As a vet in general practice, a common topic of conversation during routine consultations is shedding.
Many cat owners despair at the amount of fur their feline friend sheds. Cat hair gets everywhere, on our clothes, bedding, and carpets!
It’s no wonder that owners ask me for advice on the best ways to stop cat shedding.
In this article, we will look at cat shedding in more detail, including some of my top tips for reducing the amount of hair your pet sheds. I will cover some of the basics of grooming and how you can reduce the amount of hair in your home by improving your cat’s skin health.
Read on to find out more!
Understanding Cat Shedding
First of all, I reassure owners that shedding is a natural process. It allows cats to get rid of old or damaged hairs, which are then replaced with new fur.
All cats shed varying degrees, just as we regularly shed and replace our hair too!
But, several things can influence how much a cat sheds, including breed, age, health status, and environmental factors like temperature and season.
Normal vs. Abnormal Shedding
Some owners are confused between normal shedding and abnormal.
A shedding cat usually has healthy-looking fur and skin with no bald patches.
Signs that something strange is going on include excessive scurf (dandruff), areas of hair loss, or skin that is crusty, inflamed, and sore.
Your cat might be overgrooming, too, which can say stress or excessive itchiness. Cats overgrooming spend much more time licking and scratching themselves than usual. If your cat shows any of these symptoms, then a trip to your vet is needed.
Tips for Reducing Cat Shedding
There is no way to stop cat shedding altogether, but here are some tips that may help reduce it.
Brush Your Cat Regularly
Brushing helps to actively remove loose fur from your cat’s coat before it has the chance to spread all over your home.
This is one of the best ways to stop cat shedding. It also helps distribute natural oils throughout your cat’s fur, improving its coat health and shine.
How to choose a brush?
You should choose a brush suitable for your cat’s coat type.
A rubber brush or grooming glove may be enough for a short-haired cat, whereas a long-haired one may enjoy a slicker brush or comb.
How often should I brush?
Again, coat type often dictates how often your cat will need brushing.
Short-haired cats can be brushed weekly, whereas long-haired cats need daily grooming to prevent loose fur from becoming tangled.
How to brush?
It’s essential to take things slowly, mainly if your cat is not used to being groomed.
Find a quiet time and gently start at their head, working your way down their body. Praise and reward them as you go.
Always follow the direction of hair growth and avoid tugging or pulling at any knots.
If your cat appears distressed at any point, then stop and try again later. Ask your vet for advice if your cat’s fur is tangled or matted.
Provide a Healthy Diet
A high-quality commercial diet will help ensure your cat gets all the vitamins and other nutrients they need for good skin health.
Pet-specific supplements that are aimed at improving coat conditions can sometimes be helpful.
These contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, often derived from fish oil, which can help improve coat health and reduce shedding.
It would always help to consult your vet for such supplements. Adding things like olive oil and coconut oil without guidance can sometimes cause problems such as digestive upset.
If your cat is overgrooming due to stress, look at their environment first.
Cats need free access to water, food, litter trays, scratch posts, and somewhere to sleep.
If you have many cats, this means ensuring each cat has their things provided in various locations throughout the home.
If there are not enough resources, fights can occur, or stress leading to issues like overgrooming or urinary problems.
Pheromones can be helpful or calming supplements, mainly if significant stresses are occurring like a house move, building works, or the arrival of a new family member.
Visit Your Vet
See your vet if you worry your cat is still shedding excessively.
You should make an appointment as soon as possible if you can also see other issues like bald patches or inflamed skin.
We are always happy to discuss reducing cat shedding and check your pet for health issues, which can worsen if not treated promptly.
Keep Your Home Clean
You will never stop a cat from shedding altogether, but regular hoovering can help keep up with the problem.
If your family members suffer from allergies, consider a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Some people also find air purifiers helpful, opening windows and regularly ventilating their homes.
Invest in a clothes brush or lint roller to help get loose hair off your clothing, bedding, and soft furnishings.
Providing your cat with a bed and encouraging them to sleep there rather than on yours is a good idea too.
Can I Shave My Cat To Reduce Shedding?
Shaving is an option for cats with long fur prone to matting. This keeps them more comfortable as well as reduces the amount of shedding. But, this is usually unnecessary for short-haired cats.
Are There Any Natural Ways To Stop Cat Shedding?
Shedding is a normal process many mammals do, so that no actual cat-shedding remedies will stop this. But, ensuring they have a good quality diet, a low-stress environment, and are regularly groomed can help a lot. Always speak to your vet if your cat’s shedding seems excessive.
Hopefully, some of my cat shedding solutions will help manage your home’s loose hair. While we can never stop cat shedding altogether, we can ensure that our feline friend’s coat is kept in top condition to help reduce the problem.
Above all, always get your cat checked over by a vet if you are worried about something abnormal.
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