When you have a cat, it seems that fur ends up on everything, including your kitchen counters. If you look in the corner or under your bed, you probably can find enough fur to make another cat or knit a sweater. So, why do cats shed so much?
Cats shed so much because of living indoors, and it is normal. Outdoor cats shed only once or twice a year to make room for their winter or summer coat. Your cat also might not be getting the proper nutrition, or it might be anxious and will over-groom. Allergies can lead to excessive shedding.
Cats that shed all the time might seem abnormal to you, but it’s completely normal. Keep reading to see if you should call the vet or if you need a lint brush.
It’s a Normal Process for Cats to Shed
When indoors, cats and dogs shed daily because they don’t need their warm coats as much as they would outdoors. So, when their coats keep trying to grow, the older parts of the coat shed as a normal process. Cats usually grow and shed their hair routinely, making it difficult to keep up with cleaning the fur.
Shedding is a normal process that evolved in wild cats to help them regulate their body temperature. A regenerative coat helps keep cats cool in the summer and warm in the winter. However, if you notice your cat shedding more than usual, and it’s not in the spring, there might be something else wrong with your cat.
Cats Have Major Shedding Events Once or Twice per Year
Every spring and fall, whether cats are indoors or not, they shed excessively as their coats are getting ready for the extremes of the next season. Cats’ coats get lighter for the summer or heavier for the winter. You might notice more fur on your clothes at this time, which might be problematic if you have black clothes.
To counteract the shedding, try brushing your cat for a few minutes each day to remove the extra fur. Not only will you be keeping the fur in your house to a minimum, but you will also be keeping your cat more comfortable at the same time. If your cat is not as uncomfortable with the extra fur, they won’t be grooming as much, which also cuts down on furballs that come back up.
Your Cat Might Not Be Getting Proper Nutrition
If it’s not the spring or fall season, and your cat is shedding excessively, it could mean that your cat is not getting the proper nutrition. Some cat food brands don’t have the right blend of nutrients to keep cats healthy, and they will shed fur as a result. Other signs that your cat is not getting the nutrition it needs include:
- Your cat’s fur loses its shine and softness.
- Your cat is not as energetic as it once was.
- Your cat is sleeping more often.
- Your cat might show symptoms of illness.
If you notice any of these symptoms, in addition to losing fur, try changing the brand of cat food that has a better nutritional profile. Ingredients like corn meal, soy protein, and meat by-products should give you a clue that the food will not give your cat the proper nutrition it needs. Look for food that doesn’t have those ingredients at the top of the list.
Cat food with actual meat in the first few ingredients will give your cat better nutrition, keep it healthy, and keep the shedding to a minimum.
Is Your Cat Anxious?
When cats are anxious or upset, they will often over-groom themselves, often resulting in a lot of extra fur coming off your cat. To determine if your cat is depressed and anxious, look for other symptoms to include:
- Loss of appetite
- Not grooming itself at all
- Behavioral changes
- Diarrhea or constipation
The symptoms above could also mean your cat has an infection or illness that requires medical attention. Call your vet to make an appointment to make sure your cat doesn’t have an illness. Once your vet gives your cat the all-clear, and it is anxiety, there are some things you can do to calm your cat.
Give Your Cat More Attention
Some cats get more nervous than other cats and will usually bond with only one person. However, if that person is busy a lot and cannot spend much time with the cat, the cat will naturally become more anxious and perhaps depressed.
If this describes your cat, and you haven’t been around much lately, your cat could be suffering from anxiety, and no one else in your family can get close to your cat, then you might need to spend a little time giving it more attention. Try using a cat brush while your cat is on your lap and brush extra fur off, or provide a comfortable spot next to you and encourage your cat to sit there with you.
A little extra attention can go a long way to helping your cat through its anxiety.
Talk With Your Vet About Essential Fatty Acids for Cats
You need to talk with your vet about essential fatty acids for cats. Essential fatty acids can help with several conditions, including hair loss and mental conditions in humans and animals. Talk with your vet to find out the best way to add these to your cat’s diet.
Rearrange Your Home to Keep Your Cat Calm
Cats might display anxiety because of where their food bowls or litter boxes are located. If either is in a busy location where people are constantly walking through or near a loud machine like a washing machine, your cat will have more anxiety. To help your cat calm down, try placing their food and water bowls in a quieter location, as well as the litter box.
If your cat can eat in peace or use the litter box in peace, that will do a lot to calm your cat and help it not over-groom itself.
Does Your Cat Have Allergies or Ringworm?
Ringworm is a fungal infection that develops on the skin and becomes crusty. As a result, your cat’s fur will fall off in that spot. Adult cats can catch this from another infected animal and will have brittle hairs. Kittens that have ringworm can have red paws, ears, and face in addition to the crustiness of the infected site itself.
If you suspect your cat or kitten has ringworm, contact your vet immediately to have your pet evaluated and get medical treatment. Once the ringworm is treated, your cat should slow down its shedding.
What Kind of Cat Does Not Shed?
The only breed that doesn’t have anything to shed—hairless cats, or Sphynx, as they are commonly known. While they are known as hairless cats, they do have fur. It’s just a very short, fine coat that covers their skin, which resembles peach fuzz. People who have allergies to cats find that this breed fits well in their home without allergic reactions.
It is a normal process for cats to shed, especially when they live indoors and don’t experience seasons like outdoor cats or even wild cats. Their coats are regenerative in that they constantly grow new hair while shedding old hair.
While shedding is normal, it can be frustrating to keep the fur off your furniture and clothing. Try getting a cat brush and groom your cat daily for a few minutes, only if it allows you to do so. You could get a good lint brush and a vacuum cleaner that is made for pet fur.
- Petfinder: Sphynx/Hairless Cat
- Cat Care of Vinings: All Cats Shed, But What’s Normal and What’s Not?
- Hill’s Pet: Excessive Shedding in Cats
- Gallant: 4 Reasons Your Cat Sheds So Much
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.