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Why do cats shed their fur?

Most domesticated cats will shed all year round. However, normally they will experience two particularly significant episodes of shedding each year. The first will be in the approach to summer, as the days start to get longer and warmer. This will take away their thick winter coats to help them keep cool in the hotter weather.

They will also shed again at the end of the summer, as their bodies prepare to start regrowing their winter coats. The biology of indoor cats will be less influenced by the changing seasons, and you may not notice so much of a pattern to their shedding.

Shedding is a perfectly natural and important process for cats. It allows for new fur to grow in the place of old and keeps coats thick and shiny. This will also help against tangles and matting in long-haired cats and promotes healthy skin. Cats shedding may change as they get older, because mobility issues can cause changes to their grooming habits. Pregnant cats are also prone to excess shedding, this is due to hormonal changes.

Too much, or too little shedding, could be a sign that your cat is unwell. Excessive shedding could be caused by:

  • Poor diet
  • Allergies
  • Stress
  • Skin inflammation/irritation
  • Parasites such as fleas

If your cat stops shedding, or you notice any bald spots or changes in the texture or appearance of their fur, it is best to pay a visit to your vet.

Also, if you notice any dander / dandruff in the fur, this may be due to an allergy, so it could be necessary to change the protein they are eating / alter their diet. However, cats on a good quality raw fed diet, will usually be less prone to this.

Cats groom themselves to speed up the shedding process. You can help them along by regularly brushing them. Some cats will enjoy being brushed and will be happy for you to do this daily. If they are less keen, it is fine to brush them only once or twice a week. It is best to keep sessions short and regular for best results and a happy cat. You could also reward them with a treat at the end of it, to make it worth their while!

Although we can try to minimise the amount of fur that is being left around our homes, we will never be able to eliminate it completely. It is a good idea to invest in a good quality vacuum cleaner for your carpeted floors and you can use a dry microfibre mop to pick up hairs from hard floors. Hair can be removed from furnishings and clothes by using a lint roller or a damp rubber glove.

Ensuring your cat keeps hydrated, is fed a good diet and lives in a stress-free environment, will all help to minimise shedding.

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