One of the biggest complaints people have about cat ownership is the amount of shedding. Finding cat fur all over your clothing and furniture can be frustrating. It may even concern you.
If you’re worried your cat is shedding too much, it’s important to know what could be causing it. It also helps to know how to fix the problem and whether the amount they’re shedding even is a problem. Fortunately, we’ve got the answers to all of your shedding concerns!
Reasons Your Cat Sheds Excessively
If you’ve found that your cat has started shedding more than they usually do, there is likely an underlying reason for it. Here are some of the most common reasons a cat will experience excessive shedding.
Just like humans, cats can experience a wide range of environmental allergens that can cause them to react. The most common allergens for cats include insects, food, contact, and inhalants (mold, dust, and pollen). The most common allergic reaction in cats is a skin reaction, which can cause your cat to release more fur than they typically would.
Part of the reason is that your cat may be experiencing itchy skin, causing them to scratch more often than normal. This scratching uptick can cause your cat’s fur to be released from their skin and be left behind on your clothes or furniture. Although allergies can’t be treated, if your cat suffers from them, your vet can suggest food or medication to help relieve their symptoms.
Fleas are a huge headache for everyone when they infest your home, and your cat experiences the headache with you. Fleas will bite your cat’s skin and cause them to be itchy. Again, the itchiness will lead to excessive scratching, which can lead to more shedding than is typical of your cat.
Another complication is added if your cat has an allergy to fleas. The allergy can cause excessive itchiness and reactions to flea bites which can cause your cat to lose hair all over its body at a dramatic rate. If your cat has fleas, especially if they are allergic to them, get a flea treatment from your vet to help them achieve some relief.
Bacterial or fungal skin infections can cause your cat to lose their fur in specific locations on their body or all over. One of the most common infections for a cat is ringworm. If you notice your cat has a circular patch of hair loss along with lesions or redness on their skin, there’s a good chance they have ringworm. Any type of infection will need treatment from your vet. After treatment has been completed, you’ll likely notice an improvement in your cat’s shedding.
If your cat is experiencing high levels of stress, it may be shedding more than normal as a physical reaction to the mental complications. Some of this extreme shedding is caused by excessive self-grooming that leads to your cat’s fur falling out from the skin irritation. Your cat may also stop grooming as much, which can also lead to them losing more fur than usual.
If you notice your cat is hiding more than normal, seems timid, or isn’t eating as much, these are all signs your cat may be overly stressed. Giving your cat a safe haven in the home where they can retreat and calm down when needed can help with stress levels. You may also have to determine if there is a specific stressor for your cat, like moving to a new home or a new addition to the family, so that you can approach the situation from that angle.
Why Do Cats Shed?
A large portion of cats shed, and it’s completely normal. Cats shed for a similar reason that humans shed hair: to remove dead hair and make room for healthy, new hair. A lot of the dead fur will be removed by your cat through grooming, but what is left behind will be lost through shedding. If your cat didn’t shed, it would cause skin irritation.
Most cats go through a fur growth cycle that follows the changes of seasons. During the fall, your cat will begin holding onto more of its fur in an attempt to bulk up its coat for the winter. You may notice less shedding at this time than at other periods throughout the year. When spring arrives, your cat will begin shedding its excess fur, which can lead to a higher level of shedding during the spring and summer.
When Does Shedding Become Excessive?
If you notice your cat has begun shedding way more than they usually do, that could be a sign of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. If you have any concerns about the amount of fur lost, or you notice bald spots on your cat, reach out to their vet for a checkup.
You know your cat best, so if you have concerns, it’s best to be safe. If you notice any of these other symptoms, they can be signs that there is something else going on besides normal shedding:
- Dry skin
- Red skin
- Excessive scratching
- Bald spots
- Lack of appetite
- Grooming more than normal
How to Help Ease Shedding Issues
If your cat is shedding excessively due to an underlying issue, or they are simply shedding their normal amount, there are ways you can help lessen the amount of fur your cat will shed. Here are some of the steps you can take to help control the shedding.
- Make sure your cat is receiving a nutritionally balanced diet
- Keep your cat treated for parasites and bugs throughout the year, not just during warm weather
- Make sure your cat is drinking enough water
- Brush your cat regularly to help remove dead fur in a controlled environment
- Make sure your cat has a space where they can destress as needed
Other things you can do include sweeping or vacuuming daily to clean up the shedding that does occur. If you have a long-haired cat, you may consider taking it to a groomer for a fur trim to help cut back on shedding. This can also be a good option for older cats who may not be able to groom themselves as well as they used to. Of course, always consult with your cat’s vet about any treatments or any shedding concerns you have!
Shedding is a normal part of life for a cat, but it can get out of hand in certain situations. If you’ve noticed your cat is shedding more than normal, it’s important to figure out the cause so that you can help them get relief. Taking your cat to the vet for a checkup is the best option because they can determine if there is a health issue behind the excessive fur loss.
Always practice regular brushing and grooming for your cat to help them clear out dead fur. This will help cut back on the shedding that occurs in your house, regardless of the severity. Knowing how to help the issue can allow you to experience relief from the excessive shedding in no time!