Do cats shed?

Shedding is a normal occurrence in all furred animals. Cats are wonderful pets but these animals shed. Shedding is in fact one of the common concerns of pet owners.

All cats except the totally hairless breeds like the Sphynx shed. Some cat breeds are heavy shedders…other breeds hardly shed at all. Owners of Cornish Rex and the Devon Rex would not be concerned with cat hair that floats around the house because the curly and thin fur that lies close to the body appears not to shed at all. However, these cat breeds really lose their hair but the shedding is not very noticeable.

What is shedding and why do cats shed their hair. All cats normally drop old hair. This process is called shedding. Shedding is actually a process that maintains the good condition of the coat as old hair that falls off is replenished with new hair growth. Shedding can be accelerated by grooming the pet regularly. Dead hairs that are not removed through grooming will be released by the cat on its own. Cats in the wild and outdoor pets normally shed in spring and fall. Aside from the aesthetic value, the coat is as well used by cats for protection. Cats shed during the fall months to grow a thicker coat that will be the cat’s protection during the cold winter months. Thus outdoor cats will not be seen shedding in winter as the coat is used as thermal protection. In spring, the thick winter coat will be shed to be replaced with the kind of coat that will be more suitable for the hot summer months. The shedding process of indoor cats is different. Because the temperature inside the home is controlled, pet cats shed practically year round.

Some cats shed excessively so that the fur is riddled with unsightly bald patches. While shedding is a sign of health (sick cats do not shed), excessive shedding can as well point to a health concern. Abnormal shedding can be attributed to dietary, medical and stress related issues. The kind of diet the cat has can be the reason why it is shedding abnormally. Cats are carnivores…supposed to have animal based protein in their diet. However, low quality manufactured cat foods have cereal extenders and other plant products. Excessive shedding can be caused by the soya in the pet’s diet. Heavy octoparasite infestation can cause excessive shedding. Fleas would cause the cat to itch. The cat’s incessant scratching and chewing can lead to bacterial infection. Stress is another possible reason for the cat’s excessive shedding. What kind of situation would be stressful for the cat? The introduction of a new pet or a new baby that becomes the center of attention of the family would be stressful for the resident cat. A stressed cat would tend to pull on its hair, to scratch and to chew until bald spots appear on the coat. A cat that sheds excessively may have an underlying medical condition. Cats with allergies, skin infections and other medical conditions have to have medical attention.

A cat that is shedding normally would still need to be attended to. The cat has to be groomed regularly. Regular brushing will remove the dead hair that can cause itchiness and irritation. Regular grooming is especially necessary for long haired breeds. By grooming the pet regularly, dead hair will be removed before it falls inside the house. Cats are fastidious groomers and many car owners have the idea that grooming the pet is not necessary. However, regular removal of dead hair prevents the formation of hairballs. Most importantly, grooming is an ideal form of interaction that strengthens the bond between owner and pet.