With the exception of the hairless Sphynx, all cats shed their hair. Unfortunately, this hair usually winds up all over your furniture and clothing. To control your kitty's shedding and prevent hairballs, frequent grooming and natural supplements can reduce that loose hair to a more tolerable level.
Why Kitties Shed
Your kitty will shed her coat mostly in the spring and fall in preparation for changes in the weather. Prior to the summer, your cat sheds her thick winter coat, while in the fall, she sheds her thin summer coat to make room for her warm winter one. Because the indoors are typically temperature-controlled, indoor cats tend to shed all year round. In some cases, poor nutrition can lead to increases in shedding. Always feed your furry buddy food that has been nutritionally balanced for her and approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, so she gets all the vitamins and minerals she needs for a healthy coat.
The best way to naturally control your furry friend's shedding is to brush her daily to remove the dead hair from her coat. Wire-bristle brushes, such as slicker brushes, get down to your kitty's undercoat and work well for long-haired cats. Softer-bristle brushes and combs well for medium- to short-haired cats. Use grooming gloves, which have comb-like rubber nubs on them, to remove excess hair from your kitty’s outer coat. These types of gloves work well with a kitty who doesn't enjoy being brushed, because they feel like you are simply stroking her coat. While you don't have to brush your furball daily, it prevents shedding, hairballs and knots in the fur more than less frequent grooming.
While most cats aren't crazy about being bathed, a bath every two weeks helps remove excess hair, dirt and debris. When bathing, use a soap-free, gentle shampoo and follow with a conditioner to keep the hair moisturized and give it a nice sheen. To avoid a full bath, wipe your kitty down with a damp washcloth or special pet wipes, found in pet supply stores. Follow with a spray of leave-in conditioner to moisturize the coat. The more moist the coat, the healthier the hair, which makes it less likely to shed.
Certain natural supplements are available in pet supply stores that help with the overall quality of your kitty's coat, helping to reduce shedding. These supplements contain ingredients like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help moisturize the coat and skin, reducing shedding. Both fish oil and flax seed oil contain these fatty acids and can be given directly to your kitty by mixing them into her food. Some treats are formulated with these ingredients and can be fed to her.
If your kitty is shedding more than usual, it could indicate a medical issue. Bring your little one to the vet for an exam to rule out any illness that could be causing your cat's excessive shedding. Before giving your furry pal any supplements, consult with your veterinarian to ensure they are appropriate and safe for her. He can also give you recommendations on the dose needed for your particular kitty, based on her weight.
- Country Living: How Can I Stop My Cat From Shedding?
- VetInfo: 7 Ways to Stop Cat Shedding
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Shedding
- VetInfo: When Do Cats Shed the Most?
- WebMD: Cat Shedding
- PetPlace: What To Do If Your Cat Is Shedding
- Cat Channel: Stop the Shedding!
- Martha Stewart: Shedding Animals
- VetInfo: Excessive Shedding in Cats
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.