When Do Cats Shed the Most?

Most breeds of cats shed year-round, although there are certain times when they shed more than others. Cats may shed more noticeably under the following circumstances:

Spring and Summer

Cats shed their heavier winter coats naturally in the spring and summer months in anticipation of the warmer weather. In fall and winter, cats grow thicker coasts in multiple layers to keep themselves warm. All of the excess fur must exit the body come the warmer months, to keep the cat's body temperature from overheating. This shedding for the change in seasons is a long and drawn-out process, although it will be most heavily concentrated at the peak of spring.

When Stressed or Anxious

Another occasion when cats shed the most is when they are experiencing heightened moments of stress or anxiety. Depending on the cat, this could occur during changes in the home environment (such as the addition of a new pet or child), after moving to a new home, when brought on car rides, when at the vet or groomer or any similar event. During these kinds of events, cats will shed much more hair than usual, and at a much faster rate than the natural shedding that occurs during the spring and summer. However, the shedding will cease in excess once the cat has calmed down, usually after they have been returned to their stable environment or have become accustomed to the change. Owners can help ease their cats into new changes by remembering that cats need dark, quiet spots to themselves when anxious or stressed.

During Illness

Many illnesses can cause cats to have elevated levels of stress, leading to an increased rate of shedding. Skin irritation and stress can cause some cats to lick themselves vigorously, leading to bald spots on their skin over time and clumps of hair around the house. If a cat is acting unnaturally and is shedding at an increased rate when not exposed to environmental stresses, or if the cat is showing signs of balding, the concerned owner should have the cat examined by a medical professional.

As a Symptom of Allergies

Some cats shed excessively due to an allergy, which is most common in a cat's diet. Common cat allergies include soy, wheat, rice, corn, gluten or even a certain kind of meat, such as poultry, lamb and beef. A grain allergy is most common among cats who are experiencing the symptoms of allergies. If a cat is shedding in excess but is otherwise acting fairly normally, this may be the result of an allergy to an ingredient in its food. Owners should try changing foods or, if the problem seems excessive, have the cat tested for specific allergies.

Most of the occasions during which cats shed in excess are unavoidable and should not cause undue duress to owners. If the owner suspects a medical problem, they should contact a vet. Otherwise, owners can decrease the shedding somewhat with regular brushing and washing.