cat shedding

Cat Shedding: What Causes It & When Should I Be Concerned?

Cats are the perfect pet. They are cute, cuddly, endlessly entertaining, and look adorable when sleeping. But there’s one thing that continues to frustrate cat owners: constant cat shedding.

While cat shedding is completely natural and normal, sometimes you’ll notice your cat shedding more than usual. When you notice this, it’s important to figure out the reasons why it’s happening. We will go over some common reasons your cat might be shedding more than normal. We also have a lot of tips for reducing their shedding. You’ll be wearing black again in no time!

 

Why Do Cats Shed & Is It Normal?

You pick up your cat and notice your shirt is entirely covered in fluff. Or you go to sit down on the couch and realize that you can tell exactly where your cat chose to sleep because it’s now blanketed with fur. This can seem a bit excessive and concerning — or even just annoying. But shedding is completely normal for cats!

While every cat sheds a different amount, cats will shed every day. They also have two larger hair loss cycles each year.

When you adopt a kitty, you are basically acknowledging that their fur will be on the furniture, the floor, and even on your clothes. That’s sort of the daily struggle of having a cat, which is why so many cat owners equip themselves with lint rollers and use robotic vacuums to pick up cat hair off the floor each day.

shedding glove and cat paw

 

How Much Shedding Is Normal for Cats?

Every cat sheds to a different extent, depending on their genetics, breed, and hair length. You’ll notice that you can often get a handful or two of cat hair off your cat every time you brush them. Despite all the loose fluff, your cat will still maintain a soft, shiny coat.

Here are some signs that your cat’s shedding is abnormal:

  • Their coat is becoming much thinner than normal.
  • You can see irritated or inflamed skin underneath their fur.
  • Your cat starts vomiting up more hairballs than usual.
  • You find clumps of cat fur around the house.
  • Your cat is excessively grooming certain areas of the body.
  • Their fur feels sharp and looks raggedy.

 

Cats That Shed More Than Average

You’ll notice more fluff around the house if your cat has long hair or a double coat. Many breeds shed more often than others due to their luxurious fur.

Some of these extra-shedding breeds include:

  • Ragdoll
  • Persian
  • Maine Coon
  • Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Birman
  • Manx

Cats That Don’t Shed Much

For cat lovers that are a bit more particular about shedding, there are luckily some cat breeds out there that have shorter, thinner coats. You’ll notice a lot less shedding with the following breeds.

  • Bengal
  • Bombay
  • Siamese
  • Cornish Rex

One cat that you might be surprised to find in this list is the Siberian. This regal-looking feline has quite a big coat. But this cat is known to shed less than the average cat and is even hypoallergenic. Their weather-resistant coat produces far less Fel d 1 protein (the stuff that triggers allergies) than other cats.

And you can’t forget about hairless kitties! The Sphynx, Peterbald, Donskoy, and other Sphynx hybrids have just a bit of peach fuzz at most. These breeds are perfect for families who don’t want to see fur on their newly folded laundry.

But it’s important to keep in mind that hairless cats do require a bit of extra work. These cats are sensitive to the sun. Their skin also gets quite oily, leading to skin irritation and acne if not properly bathed and taken care of.

 

RELATED: Sphynx Cat Breed

 

Why Is My Cat Shedding So Much?

Don’t get too worried if your cat is shedding. Unless you notice chunks of fur or red skin, your cat’s shedding is all part of, well, being a cat! Still, there are some reasons you might be noticing more loose hairs than usual.

cat doesn't like its fur being brushed

 

The Time of Year

While cats shed all year, the shedding picks up during certain seasons. In the winter, cats grow a thicker coat. Once the weather warms up in the spring and the days grow longer, cats will start shedding that extra fur.

Health Issues

Various health issues may be causing you feline friend to shed more than usual. These issues may include:

  • Allergies
  • Parasites
  • Bacterial infections
  • Tumors
  • Bowel diseases
  • Skin conditions

 

Low-Quality Food

Cats maintain a healthy coat from grooming and the proper nutrients they get from a balanced diet. The food you’re feeding your cat should have a high-quality protein source listed at the start of the list of ingredients. This means it shouldn’t be meal or starch. You should also look for copper, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, zinc, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Without these ingredients, your cat is most likely not getting the proper nutrients they need to keep their coat healthy. And a cat with an unhealthy coat is often a sign that there are other things wrong, too.

Stress or Anxiety

Some cats will actually shed more when they are stressed or anxious. I remember when I moved with my cat, I had to carry him in my arms through a metal detector at the airport. He was shaking and clinging to me. I have never seen so much fur come off of him in my life. His carrier was coated!

Anxiety causes shedding because a cat’s muscles will tense up when they are stressed. This results in the follicles of some hairs being released.

Age

Just like us, older cats are a bit less flexible. This might make grooming certain areas a bit tougher for some older kitties. When they can’t lick certain spots as efficiently, that area might shed a bit more since they can’t clean up the loose furs and keep the spot clean.

The same thing can happen when cats are overweight. Cats with extra weight can have trouble reaching certain areas, especially the spot right above their tail. You’ll notice your overweight cat shedding a bit more than normal since they can’t clean properly.

Hormonal Changes

The hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy can cause a cat to shed more fur than normal. Most hair loss will occur on the mother cat’s belly, which allows her kittens to nurse a bit easier.

 

How Can I Stop My Cat From Shedding?

Your cat will always shed — especially if they have more fur. But you can make your cat shed less with some effort. Just remember that shedding is normal! If you’re allergic to cats or can’t stand to see cat hairs, you might want to consider a hairless breed.

 

Cat Shampoo for Shedding

There are some cat shampoos out there that promote less shedding and stronger hairs. Many of the top shampoos will have omega-3 or mega-6 fatty acids, strengthening hair follicles and promoting healthy fur. Your cat will still shed, but you might notice it’s a bit less when you use this kind of product.

Bathe Your Cat Once a Month

The issue with cat shampoo is that most require you to bathe your cat. Not only is that always a hassle (and may leave you with some battle wounds), it’s not healthy or required to frequently bathe a cat. We recommend bathing a cat just once a month at most — and only if it’s necessary.

To help your cat get through the process, give them some CBD oil on their food beforehand. This can help them calm down a bit and feel a bit more relaxed.

Give Them Calming Treats

Speaking of CBD, a CBD treat schedule could be a great way to reduce your cat’s shedding. If they are shedding due to a stressful situation or an anxious personality, CBD treats can help soothe them and allow them to be less tense. This will ensure that your cat doesn’t shed from stress as heavily.

CBD is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid, which simply means that it’s a compound naturally found in hemp that won’t get your cat high. There’s no THC present, so your cat won’t experience any of its negative side effects. Instead, your cat will experience all of the benefits of CBD when it supports their body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The endocannabinoid system is what makes your cat (and all mammals) maintain homeostasis and overall well-being. The ECS has endocannabinoid receptors throughout all of their systems. This includes the nervous system, digestive system, and immune system. When the CBD interacts with the receptors, it can positively affect your cat’s mind and body.

 

RELATED: Endocannabinoid System in Dogs & Cats Explained

 

Our CBD cat treats contain salmon oil, making them even more beneficial to your cat’s fur specifically. Salmon oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which promote healthy skin and a healthy coat. You just might notice a difference in your kitty’s coat if you give them CBD treats regularly!

Brush Your Cat Regularly

Regular brushing is typically the most effective way to limit your cat’s shedding. When you brush your cat, you collect all of their loose hairs. So if you brush your cat consistently, you will notice less fur on your clothing and furniture over time.

Invest in a quality slicker brush. The wires get deep into your kitty’s fur, removing loose hair and dander. Some slicker brushes are made specifically for long-haired cats. Their bristles are long enough to get through their top coat and reach the hairs below.

There are also de-shedding brushes that purposely target your cat’s bottom coat, eliminating extra loose hairs. The Furminator’s curved handle is perfect for really reaching your cat’s fur properly. It also has a comfortable handle so you can keep brushing until the loose hairs are all gathered.

Some cat owners like using gloves made of mesh and rubber. They can help to lift hair and dander pretty easily. Wash them with soap and warm water after each use. Let it completely dry before using the glove again.

Keep Them Hydrated

A dehydrated cat might shed more than usual, and many cats are prone to dehydration. That’s because cats are particular about their water source.

If you notice that your cat is lethargic, shedding constantly, and their water is untouched, it’s time to try a new tactic to get them to drink. Cats love running water, which is why you often see them drinking out of sinks and toilets. Try a cat water fountain if your cat is fascinated by running water.

Also, make sure your cat’s bowl is clean. If your cat’s water bowl is full of hairs and other contaminants, your cat might refuse to drink out of it. Being dehydrated is very problematic for cats, so definitely don’t let them go without water for too long.

cat curled up next to lint roller

 

Change Their Diet

Cats eating low-quality food are missing a lot of key ingredients that keep them — and their coat — healthy. This includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, along with taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that cats require to stay healthy but don’t produce themselves. This must be in any cat food your kitty consumes.

Your cat might also start shedding more if they are allergic to their food. Most cat food allergies come from carbohydrates. Cheaper cat food will replace healthy ingredients with carbs and other “fillers” like cornmeal. If you notice a lot of this in your cat’s food, try changing to a brand with more protein and less nutritionless fillers.

Use Fatty Acids in Their Diet

You can also try adding CBD oil to your cat’s daily food. CBD oil is blended with hemp seed oil, which has all of the omegas your cat needs to maintain healthy skin and a healthy coat.

Unsure how much CBD oil to give your kitty? We recommend 0.25 mg of CBD per 1 pound of bodyweight. That means a 10-pound cat would 2.5 mg of CBD every eight hours or once a day.

If your cat is struggling from a condition and its side effects, you might want to try giving your cat a stronger dose every eight hours. This would be 0.50 mg of CBD per 1 pound of bodyweight. Now the 10-pound cat would get 5 mg of CBD.

 

RELATED: CBD Dosage Guide for Dogs & Cats

 

Inspect for Fleas & Mites Regularly

Insects and parasites — including mites, fleas, ringworm, etc. — will irritate your cat, causing them to scratch and bite certain areas excessively. The added grooming will lead to more hair loss and shedding. If you notice areas of your cat’s body with significantly less fur or patches of hair missing, you should contact a vet immediately.

Help Your Cat Stay Active

Daily exercise will ensure that your cat stays fit and flexible enough to groom every part of their body. Overweight cats can struggle to clean certain areas, leading to unhealthy skin and fur. This causes more dandruff and shedding. Keeping your cat fit and healthy will ensure they can groom properly and get these troublesome areas.

 

When Should I Go to The Vet for Cat Shedding?

Shedding is completely normal for most cats. Some cats might naturally shed a lot if they have a double coat or long hair. But you should bring your cat to the vet immediately if you see patches of fur missing or if they have a raggedy coat.

If you notice red or irritated skin, that’s another sign that your cat needs to be brought to the vet. They might have a concerning skin condition or underlying health complication.

 

Final Thoughts – Cat Shedding

Shedding can be frustrating for cat owners, but it’s a normal part of being a cat. While your cat will always shed, there are luckily ways to reduce the amount of fur you see around your home if you ensure your cat is healthy, happy, and well taken care of.

Set aside time to brush your cat every day, and you’ll notice a lot less fur floating around the house!

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