You’re noticing it all over your clothes — or worse, others are noticing it all over you. For many, cat hair is something they struggle with, even if they absolutely love their furry friend. But did you know there are ways to get on top of this hairy situation? Below is your guide to understanding what’s up with all that loose hair and the top tips and tricks to stop cat shedding in its tracks (or at least make it more manageable).
Understanding Cat Hair Loss: What’s Normal And What’s Not
The best way to understand the nature of shedding is to address some of the most common cat hair-related questions:
Is There A Cat Hair Shedding Season?
Technically yes, but it applies more to outdoor cats than your average domesticated indoor cat. Outdoor cats typically shed once in the spring as the temperatures heat up and again in the fall in preparation of growing in their undercoat that will keep them warm throughout winter. Indoor cats, on the other hand, experience more stable temperature control with air conditioning and heating, so they tend to shed fur fairly steadily throughout the year.1
Do Some Cats Shed More Than Others?
Yes, the amount of fur shed varies from breed to breed. Wondering if your cat is one of the big-time shedders? Check out the list below:
- Russian Blue
- American Curl
- American Bobtail2
What Does Normal Shedding Look Like?
A healthy cat will have a shiny and even coat, no matter if they are a heavy shedder or not. Bare patches, skin lesions, and increased scratching or chewing are signs there may be an issue.3,4
What Causes Excessive Shedding Of Cat Fur?
You may be surprised by how wide-ranging the conditions are, but excessive hair loss may be attributed to:
- Bacterial infection
- Hormonal imbalance
- Medication side effects
- Poor diet
- Lactation or pregnancy5
Are Your Allergies Caused By Cat Fur?
Believe it or not, over 90% of people who suffer from cat allergies are actually reacting to an allergen from a cat’s skin and saliva, not the hair itself. The allergen is present at a higher level in male cats and travels from the saliva and skin to the fur through self-grooming.6
Keep Cat Hair Under Control Through These Grooming Practices
When it comes to grooming, cats are quite impressive — spending 30-50% of their day on the practice.7 And while this may give them the reputation for being “self-cleaning,” to keep shedding under control (and hopefully prevent loose hair from showing up all over your couch), cat parents should expect to take part in their cat’s grooming ritual. But fear not, it won’t be anything near 30% of your day.
Starting with the basics — regularly brushing your cat’s coat is your first line of defense against pet hair on your clothes. The benefits of brushing are immense and include helping to:
- Remove dead hair, grease, and dirt from the coat
- Remove dead skin
- Encourage blood circulation
- Maintain a coat free of knots and clumps
- Reduce chances of hairballs, particularly in cats with longer hair8
Another important benefit to brushing your cat is it gives you an opportunity to look out for:
- Ticks, parasites, and fleas
- Bumps and cuts
- Irritated or red spots
- Bare patches9
How Often Should You Brush Your Cat?
The answer to this really depends on the length of your cat’s hair. For medium to long hair, daily brushing may be ideal, particularly during the warmer seasons. For shorter-haired cats, at least once a week may suffice.
One thing to note, though, you do not want to force your cat if they’re resistant to being brushed. A tip to help ease your cat into a routine is to first pet your cat and, once they are more relaxed and comfortable, you can try gently brushing them.
Signs your cat may be stressed out from the brushing process include:
- The flicking or flattening of their ears
- Feeling tension or stiffening throughout their body
- Swishing their tail
- Noises (like hissing or growling)
- Aggressive self-grooming10
If this is the case, set down the brush, and allow your cat to go about their business. There’s a chance they may just need a litter box
break and you’ll be able to resume the grooming process later.
Which De-Shedding Tool Is Right For Your Cat?
The answer to this question will depend on your cat’s coat. Explore a few of your options below.
For medium- to long-haired cats
Slicker brush – This is the ideal tool to not only help remove dead skin, loose hair, dirt, and dander, but it may also help prevent matting with regular use.
Dematting comb – Also called a mat breaker, this tool expertly removes tangles and mats with its long, exacting teeth – while still being gentle on your cat’s long coat.11
For shorter-haired cats
Fine-toothed flea comb – As the name suggests, this comb serves to easily check for fleas while gently removing loose hair.
Grooming mitten or soft brush – Short-haired cats do well with softer brushes and mittens with smaller studded surfaces since the tool doesn’t need to work its way through a great amount of fur to remove dead skin and loose hair.12
Pet Parents Rejoice — Cat Shedding Is Manageable
So, now you know what’s up with all the shedding, and you hopefully have a few new tools in your belt for managing it. And don’t forget, there’s always your trusted vacuum and lint roller to save you on particularly hairy days.