If you have ever worn a black shirt and picked your cat up you know it is no secret that cats shed. You sweep and vacuum and the cat hair just keeps appearing. If you are a curious cat yourself, you have probably asked yourself, why does my cat shed so much?
I am here to tell you why your cat sheds, provide you ways to keep up with your cat shedding, and discuss various cat grooming supplies that will arm you for combat against the never ending cat shedding epidemic!
Shed a Little Light
I have had so many fellow cat owners ask me the age-old question: why does my cat shed so much? I’m sure are thinking the same thing themselves.
Has your bathroom tub ever gotten clogged? Do you clean hair out of your hairbrush or comb? Like humans shedding hair, our cats are no different.
I always like to talk about cats in the wild because our domestic house cats are so similar in many ways. Cats in the wild typically shed twice a year. To stay cooler cats shed in spring to lose their warm winter undercoat. Then shed again in fall to prepare for their cozy winter coat to grow in to keep them toasty warm during the cold months.
I live in New England, I wish I had an undercoat!… I digress.
Layer up! Cats can have up to three coats. They either have a single coat, double coat, or the hat trick of coats – 3 coats. I’m a hockey player, I just had to throw that in there.
To best understand how often to groom your cat and the proper way to go about this, it is important to know how many coats your kitty has. Typically, most cats have a double coat, and the triple coated cats are cats that would typically be found in colder climates. Some examples of cold weather breeds of cats or cats that have multiple coats would be:
- Maine Coon
- Scottish Fold
- Russian Blue
Shedding can be a result of a few factors such as, nutrition and diet, stress and change, genetics, and temperature. It is said that the amount of sunlight there is outside can also affect a cats shedding. If there is less sunlight your cat will shed a little less to stay warmer, and on the flip side if there is a lot of sunlight your kitty will shed more to stay cooler.
With that said if you have an indoor cat they will probably tend to shed year round as they don’t have the outdoor sunlight as an indicator like outdoor kitties experience. To help aid with your cats shedding I would suggest using a fish oil to reduce shedding and promote healthy skin and coat.
Ultimately your cat sheds coats as a way to keep their fur healthy, and to protect them throughout the year as they adapt to the changing of the daylight hours and temperature.
It is a really GOOD thing for your cat to shed because if dead fur stays on your kitties body it can cause irritation, and he or she may start getting matted fur and dreadlocks and start to look like they’ve been touring with the Grateful Dead.
4 Reasons Your Cat Sheds
The top five reasons your cat sheds so much are:
- The seasons and daylight hours – This is the most common reason (purrrfectly normal)
- Stress and Anxiety – Remember the last time you took fluffy to the vet? Forget three coats, it looked like she shed five coats in your car, on the vet, and your black jacket. That excess shedding is a result of anxiety and stress.
- Cat Allergies – Just like humans cats can also suffer from seasonal allergies, which can result is itchiness, rashes, or even bald spots. (Mr. Grey experienced cat allergies a few times over the years, one time he ended up with a few bald spots. The fur grew back after it passed)
- Thyroid Disease – Mr. Grey also battled with hyperthyroidism in his older years. His coat wasn’t shiny and healthy like it was before he developed this disease. It is very common for kitties to have thyroid issues, so if you notice a change in your cats coat please make an appointment with your local vet. Signs of this are, spiky fur (like sonic the hedgehog), greasy fur, fur loss and weight loss are things to watch out for with an over or under active thyroid in your cat.
Arm Yourself with Cat Grooming Supplies
Now we know there is no way around your cat shedding, and quite frankly we have learned to be happy about it as it is a sign that they are rejuvenating their coat to keep it healthy.
For every problem I believe there is a solution, and luckily for us cat parents there are a great number of cats grooming supplies on the market to help aid in the shedding process.
First off, I would suggest grooming your cat daily. Unless it is a short hair cat, you could get away with a once a week groom. Of course if you have a Sphinx sit back and enjoy a shed free life.
Grooming your cat can be a wonderful bonding experience or your cat may be one to run for the hills when you reach for the brush. I like to use a brush that is made if metal to tackle that thick undercoat.
If your cat hates being brushed and fears for their life, I highly recommend a pet grooming glove. This makes for a more casual sift approach to cats grooming. It is less threatening if your are petting your cat and grooming her all in one!
Always always always reward your kitty for good behavior after a nice brush and groom. It gives them something to look forward to.
I always use terms of endearment while grooming like, “Oh Silvio, I’m doing this for you to look even more handsome than ever!” “You want a coat as beautiful as you are!” Cats love having their ego stroked whilst getting stroked with the brush or grooming glove. Try it, you’ll see!
Good quality wet cat food and a cat water fountain are staples in my list of must haves for overall cat care.
Another handy thing to have is your cat tends to struggle with hairballs is Tomlyn’s Hairball Remedy Gel for Cats (Laxatone) it will help with preventing and eliminating hairballs in your cats. It works by lubricating hair that your cat has ingested cleaning himself and it then allows the fur to pass in your cats stool. This Hairball Remedy is composed of some common gentle lubricants including white petrolatum, light mineral oil, and soybean oil. Soybean Oil is rich in Omega-3, -6 and -9 Fatty Acids.
This gel is really simple to use and comes in a small variety of flavors. My cat loves the tuna and the maple flavored hairball gel! There is also a catnip flavor which many cats gravitate towards as well. Each cat has their own individual palate, so you can try one that you think he or she might like and go from there. It’s a great product if your cat tends to hack up hairballs often.
If your cat is not a gel fan, you can also try Tomlyn laxatone hairball remedy chews cat treats!
Goodness Gracious Great Hairballs of Fire
Cats can vomit for a variety of different reasons, but a fairly common reason is due to hairballs. Cats lick themselves when they bathe, and they bathe quite often, so especially in the high shedding seasons your cat may develop more hairballs than usual. Which means more vomiting, which means make sure you are prepared!
My first cat Mr. Grey was one pukey boy! From the time he was young until his final days. So, I have a lot of experience on keeping carpets stain free and landlords happy!
Always keep a bottle of Resolve on hand with sponges, paper towels, and carpet shampoo or dish soap. Now, call me crazy but depending on the type of rug your kitty has purged onto might depend on the technique you want to used to clean up the mess.
First off, don’t scold your cat. Your cat is always innocent, just ask them. Seriously, your kitty could just be passing a hairball, or there could be an underlying illness that you will have to see your vet about. Either way, your cat is innocent.
I know you’ve done it, and so have I. I have been guilty of letting the cat puke dry somewhat before even attempting to clean it up. Again, depending on your rug if you go in for the clean up kill when it is fresh and liquidy it may just cause more of a mess and really stain your carpet.
You can let it dry a little and then scooping it up is a lot easier. At that time grab your kitty vomit clean up tools and head to the crime scene!
- Step 1 – Scoop up the pile of kitty puke and dispose of it. You can vacuum over it before removing the stain to ensure any particles have been sucked up.
- Step 2 – Soak a sponge with a brillowy side to it with warm or hot water, put a little dish soap on it and gently start scrubbing in all sorts of motions. Circular, and then really put some elbow grease in to scrub it.
- Step 3 – Sop some of that soap and water up with some paper towels.
- Step 4 – Spray the stain with Resolve and take the brillo side of the sponge to it again.
- Step 5- Sop up any Resolve residue and let dry.
Viola! No stain, no problem! I have found that my cats always tend to puke in the same spots over and over again, which is so considerate of them. Cat puke etiquette if you will.
Don’t Have a Brittany Spears Meltdown with Your Cat
Don’t shave your cat. That is NOT the solution to your cat shedding.
Unlike dogs, cats will shed and grow back healthy fur when need be.
If your cat has a medical issue, or a bad matted fur situation TAKE THEM TO THE VET. DO NOT SHAVE YOUR CAT AT HOME.
With proper daily grooming, a good diet, and proper hydration your cat will NOT NEED TO BE SHAVED. Nor will he or she want you to attempt this risky task. It is unnecessary and cruel, and can be traumatizing and dangerous for all parties involved.
Your cat likes their fur intact, just like I’m sure you like your skin intact. Which means if you attempt doing something this foolish you will get clawed up. Cat: 1 Human: 0.
Leave the meltdowns to those more equipped to handle them. I won’t mention any names.
Shed Up and Purr
You shed, your cat sheds, we all shed!
It is a purrrfectly normal part of being a proud kitty owner to experience cat hair here there and everywhere all year round.
Arm yourself with cats grooming supplies, and clean up crew items and you and kitty will be footloose and fancy feast!
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I will be happy to respond, and lend a helping paw.
Yours in Kitty Health,
The Cat Chronicles