You like to wear light colors but you have a dark cat. Or vice versa. If you're starting to feel like you need to limit your wardrobe to the color of your cat's fur because there's so much hair everywhere, you're not alone. Shedding in cats is not the most welcome trait in these otherwise-lovable pets. One Instagrammer started taking pictures of his cats wearing hats made from their own fur that they shed. While that's one innovative use for cat hair, there are other ways to deal with it.
When do cats shed most?
Vet Info gives four occasions when cats shed more than other times. Cats shed more during warm weather months, when they're stressed or anxious, when they're sick, or when they are allergic to something. Many animals that are covered with fur shed their thicker winter coats as a way to keep their body cooler when the weather heats up. Therefore, if you live in a place where spring and summer temperatures are noticeably warmer, you might see more fur on the floor then.
Anxiety, such as when the household is moved or a new pet is brought into the home, may cause a temporary increase in the amount of shedding. If they're sick, particularly with any kind of skin issue, increased shedding could be the result. Stress and anxiety can also lead to over-grooming, in which cats lick or pull their fur to excess. This will be a more unnatural form of shedding and may need to be looked at by a veterinarian.
Kittens will start to shed starting at about six to eight months of age. Sometimes older cats will shed because they aren't grooming themselves as much. Finally, allergies can be a common reason for why cats shed more than at other times. Cats of any age can be allergic to many ingredients in commercial cat food, such as soy, wheat, rice, corn, gluten or even a certain kind of meat.
Do any cats shed year-round?
In general, most cat breeds shed all year-round. Some breeds shed more than others, in particular long-hair breeds. The Pretty Litter cat litter blog lists several breeds that are known to be profuse shedders, including bobtails, Maine Coon cats, ragdolls, Siberians, and Himalayans. In general, cat breeds that originate from colder climates have longer hair and thicker hair, and will lose more hair throughout the year.
Indiana Public Media's report on why cats shed all year explains that shedding is influenced by genetics, nutrition, and environmental temperature. The main factor that determines when a cat sheds is the amount of sunlight outside. When there is less sunlight, that signals to a cat that winter is coming. That means cold, and a cat needs thicker, denser fur in order to stay warm. Less sunlight means the cats start growing short, fluffy secondary hairs whose job is to provide insulation. And when the seasons change and there's more sunlight, i.e., less cold, the cats need to lose this insulating layer and start shedding to have a lighter summer coat.
Reducing cat shedding
Doctors Foster and Smith, two veterinarians in Wisconsin, share some useful tips on managing cat shedding. When shedding is left unchecked, it can lead to Chewbacca-level fur clumps around the house.
The good news is, there's an easy way to reduce your cat's shedding. By brushing your cat regularly, you can control the amount of fur you brush off, and it ends up on your brush instead of all over the furniture. (As a bonus, some cats love to be brushed, so it can be a fun way to bond with your cat.)
The best cat brushes to reduce shedding
We are living in a golden age of cat brush options, so never fear. Whatever your grooming needs are, there's a brush out there for you.
You can go with a more traditional model, or you can pull out all the stops and go with the FURminator deshedding tool, which many people argue is the best cat brush out there. There are also lots of cool alternatives to brushes, like cat grooming gloves, which allow you to collect fallen hair off your cat as you pet them.
If you allow your cat on the bed or couch but don't like the cat hair he leaves behind, consider spreading out a towel or other cover for your furniture. The cover will catch the hair and leave your furniture clean. Controlling fleas and any other allergies your cat may have could help him lick and scratch less, leading to less fur loss. Suck up all that extra fur by vacuuming regularly.
Shedding is a normal part of life for every cat, but with a regular grooming routine and an increase in vacuuming frequency, you can significantly reduce the amount of cat hair in your home.