Furry Friends: Why Does My Cat Shed So Much?
The fur tumbleweeds are piling up in the corners and you have exhausted your vacuum. Everyone in the home is wearing a second coat of cat fur this winter, and you haven’t stopped brushing your cat since summer. Why all this fur, you may ask?
Cat shedding is one of the many problems pet owners ask us about; that and how they can help reduce their cat’s shedding. For some cats, shedding can be especially bad during the winter, while other cats seem to shed all year round.
The team at Old Derby Animal Hospital want to help you figure out why your cat sheds so much and what you can do to keep your home a little less furry.
The Nature of Shedding
Fur offers a great service to pets, in that it insulates them from cold and heat, as well as environmental and chemical elements all around them. Shedding isn’t relegated to summer, since it is a necessary process throughout the year. Shedding acts as a way to dislodge old hairs and allow new, healthy growth.
What’s more interesting is that the sun plays a vital role in your pet’s fur growth. When the light is at its peak, a pet may not develop as many new hairs. During the dark winter months, the brain signals to the body to produce more hair to insulate against the cold. Since most cats are kept indoors, they don’t get the “cue” to develop that important undercoat that is essential outdoors.
Why So Much?
When the shedding is excessive, there are a number of possible reasons for it.
- Breed – Some breeds are more prone to shedding due to their long, thick coats. These include Main Coone and Persian cats, but there are some short-haired breeds that also shed more than usual.
- Illness – A big indicator of many illnesses in cats is that their coats become dull and lack lustor. If your pet has been battling an illness, such as kidney disease, they will probably have more hair loss than usual.
- Time of year – During the spring, your cat may begin to shed more up until the summer months, especially if they have a winter undercoat.
- Stress – Anxiety and stress can increase your pet’s capacity to shed. You may have noticed this when taking your pet into new situations or during times of stress or anxiety, such as during a move.
- Nutrition – Feeding your cat a low quality diet that doesn’t have much moisture content can cause increased hair loss. If so, we recommend speaking to us about the right nutrition for your fur friend.
- Age – The older the cat is the more likely they are to experience hair loss as a result of changes in skin and coat health and underlying conditions.
- Reproduction – Pregnancy may also encourage shedding in female cats.
If your pet is inexplicably shedding more, we encourage you to call us for an appointment since this is a sign of poor health. Even if it is no big deal, getting a clean bill of health will give you peace of mind.
Ways to Curb the Fur
Once you know that your cat is in good health, there are a few ways you can address the fur problem.
- Groom your pet regularly and brush away loose hair.
- Use a conditioning shampoo or spray to keep their coat moisturized.
- Keep your cat on a high-quality food and get your pet to drink more water by using a water dispensing fountain or replacing bowls often.
- Vacuum and clean your pet’s bed often.
If you have any questions about your cat’s shedding, or would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call.