Cat Shedding Explained

Cat shedding is a perfectly normal and expected phenomenon, although it can be confusing and alarming for some pet owners. While certain breeds shed more than others, all cats shed their coats at some point in their lives. This can be frustrating for owners that have to spend time cleaning up loose hair and dander, especially if someone in the home has an allergy to cat fur. Read on for additional information about why cats shed and how to manage their natural hair loss.

Why Do Cats Shed?

Cats in the wild typically have two different coats during the course of the year; the summer coat is lighter and better suited for warm weather, while a heavier winter coat helps to keep the animal warm during colder times. These coats do not grow in on top of each other.  Rather, the animal sheds the previous coat to make way for the other coat to grow in.

Indoor and domesticated cats may have a difficult time determining the change of weather and seasons. The result, in some cases, is constant but limited shedding. Your cat may shed some fur year-round, or his body may be better attuned to the weather and may shed significant amounts of fur once or twice per year.

When Shedding May Be a Problem

While a certain degree of shedding is to be expected, excessive hair loss can be a sign of several medical conditions. As you raise your cat, familiarize yourself with his own shedding schedule and patterns. If you notice any unusual amounts of fur lying around the house, if your cat’s hair appears to be thinning or if you notice any patches of complete hair loss, take your pet to the veterinarian for examination.

Normal shedding should not leave your pet with visible patches of hair loss or noticeably thin fur.

Managing Your Pet’s Shedding

One of the most significant contributors to feline shedding is diet. Cheap cat foods may not provide adequate nutrition to your pet, and hair loss is one of the first signs of an insufficient diet. If your pet sheds excessively, consider upgrading his diet to a food that is specially formulated to improve coat quality and reduce hair loss. Science Diet is an excellent choice of a well-balanced cat food that encourages healthy fur.

Another way that you can help to control your cat’s shedding is to brush him regularly. While some cats do not like to be brushed initially, if you use a firm but gentle stroke and speak soothingly to your cat while he is in your lap, he should grow accustomed to your grooming. Brushing your cat helps to clear out loose hairs and promotes healthy skin and fur. Collect these hairs from your pet’s coat before he drops them around the home.

Cat shedding may be aggravating to pet owners, but it is a completely normal process. If your pet’s shedding bothers you or someone else in your home, use these methods to help control his fur loss. If you notice any excessive or abnormal hair loss, speak with a veterinarian in order to ensure that your cat receives the appropriate attention.