How to Deshed a Cat
Table of Contents
Shedding is a natural process for cats, as it is for many other animals. However, excessive shedding can be a sign of underlying issues. Additionally, excessive shedding can also affect you and your family in several ways -as we’ll discuss below-
Why Do Cats Shed?
Cats shed to get rid of old or damaged fur and to grow new fur in its place. Also, shedding helps regulate body temperature and protect cats’ skin. The amount of fur your cat sheds can be influenced by factors such as genetics, age, lifestyle, health, and seasonal changes.
For instance, cats usually shed more in the spring and fall as they adjust to changing temperatures and daylight hours.
Why is My Cat Shedding So Much?
Excessive shedding can be a sign of an underlying health issue, and it’s important to monitor your cat’s shedding patterns and consult your vet if you notice any changes.
For a full guide on cat shedding and signs to look out for, check out this article: Why is May Cat Shedding So Much?
Excessive Shedding Problems
Excessive shedding in cats can lead to several problems for both cats and owners, including:
- Allergies: Shedding can cause allergens to spread throughout the house, triggering allergic reactions in some people. These allergens can also contribute to respiratory problems in both cats and humans.
- Hairballs: When cats groom themselves, they ingest a lot of fur. Excessive shedding can lead to an increased risk of hairballs, which can cause vomiting, constipation, and other digestive problems.
- Skin irritation: Excessive shedding can be a sign of skin irritation, such as dry skin or dermatitis. This can lead to discomfort and scratching, which can worsen the shedding and lead to further skin irritation.
- Mats and tangles: Excessive shedding can make it more difficult to maintain a cat’s coat, leading to mats and tangles. These can be uncomfortable for cats and may need to be shaved or trimmed to prevent further problems.
- Overall appearance: Excessive shedding can lead to a dull, unkempt appearance for cats, which can impact their overall health and well-being. It can also impact the cleanliness of the home, leading to additional problems like odors and allergies.
How To Deshed your Cat
Deshedding your cat can help reduce the amount of hair your cat sheds and prevent hairball formation.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to deshed your cat:
- Start by brushing your cat’s coat with a slicker brush to remove any loose hair and mats. Work in the direction of the hair growth and be gentle to avoid hurting your cat.
- Use a deshedding tool such as a shedding blade or a furminator to remove any loose hair that the brush didn’t catch. These tools are designed to penetrate the coat and remove loose hair without damaging the skin or fur.
- Use a rubber grooming glove or a damp cloth to wipe down your cat’s coat and remove any remaining loose hair. This can also help to remove dander and other debris from your cat’s coat.
- Bathe your cat using a cat-specific shampoo designed to reduce shedding. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid any residue that may irritate your cat’s skin.
- Dry your cat thoroughly using a towel or a hair dryer set on low heat. Be sure to brush your cat’s coat as it dries to prevent any matting or tangles.
- Monitor your cat’s shedding patterns and adjust your grooming routine as needed. Regular brushing and deshedding can help keep your cat’s coat healthy and reduce shedding over time.
Other Tips for Managing Shedding in Cats
In addition to deshedding (explained above), follow these tips to control your cat’s shedding:
- Regular grooming: Brushing your cat’s coat regularly can help remove loose hair and prevent matting. It can also distribute natural oils throughout your cat’s coat, which can help promote a healthy coat and reduce shedding.
- Proper nutrition: Feeding your cat a healthy diet that is rich in essential fatty acids can help promote a healthy coat and reduce shedding.
- Hydration: Keeping your cat hydrated can help keep their skin and coat healthy. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water and consider adding wet food to their diet. This is especially important in the summer!
- Air filtration: Using an air purifier or air filter can help reduce airborne allergens and dander that can contribute to shedding.
- Regular vet visits: Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help identify any underlying health issues that may contribute to excessive shedding.
- Brush your cat regularly: Regular brushing can help remove loose hair before it ends up on your furniture, carpets, and clothes. Use a brush that is appropriate for your cat’s coat type and be sure to brush in the direction of the hair growth.
Cat Fur on Furniture
As a cat parent, you know the feeling of having fur on your furniture and clothes. It’s one of the nuances associated with having a cat, yet we still love our cats.
The good news is that you can protect your furniture and clothes from being covered in cat fur by doing the following:
- Vacuuming: Regularly vacuuming your home can help remove loose hair and dander from carpets, rugs, and furniture. Consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to capture small particles and allergens.
- Lint rollers: Keep a lint roller handy to quickly remove loose hair from clothing and furniture.
- Use air filters: Air filters can help reduce airborne allergens and dander that can contribute to shedding. Consider using an air purifier or air filter with a HEPA filter to capture small particles.
- Wash bedding: Wash your cat’s bedding regularly to remove loose hair and dander. Be sure to use a gentle, fragrance-free detergent.
- Use grooming tools: In addition to brushing, consider using other grooming tools like shedding combs or gloves to help remove loose hair.
- Use furniture covers: Consider using furniture covers to protect your furniture from shedding. These can be removed and washed as needed to keep them clean.
Diet and Nutrition
Diet can play a significant role in how much fur a cat sheds. Feeding your cat a balanced and nutritious diet can help reduce excessive shedding. Here are a few ways diet can affect shedding:
- Lack of essential nutrients: If your cat is not receiving essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals, it can lead to dry and brittle hair which can result in excessive shedding.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy skin and coat. A diet deficient in these fatty acids can result in a dull coat and excessive shedding. Feeding your cat food that contains omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon or tuna can help reduce shedding.
- High-quality protein: Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they require high-quality protein in their diet. Protein is essential for the growth and maintenance of healthy skin and hair. Feeding your cat food that contains high-quality protein can help reduce shedding.
- Water intake: Adequate water intake is important for keeping your cat’s skin hydrated. Dehydration can lead to dry and flaky skin, which can result in excessive shedding. Ensure that your cat has access to clean and fresh water at all times.
- Food allergies: Some cats may have food allergies that can cause excessive shedding. If you suspect that your cat has a food allergy, consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action.
Overall, feeding your cat a balanced and nutritious diet that meets their specific nutritional needs can help reduce shedding and promote a healthy skin and coat.
Supplements for Cat Shedding
Supplements can be a great addition to a cat’s diet to support healthy skin and coat. Here are some of the most common supplements recommended for cats. As always, please consult your veterinarian before giving your cat any medication or supplement.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy skin and coat. They can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin and fur. Fish oil supplements are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids for cats.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help protect skin cells from damage caused by free radicals. It can also help improve the condition of the skin and coat. Vitamin E supplements are available in both liquid and capsule form.
- Biotin: Biotin is a B vitamin that can help strengthen nails, skin, and hair. It can help reduce shedding and promote healthy skin and coat. Biotin supplements are available in both liquid and capsule form.
- Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that plays a crucial role in the growth and maintenance of healthy skin and coat. It can help reduce shedding and promote healthy fur. Zinc supplements are available in both liquid and capsule form.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health and promote healthy skin and coat. They can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy digestion. Probiotic supplements are available in powder or capsule form
Seasonal vs. Year-Round Shedding
Seasonal shedding is when cats shed more heavily during specific times of the year, such as during the spring and fall months, when they are transitioning between winter and summer coats. During these times, cats may shed their thick winter coats in preparation for a lighter summer coat, or vice versa. This shedding is often influenced by changes in daylight and temperature.
Year-round shedding may be influenced by factors such as breed, age, and overall health. Cats that shed year-round will continuously shed a moderate amount of fur, rather than shedding heavily during specific times of the year.
All cats shed to some degree, but the amount and frequency of shedding can vary depending on individual factors, especially your cat breed. Regular grooming and proper nutrition can help to manage shedding in cats.
Cat Breeds That Shed the Most
Some breeds may shed more than others due to their coat type and length. Here are some cat breeds that are known to shed heavily:
- Persian cats: Their long, thick fur requires daily grooming to prevent matting and excessive shedding.
- Maine Coon cats: They have a thick, shaggy coat that requires frequent grooming to manage shedding.
- Siamese cats: Their short, fine fur sheds moderately year-round.
- American Shorthair cats: They have a dense, short coat that can shed heavily during certain times of the year.
- Himalayan cats: Their long, silky fur requires daily grooming to prevent matting and shedding.
- British Short-hair cats: They have a thick, plush coat that can shed heavily during certain times of the year.
Does Bathing a Cat Reduce Shedding?
Bathing a cat can help reduce shedding, but it’s not going to address the root cause (if there’s any).
Regular bathing can help remove loose hair and dirt from your cat’s coat, which can reduce shedding.
That said, remember that not all cats enjoy being bathed, and over-bathing can actually strip your cat’s skin and coat of essential oils, leading to dryness and more shedding. Additionally, some cats may experience stress or anxiety during bath time, which can lead to even more shedding.
How long does cat shedding last?
The correct answer is “it depends”. However, in general, cats tend to shed more in the spring and fall, as they transition between their winter and summer coats. During this time, shedding can last for several weeks or even a few months.
Some cats breeds, such as the Siamese and the Devon Rex, shed very little year round.
At what age do cats start shedding a lot?
Cats generally begin to shed their kitten coat and grow their adult coat at around 6 months of age. During this time, they may experience a temporary increase in shedding as their new coat grows in.
As cats age, their shedding patterns may change due to various factors, such as hormonal changes or health issues. Senior cats may also experience more shedding as their coat becomes thinner and more fragile.
Either way, always monitor your cat’s shedding rate/pattern and consult your vet if you notice any sudden changes. Your cat will thank you!