. And like humans, your cat’s skin will also look red, dry, and scaly. You can expect your cat’s fur to shed if this happens, resulting in hair loss.
Shedding accompanied by skin irritation, sneezing, or tummy problems can be caused by allergies. Although incurable, as loving pet owners, you can still help manage your cat’s allergies.
Besides shedding fur, if your cat has red bumps on its skin and is constantly scratching, you might want to check if your cat has fleas, ticks, or mites. There are various flea treatments available, but it’s always a good idea to get your vet’s expert advice before anything else.
Circular, crusty bald spots in your cat’s coat can be caused by a fungal infection (think ringworm). This might be painless, but it’s very contagious. Don’t worry, though, because this is treatable.
If you’re living with a queen that’s expecting, you can expect them to lose more hair than usual, especially after birth or when nursing. The calcium and minerals that your cat needs to maintain a healthy coat get drained during pregnancy and lactation.
Stress & Anxiety
Are you losing a lot of hair because of stress? Well, your cat also goes through the same ordeal. Despite their carefree nature, cats can get stressed easily when things don’t go the way they want.
Also known as psychogenic alopecia, hair loss triggered by out-of-control grooming is rare but can still happen. This is especially true for temperamental purebred cat breeds.
Underlying Health Problems
Your cat might also be losing a lot of fur because of an underlying health condition. This includes metabolic diseases caused by abnormal chemical reactions in your cat’s body.
Hyperthyroidism is a common metabolic disorder in cats. Its symptoms include matted fur and hair loss, weight loss, and increased urination.
What To Do When Your Cats Shed Too Much
If your cat seems all healthy, yet your cat continues to shed fur like crazy, keep calm and relax. There are two other ways you can try to control shedding. Check out below.
Give your cat a healthy diet. Poor diet might just be the reason behind your cat’s shedding. Since healthy skin and coat can only be achieved by keeping your cat’s overall health in check, one thing worth checking is your cat’s food.
Cats need a nutritionally complete and balanced diet to remain healthy. Being obligate carnivores, cats need a diet high in animal protein and essential fatty acids (think Omega 3 and 6). Both are required to keep your cat’s skin and fur smooth and silky.
Regular brushing. If you want to significantly reduce the amount of fur your cat is letting loose, you might want to get rid of it before it settles elsewhere. You can do this by brushing your cat’s coat regularly.
Longhaired cats (like Persian cats) need daily brushing to get rid of all the mats. Those with short hair will require less – think once a week.
Apart from removing the loose hair, regular brushing also helps spread the natural oils excreted by its skin and lessen the number of icky hairballs. What’s more, your cat also gets a relaxing massage.
Food For Thought
Yes, getting rid of all the fur can be tiresome and stressful. But that’s just how it is when you’ve decided to share your home with a cat. After all, shedding is normal. Accept it and love your cats – their molting and all.
However, if shedding becomes excessive, watch out for other symptoms and call your vet for further help. Lastly, make sure you’re taking good care of your cats by giving them a healthy diet and grooming them regularly.
How much shedding is too much for a cat?
This intensive hair loss may concern you, but a certain amount of shedding is totally normal. In fact, cats shed some every day and go through one to two large sheds and hair growth cycles per year.
Do cats lose fur as they age?
As they grow older, cats will commonly experience thinning of their fur, and even develop patches of hair loss. Like in humans, a cat's hair can turn white with age – but, their whiskers may turn black.
Do indoor cats shed more in the spring?
Indoor cats shed at any time of the year and the amount of shedding hair is less than outdoor cats due to the artificial light inside the house, and from the controlled temperature in your home. Outdoor cats shed in the spring when the days start to lengthen and they spend more time outside.
What months do cats shed the most?
While dogs and cats shed year-round, shedding tends to reach a peak in the spring and fall, says PetHelpful. This is especially true for pets who spend a lot of time outdoors. In the fall, pets shed old hair growth to make room for new hair that will help them stay warm in the winter.
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