Why Does My Cat Shed So Much?

  • Time to read: 9 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an Amazon associate and affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

It is disconcerting to see your usually joyful cat shed too much fur. Typically, our mind races to assume that the shedding is a precondition of a serious illness. The truth is that there are a couple of underlying factors that trigger hair loss.

You will begin to notice an increase in shedding when the places that the cat deposits furs begin to have clumps instead of strands. The cat will rub off so much fur on your clothes that you will need to rub it off after getting in contact. In other cases, some cat breeds shed more fur than others. This case is especially true if the species is known to have long strands of fur.

 

Signs to confirm excessive shedding

  • Dry skin underneath the fur
  • Dry coating
  • Discolored skin
  • Fur pulls off easily

What is regular shedding?

Roy Cruzen of DVM states that shedding could be either normal or a result of triggers by contributive factors. It is this kind of variation that differentiates between normal shedding and extremities.

American Bobtails and Ragamuffins have longer furs than others. Sphynx cats have minimal hair, and it is unlikely that shedding will be as alarming as that of a regular house cat. Bengal cats and Ocicats shed very little, despite having some of the thickest coats among all species. The following factors affect the degree of normal shedding:

  • Breed
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Genetics

 

 

What is the professional opinion on shedding?

Megan Mouser is a professional and certified animal groomer. She has extensive work with Andis Co. in Milwaukee, as an animal education manager. She disputes the opinion that denser cats tend to shed more.

According to Meghan, the amount of shedding should is measurable by the reduction of fur on the body. Consequentially, they shed just as much as a normal furred cat would. She recommends owners to groom these species of cats once every week, to improve blood circulation and foster normal body temperature. The cat will then maintain as much shedding as a normal cat.

Cruzen is a vet clinician who has lengthy experience in treating shedding cats. He supports the notion that specific species shed more. According to this vet, you will notice extra shedding even when you breed two different species of a shedding and non-shedding quality.

 

How natural is the cat shed?

Cats are living and breathing mammals that g through the normal process all other animals do. The cat’s soft and beautiful fur does more than look good. It adapts well to temperature changes and makes the cat cooler or warmer, by the temperature. Fur is an evolutionary feature of cats that only grew to accommodate the changing climates of the world.

Typical shedding of fur should not be an alarming case. The process is a natural design of adaptation that keeps your cat happy and well-adjusted. Despite this case, what you need to know is whether heavy shedding is a stage of the normal type or an indicator of something more complex.  Observe an alarming situation for a couple of days or weeks to establish the awkwardness of the situation and rule out its normality.

 

 

What causes excessive shedding?

Environmental changes

One external cause of shedding is the environment. Cats have high sensitivity to their environment. They develop allergic reactions to weather elements due to a change in season or a change in location. You may notice the same changes at the same time every year.

Alternatively, the cat may shed a lot when certain trees begin to bloom. Keep an open mind on the causative agents because allergic reactions tend to stem from a wide array of cases. The only way to ascertain a shedding problem is to get a skin test from the Vet. It will affirm that the cat may be having an allergic reaction to any of the following possible conditions:

  • Tress
  • Wood pollen
  • Grass
  • Fleas
  • Dust
  • Rubber
  • Plastic materials
  • Fabric-like nylon or wool

 

Breed

Generally, cats from colder climates will exhibit excessive shedding. Short-haired cats from the same region will shed just as much but in proportion to the amount of fur or hair on the body. Perhaps your troublesome cat is one of the following species:

  • Kurilian Bobtail
  • American Bobtail
  • British Longhair
  • Maine Coon
  • Oriental Longhair
  • Nebelung
  • Siberian
  • Ragdoll
  • Coupari
  • Cymric
  • American Curl
  • Persians
  • Maine Coons
  • Russian Blues
  • American Shorthair

 

Imbalanced diet

Humans can lose hair when we indulge in poor nutrition for long periods. The same can happen to cats. Shopping for your cat’s food supply at the cheap isle will most likely be one reason for excessive shedding. The food might meet the minimal requirements and lack the major building blocks for a healthy fur coat and skin.

Quality cat food will cost about $4 per pound. This number means that you do not have to spend a ludicrous amount on one bag of food.

 

 

Another aspect of a poor diet is giving the cat gluten-free meals. This new age myth is an infection in the human diet that is now becoming a trend in the animal kingdom. Your cat will do fine with grains, if not thrive. Check with your vet to know if the specific cat breed is tolerant with the ingredients of your preferred diet before making a custom list.

 

Using bad shampoo

Grooming is a crucial part of your pet’s wellbeing. The good news is that most people understand that. The other news is that some people find it normal to use human shampoo on animals. The chemical composition of human shampoo is too harsh on cats.

Professional groomers also note when people do not rinse off the soapy water after a wash. One vet was alarmed at how much soap came off when they had to wash the pet. Rinsing the cat is important in maintaining the health of the skin and coat.

 

Stress

This aspect is almost the same as when humans undergo mental and emotional stress. We lose hair on our heads, whereas cats lose the fur on the body. Your cat is vulnerable to stress from a wide array of factors. Changing homes exerts a lot of the cat’s mental and emotional life.

It may take some time for the cat to adjust and resume normal bodily functions after a drastic change. Cruzen explains that you can help your cat adjust by administering drugs and supplements to calm the cat’s nerves and support a healthy nerve system.

Similarly, limit the number of visits you have to make to the vet or groomer. The cat may develop long-standing anxiety, that triggers a wave of stress issues. Provide the cat with extra blanket comfort and treats if you have compulsory regular visits.

 

Parasites

A cat with parasites on the skin will also scratch and itch a lot. Common feline parasites include mange mites, ticks, and fleas. The extra scratching is enough to induce excessive shedding.

A vet technician from Green Acres, Joan Vokes, states that fleas can cause anemia in cats. Anemia will then break down the cat’s skin structure and result in loss of the protective coating. She recommends working with a vet before diagnosing anatomical conditions such as anemia.

 

 

The occurrence of fleas and ticks will be evident in other animals in the household. You may also pick a few that hatch on clothes, beddings, windows, and doors.

 

Hormonal imbalance and illness

Some breeds will always shed more than usual when they deliver offsprings. Others will shed after undergoing neutering or spaying. The latter case is especially evident in older cats.

Cats will shed in specific body parts when dealing with certain illnesses. Here is a list of common illnesses which cause shedding:

  • Ringworm will cause fur loss in the affected area.
  • Bacterial infection
  • Thyroid illness
  • Fungal infection
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Skin allergy
  • Genetically acquired illness

A cat suffering from excessive shedding due to illness will test positive for several cases when you check with a vet.

  • A sudden increase or loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Confirmed growth of tumors
  • Endocrine imbalance
  • Lethargy
  • Poor mental state which could manifest as confusion
  • Significant increase in thirst
  • Excessive urination trips

 

 

You cannot establish that a cat has an illness that causes fur loss if you do not get medical intervention from the vet. This reason is that shedding due to an anatomical problem is non-inflammatory. The skin will look fairly normal, and the hair will shed beyond the typical rate. The first step is to take the cat to a vet once you notice a change in the body’s health or mental state.

 

Pregnancy

Pregnancy and lactation are heavy on any animal species. Humans support these processes by taking prenatal vitamins and reducing energy-depleting activities in the later stages of pregnancy. The same scenario is noticeable when cats have to carry a fleet of kittens. Hair loss becomes more significant when they have to breastfeed kittens from an already depleted body.

 

Age

The hair follicle in cats changes as the cat ages. Kittens will have smooth, soft, and short hair, which gets a replacement with longer and courser hair. The change occurs at around the sixth and eighth months. It takes a couple of weeks for the course hair to grow to its fullness. The age of shedding varies according to the breed of the cat and the dietary supplement. 

Young cats

Congenital hypotrichosis is a condition that affects kittens. It causes a reduction of hair at birth and eventual balding in the fourth month. Additionally, kittens are more prone to developing illnesses due to the undeveloped immune system. They are vulnerable to parasites, and ill have more shedding than an adult cat with the same issue. 

Older cats

Older cats may be vulnerable to illnesses due to the normality of the aging process or a buildup of bodily problems. Additionally, they will have plenty of hair when the owner forgets to conduct the normal grooming routine.

 

Time

The different times of the year will influence different levels of shedding. A keen owner will note that shedding increases at certain times of the year.

 Seasons

The amount of sunlight has a direct correlation with the shedding process. Most cats will experience excessive hair loss in summer and spring. Excessive shedding in the fall is an anatomical preparation for the cat to develop thicker and more protective layer in winter. The thick layers fall up in the warmer seasons because the cat’s body senses an increase in sunlight.

 

 

All-round the year

Inevitably, shedding throughout the year is a sign that your cat’s body does not understand the lighting within the house. The indoor light confuses the natural anatomical process and alters the method of shedding. This setup means that you will notice heavy shedding in the brighter seasons and lighter but consistent shedding at all other times of the year.

 

Quick solutions to survive excessive cat shedding

A quick solution to nursing your woes in summer and spring will fix excessive shedding. As a precaution, we do not recommend applying these quick solutions when shedding is due to an underlying medical issue. Contrastingly, normal shedding will reduce by a drastic ration when you use these inexpensive methods:
Brushing

This process collects fur and hair before it falls off. Use a brush with medium-sized strands to avoid harming the cat. A dual-sided brush will help in brushing the cat without the need to take breaks to fluff off the excess.

Bathing

It is a more long-lasting solution to removing loose hair or fur. It removes undercoat hair and of course, keeps your furniture cleaner for longer.

Dietary change

Reduce the amount of junk food you get and include natural foods such as fish. Omega fatty acids promote healthy coating and skin. Additionally, talk to the vet about the proper supplementation.  Increasing the water intake will prevent dryness of the skin. Refill the water bowl at least twice a day and carry a bottle for longer trips outside the home.

Improve the home

A comfortable home and cat bed will reduce shedding around the couch. Browse our site for more extensive knowledge on the behavior of cats so that you can pick the relevant, helpful tips from various topics.