- Why Do Cats Hate Water? - January 18, 2022
- How to Stop a Cat From Shedding?- 7(Practical) Solutions - January 14, 2022
- Why DO CATS CRY? Causes and Solutions- Zippy Pet - November 26, 2021
A Deep Dive into Excessive Shedding by Cats
Written by Amir Ali| January 12, 2022,
So, you are here to find the answer to, “How to Stop a Cat From Shedding?” And guess what? You are at the right place.
But first of all, I apologize for my absence during the past two months. I was so busy dealing with technical issues that I hardly got time to write. But, now everything is fixed, up and running quite smoothly. So, I’m all set to produce the second lot of content for you.
Let’s Press on…
Cat shedding has been a concern for many cat parents(especially newly became cat parents). And if you are here, chances are, you probably belong to them. You might find yourself helpless in dealing with the situation. You may want to get the solutions to numerous questions running around your brain— “What’s wrong with my poor cat?” “Is she suffering from a disease or infection?” “Would this infect me too?” on and on…
STOP! Take a deep breath and relax. Most of the time cat shedding is normal and there’s no need to do anything from your side.
The other times there can be one of the several causes that are the culprit behind your cat’s falling hair.
So, in this blog post, you and I will discuss everything about cat shedding. I promise, by the end of this article you’ll have in your hand the action plan to reduce the excessive shedding of hair by your cat. Excited?
One. Two. Three. Let’s go!
Why Do Cats Shed Hair?
Shedding hair is a natural characteristic of all cats. No matter if they live indoors or in the wild, have short-haired or long-haired, male or female, and kitten or senior cat.
Most cats shed their hair twice a year—once in the spring and once in the fall(we will discuss this in another section). Cats also shed to remove the natural oils, dead hairs and skin.
Natural Causes of Shedding of Hair by Cats
As I told you above, shedding can be both normal and abnormal. The natural shedding of hair can also vary from cat to cat. In this section, I will throw some light on the natural causes of cat shedding. Read them carefully to understand each factor that affects shedding. And if your cat shed more than your neighbour’s it doesn’t necessarily mean that she is ill.
1. Indoor and Outdoor Cats Shed Differently
Indoor cats are exposed to artificial conditions more than outdoor cats(stray cats) therefore they show more constant shedding throughout the year. The probable reason behind this is their body system get confused in understanding the environmental condition as a result they shed more frequently often throughout the year.
2. Do You Have a Long-Haired or Short-Haired Cat?
Long-Haired Cats are engineered by God to survive in more harsh and colder conditions. Their body is more sensitive to seasonal changes therefore they may shed more.
According to Sam GIlbert, V.M.D of Zoetis Pet Care long-haired cats like Persian, Maine Coon, shed more than their short-haired counterparts.
3. Is She in a Stressful Situation?
Are you providing a stress-free atmosphere to your feline friend? Excessive stress gives rise to a lot of behavioural problems in four-legged people such as excessive urination or spraying, avoidance of the litter box, abnormal vocalisation and more. Similarly, stress may also result in excessive shedding. This is the reason why certain cats start shedding suddenly in certain situations.
4. What is Her Age and Weight?
What is the age of my cat? Ask this question to yourself before getting worried about the shedding. Older cats are less active, have larger bodies and lower energy levels therefore they groom themselves less frequently than younger cats. Because of this, they accumulate more oils, dirt and dead cells so their bodies begin to shed more than younger cats.
Similarly, obese cats shed more than cats with normal weight due to the same reason.
5. Do You Have a Male or Female Cat?
Male cats shed more than female cats. This might sound strange, but this is what was discovered in a study. However, because of the small sample of research and the other factors, we can’t generalise that every male cat shed more than a female cat.
6. Is Your Cat Pregnant?
Pregnancy is a critical phase of cats’ life (just like humans). Momma cat goes through a lot of hormonal changes. Hence, during this period you may notice that your cat is shedding more than what she was shedding earlier.
When is the Shedding of Hair Not Normal for Cats?
Shedding of hair is also a sign of diseases, infections and disorders. But how come you know, is it normal shedding or a sign of medical problems?
Here’s what you need to see.
Look at your cat’s skin carefully when you groom or bathe her. If you find patches with no hair, redness, flaky skin, cuts or bumps then it’s time to ring your veterinarian and book an appointment.
Medical Causes of Shedding By Cats
Alright, you have seen some signs of abnormal shedding and now you want to know what are the causes behind this problem so you can help her get rid of this problem as quickly as possible. Some of the possible causes of abnormal shedding are listed below:
1. Malnutrition or Undernutrition
Excessive shedding in most cases is linked to what you are feeding her. Giving a properly balanced diet is critical not only for the proper growth and development of the cats but also to the health of their skin, fur cats and their capacity to fight diseases. Malnutrition or undernutrition can become the cause of excessive hair fall too.
2. Action of Parasites
Cats can experience excessive shedding if they have been attacked by parasites. According to VCA veterinary hospitals, parasites if chewed or come under scratching may lead to further hair loss. Therefore if your cat goes outside you need to check her coat carefully to make sure it does not have ticks, fleas and other parasites.
Cats with certain kinds of infections or who are sensitive to particular environments, organisms, or food may shed more than normal cats which turn into patches of bare skin.
Some cats are even sensitive to insect bites, pollution of air and pollen grains. So you may find cats with sensitivity and infections shed more than normal.
4. Effect of Infections
There can be various infections behind excessive shedding of hair. Cats suffering from any kind of bacterial, fungal or skin infections may scatter more hair in your house than healthy cats. Infections are also responsible for taming away the sheen of the coat.
5. Serious Diseases
Till now we have seen causes that were not life-threatening. But, unfortunately, too much shedding can also be a symptom of fatal diseases related to the liver, kidneys, thyroid, and cancer.
Solutions to Excessive Shedding
1. Reach Out to a Veterinarian
Let the expert do their job. You can have a completely different cause behind the hair loss than your friend’s cat. So, what worked for her cat may not work for yours. Hence, a more mature and wise approach is, to take your cat to a vet.
When you reach out to him/her, he/she will do a series of examinations such as urinalysis, blood test, hair and skin tests to diagnose the issue. This way you can provide her personalised treatment instead of random hacks.
2) Focus on What You are Feeding Her
As discussed above, many times cats shed due to malnutrition or undernutrition without showing any signs of diseases. In this case, you should focus on her food.
Cats are obligate carnivores. They need animal protein in their diet every day. Even the quality of animal protein differs from species to species. For instance, chicken and lamb are better for cats than tuna and fish.
Similarly, you should avoid plant-based protein, grains, preservatives and artificial colours and flavours.
Also, the ideal nutrients mix highly individualised based on the breed and age of your car.
The best way is to choose and breed an age-specific food certified by AAFCO.
In general, the minimum percentage of nutrients that must be contained in a cat food according to AAFCO guidelines are given below:
Ideal Percentage of Nutrients in Canned(Wet) Food
Ideal Percentage of Nutrients in Dry Food
Source: Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)
3) Consult a Cat Behaviourist
If your vet finds no health issues in your cats’ body and you are also providing her with a balanced diet yet the problem persists then she might be shedding because of stress or anxiety.
Look! Cats have different personalities. And that’s why shy cats may feel anxiety and get stressed due to the presence of anything which makes them uncomfortable which leads to even more shedding. This anything can be fellow cats, other pets, guests, surroundings etc.
So, to rectify her behaviour, first, you need to understand her personality type and then modify her atmosphere according to her nature.
A cat behaviour specialist can help you in understanding her and tell you the step-by-step process to help your cat adapt to her environment.
4. Take Care of Her Grooming Needs
It is a common misunderstanding that cats don’t need a bath because they groom themselves a lot. All cats need a bath whether big or small, fat or thin, long-haired or short-haired.
The only difference is in the frequency of bathing.
Short-Haired cats with normal weight need to bathe less frequently than long-haired cats. Bathing your cat once every 3 months is sufficient if you have a short-haired cat.
On the other hand,d you should bathe your long-haired cat at least once a month because long hairs catch more dirt, retain more oils and build mats quickly. All such things can increase the amount of shedding.
However, too many baths in a month are also bad and can cause dryness, rashes and destroy the sheen of the coat.
5. Brush/Comb Her in a Routine
I don’t know how to stress this point to the extent I want to. Lazy Moms and Dads are reluctant towards brushing and see it as a waste of time. And, then they search Google, Reddit, and Quora to find the answer to why their cat is shedding too much.
Dear, cats regularly shed their hairs, and when you don’t comb them these loose hairs fall everywhere they go. So, it’s better to do yourself a favour and take out some time to comb her.
O.K. Now you want to know how much you should comb your cat.
Listen, if you have a long-haired cat, comb her daily anytime in a day. If you have a short-haired cat, comb her on alternate days or at least once in 3-days.
Here are my blog post Best Cat Brushes that you can read to choose the best brush for your cat. PetVogue – Self Cleaning Slicker Brush and The Pets Company Rubber Deshedding Hand Band for Cats are wonderful cat brushes that can help in removing the tangles, mats and loose hair.
6. Keep Your Cat Indoors As Much As Possible
Allowing cats to go outdoors is always risky. She might explore the bushes, climb on trees, and be exposed to pollution. She might get attacked by ticks and fleas, catch infections and communicable diseases while her expeditions. All such situations can be harmful to her health and coat. And, you never want this to happen. So, it is always preferable to keep her indoors as much as possible to avoid possible threats.
Shedding Season of Cats
Spring and Fall are the two shedding seasons in general. During winter cats grow thicker and longer coats to combat the cold. To prepare themselves for summer, on the other hand, cats shed their old hair and grow a new group of shorter, thinner and less dense hairs.
Likewise, in the fall, cats again grow thicker, longer and denser coats to replace the hair coat that they have grown in the spring to prepare themselves for winter.
Q1. Why Do Some Cats Shed So Much at the Vet?
Because of nervousness. Some cats are too timid. When you take her out of the familiar atmosphere. The unfamiliar faces, surroundings, so many other pets and smells of medicines can make cats nervous. As a response, they start shedding hairs more at the veterinary.
Q2. Why Do Some Cats Start Shedding All of a Sudden?
As I said above, nervousness is the reason why cats start shedding all of a sudden. If cats find themselves in a strange situation they may feel anxious and start shedding.