As a cat owner, it can seem like there is an endless amount of cat fur covering your couch, clothes, and bedding. A cat shedding fur is normal, healthy even, but when do cats shed the most?
Part of caring for your cat is knowing their behaviors and habits. This helps you understand when something they’re doing or experiencing is normal or concerning. Keeping an eye on their shedding cycles can help you understand their well-being quite a lot.
Find out when cats shed the most, why they shed, and when they are shedding excessively.
Why Do Cats Shed?
Cats, like humans, shed their hair almost daily. They do this for several reasons, but the main reason is to get rid of dead hair. If they have too much unnecessary hair tangled in their coat, it can cause them irritation.
Unlike humans, cats can’t just put on or take off their coats when they get hot or cold. So, during seasonal changes, they’ll shed their winter coat for a lighter one to regulate their body temperature.
Cats start to shed their coat from a young age when they’re still kittens. Depending on their breed, they can begin to shed between six to 12 months of age. During this time, they lose their soft baby fluff and will start to sport their new adolescent pelt.
When Do Cats Shed the Most?
The time of the year cats shed the most depends on their environment. Cats shed according to how many hours they spend in sunlight. This is called a photoperiodic reaction and affects most living things, including plants. Whether your cat spends more time indoors or outdoors will determine when they’ll shed most.
When do Outdoor Cats Shed Most?
Outdoor cats get the most amount of sun as they’ll probably spend hours lazing in it and bathing in its warmth. For this reason, outdoor cats will shed mostly in spring and fall. As the seasons change from winter to summer, your cat’s coat will start to change to accommodate the temperature change.
In fall, they prepare for the freezing winter weather by shedding their old coat to make room for a new, warmer coat. Some cats can grow fur so thick in preparation for winter that they look like totally different breeds.
In spring, off comes the winter coat, and your cat is more likely to sport a thinner, airy coat for the blazing summer months. You can help your cat get rid of this thick winter coat by brushing them regularly.
When do Indoor Cats Shed Most?
Compared to outdoor cats, indoor cat breeds don’t get a lot of sunlight. Instead, they have artificial lighting or a small amount of the sun’s light through a window. While outdoor cats shed their fur to acclimate their body temperature to the temperatures outside, indoor cats have a more controlled temperature in their environment.
This means that indoor cats don’t need to shed their thick winter coats during spring. Instead, they steadily shed their fur all year-round. This also means that they shed little fur compared to the twice-a-year shedding that outdoor cats do.
That said, indoor cats still need to be groomed. The fact that they shed a few hairs daily, means a regular brush could prevent cat hairs from sticking to everything in your house. It also prevents the number of hairballs your cat and your vacuum cleaner will have.
Are There Cats That Don’t Shed?
While there are a few cats that don’t shed much fur, the only cat that definitely does not shed its coat is a hairless one. Unfortunately, Sphynx cats are quite rare so it might not be a viable option for some.
If you’re looking for a feline friend, but you’re allergic to their fur, there are a few cat breeds that are hypoallergenic that come to mind. These breeds produce fewer allergens due to how much protein they produce.
Best Hypoallergenic Cats:
- A Cornish Rex and Devon Rex are both great hypoallergenic breeds that don’t shed much fur. These curly-haired breeds make great companions to families with kids. The Cornish Rex is quite curious and adventurous, while the Devon Rex is loving and playful.
- Siamese cats are also an excellent breed to welcome into your family. They are quite talkative and friendly, which means you’ll have a lovely companion for life. If you brush them regularly, you’ll have minimal allergy issues.
- Burmese cats have short hair and are pretty low maintenance. It is one of the most friendly cat breeds and is rather playful and loving. They are also highly intelligent and love performing tricks for their owners.
What’s an Abnormal Amount of Shedding?
A “normal” amount of shedding depends on your cat’s breed. Some cats shed more than others, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. Fur, like hair, goes through four stages of growth. Knowing the fur growth stages will help determine the average time for hair to grow and shed.
Fur Growth Stages
The first stage, anagen, is the growth stage. The length of this stage in long hair breeds like a Siberian cat or Maine Coon vs normal cats with short hair will differ. Depending on the length of your cat’s fur, a single strand of hair can remain in this hair growth phase for years.
The second stage is called the Catagen phase. During this stage, the hair reaches its full length and stops growth. The hair follicle also shrinks, and the hair detaches from the lower strand.
This detachment phase is the third stage, the Telogen phase. This stage allows the hair to rest, neither growing nor shedding. The hair follicle can enter the fourth and last growth stage after a few weeks, months, or years (depending on the breed).
When it comes to the fourth stage, exogen, it’s the end of the hair growth cycle. This is when shedding happens, and the hair detaches completely from the follicle.
What is Excessive Shedding for Cats?
Cats are expert groomers and will lick their coats to help get rid of some excess hair. Cats, especially indoor cats, shed fur daily and might even cough up a hairball or two because of this.
The average amount of hairballs your cat should cough up is about once or twice a year. If you notice them coughing up a hairball more frequently than this, it might be time to give their coats a closer inspection.
Their daily shedding becomes a problem when they over shed their hair. This can easily transition into the category of hair loss instead. Of course, tell-tale signs of hair loss in cats are a thinner coat. They might also have a few bald patches with their skin a noticeable tint of pink instead of the standard white color.
Their coats may also have a different texture than their usual soft and shiny look and feel. If you notice that their fur feels rough, it could be because their hair is breaking off or a sign that they’ve been biting themselves.
Luckily, there are a few things you, as a cat owner, can do to soothe your kitten’s excessive shedding.
How to Help Your Cat Shed Less
There are a few ways you can help your cat shed less hair if you’re concerned for their wellbeing or just tired of vacuuming up strands from the carpet daily.
You are what you eat, and so is your cat. So, the first step in helping your cat in any way is making sure they are getting the required nutrients they need. Three things help maintain a healthy and luscious coat: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Both wet and dry cat foods are beneficial to your cat’s health and overall well-being. However, if you’re concerned they may not be getting enough nutrition, you can incorporate foods or supplements like this one heavy in fatty acids into their diet.
All cats aren’t the same and need different amounts of food and nutrients. This cat feeding guide will help you decide the best course of action for your feline friend.
Cats are excellent groomers and can spend hours licking and preening themselves. However, sometimes they need a little help from a friend. Brushing your feline’s coat regularly with one of the best cat brushes will help their shedding fur from getting all over the house.
Long-haired cats need their fur to be run through a grooming brush at least a few times a day. Depending on the breed, they can require a daily brush. Short-haired cats are less maintenance and can get away with a brush once a week.
Brushing doesn’t only help get rid of excess fur and dead skin cells. It also helps with circulation and stimulates the hair follicles for more hair growth. By brushing your cat’s fur, you also help them swallow less hair and will help with the amount of coughed-up hairballs.
In many cultures, cats are spiritual guardians. In these myths, cats can absorb negative energy and attract good fortune.
Whether you believe in this myth is up to you, but one sure thing is that a stressful environment creates stressed tenants and pets. And, like their owners during stressful times, their hair may start to shed or fall out. They may also lick themselves excessively, causing bald spots in their coat.
Cats that are thrown into a new environment can easily become stressed. Similarly, new people thrown into their environment can also cause stress. You can tell your cat is stressed by its body language.
A stressed or anxious cat may start panting, trembling, or salivating excessively. They might also act aggressively or hiss and growl at new visitors. The best way to calm a stressed or anxious cat is to remove them from the environment. In extreme cases, a trip to the vet is a good idea.
Go for a Check-Up
Cats can get seasonal allergies just like humans. During Spring and Fall (when they start to shed), it is also time for seasons to transition between colder and warmer months. Pollen and ragweed are abundant during this time and could be the reason your cat keeps sneezing.
While excessive shedding could just be as simple as seasonal allergies, sometimes it can be a symptom of a bigger problem. Dietary allergies can become a threat to your cat’s well-being if it isn’t diagnosed soon enough.
Besides allergies, more significant issues like illness and infection could be causing your cat to bald. A possible reason for rapid hair loss is ringworm. This skin infection is very contagious, and symptoms include redness around your cat’s ears, face, and paws.
This may be a shock to some if you’re not expecting it, but excessive hair loss could also mean that you’re about to become a grandparent. Rapidly changing hormones in expectant cats can cause hair loss, among other symptoms.
While your cat can experience hair loss through these ways, it is always better to get the real diagnosis through a trained professional.
Final Thought on When Cats Shed The Most
Cats start shedding their coats at a young age and will continue to shed their coats throughout their lives. After the initial shed from kitten to adolescent, they either shed their coats little by little each day or shed it about twice a year. This helps them regulate their body temperature and prepare themselves for the change of seasons.
They will help the process along, grooming themselves by licking, but excessive grooming and licking can be a symptom of a bigger problem. Keep a close eye on your cat’s skin and fur. If you notice a significant change in the amount of hair loss or a texture change, go for a checkup.
As a cat parent to a fur baby, you can help your cat’s coat by grooming them regularly and brushing out any excess hair or knots.
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