Shedding season is upon us! As spring hits and all the snow melts, you’re probably noticing an influx in cat hair everywhere - even more than usual! And unless you’re the owner of a “hairless breed”, like a Sphynx or Devon Rex, chances are you’re an expert at lint rolling.
Shedding is a completely natural process of hair growth and replacement for cats. Unlike humans (and some dog breeds), a cat’s hair grows to a certain length, dies, and falls out naturally when the new hair replaces it. This is why cats, unlike people, don’t need hair cuts to keep their coats the same length.
Needless to say, dealing with shedding is a natural part of owning a cat (or dog). Most cat owners have come to simply accept defeat and realize, “Cat hair? Don’t care!”
But there are ways you can help manage your cat’s shedding. Here are just a few!
Now, this might seem fairly obvious to some. But by grooming your cat regularly, you’re controlling the amount of fur you brush off and it ends up on your brush instead of all over your couch...and bed, and chairs, and somehow inside the refrigerator?! If your cat doesn't like brushes, try incorporating grooming into quality petting time with a grooming glove, which fits over your hand and has soft bristles that will catch all the cat hair. When you pet your cat with the glove, it feels like petting (and maybe even a little kitty massage) but grooms your cat at the same time.
Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your favorite feline! And, regular brushing can help reduce the amount of fur your cat licks off during grooming - and thus reduce hairballs, too!
Many cat owners know how picky cats can be about their drinking water! It’s important to make sure your kitty is hydrated, not only for healthy kidneys, but a cat who is not getting enough water can also develop dry skin and lose fur more rapidly. Make sure to provide your cat with fresh, clean drinking water - preferably kept away from their food (as cats instinctively like to keep their food separate from their water sources). If your cat prefers drinking from a running faucet, it might be because they can hear the running water better than they can see the still water in the bowl. Try a circulating water fountain designed for cats that prefer running water to encourage your cat to drink more - without you having to leave the faucet running!
A balanced diet.
One cause of excess shedding in cats can be diet-related. If your cat isn’t getting the proper nutrients in their food, their coat may be dull, excessively oily, and more prone to dandruff and excessive shedding. Cats can also develop food allergies that often manifest in skin conditions, leading to dry skin and excess shedding. If you think your cat is shedding too much (losing patches of fur, scratching excessively, red, irritated skin), it may be an allergy. Consult your veterinarian, who can help determine if your cat’s diet is where it needs to be.
Reduce stress or anxiety.
Another common cause of excessive shedding in cats is stress or anxiety. Cats are incredibly sensitive to changes in their environment, like a sudden move or even a death in the family (animal or human.) Other symptoms of a stressed or anxious cat can be unusual hiding behavior, aggression, and lethargy. The first step is to try and pinpoint where the source of stress or anxiety may be coming from; that way, you can work to eliminate the source of the stress.
It is also important to keep your cat mentally and physically active for them to be their happiest, healthiest selves! Try taking 15 minutes to play with your kitty. Try a few toys to see what type they like best. Do they prefer a wand or teaser toy? Or are they more of a laser pointer fanatic?
Stressed or anxious cats will need extra compassion and care from their humans. Spending extra time with the cat, providing new toys or beds, interactive playtime, and special treats can all help.All in all, cats shed and cat owners just have to get used to it - but there are ways to manage the shedding! Just remember, love your cat ... and keep the lint roller handy!