June 22, 2018 |0 min read |Veterinarian Reviewed
How to Survive Your Cat's Hair Shed This Summer
Nobody likes wearing cat hair to work.
It's summertime and your cat may be turning your home (and wardrobe) into a hairy mess.
Rather than single-handedly keeping 3M Lint Rollers in production, here are a few cat hair solutions while your feline friend goes through her summer shed.
As much as we love our fluffy, soft felines, there are some that shed a ridiculous amount. If you’ve ever given your cat one affectionate stroke down her back and come away with a hand that resembles Chewbacca’s, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
- American Bobtail
- Kurilian Bobtail
- Maine Coon
- British Longhair
- Oriental Longhair
- American Curl
In general, cat breeds that originate from colder climates - for instance, the Maine Coon and Himalayan cats - are more prone to shedding. However, don’t be fooled by short hair cats. Even cuties like the short-haired Chartreux can be heavy shedders.
If you have a moggy cat - aka, a mixed breed - she could have the shedder’s curse common among the above breeds, too.
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Thinking about getting a new feline companion but want to avoid the fashion faux-pas of wearing cat hair to work? Consider getting one of these breeds known for their minimal shedding:
While some of these cat breeds do shed a bit during seasonal changes, their fur follies are far less noticeable.
Of course, if you want to be that cat parent, you could always go for a hairless sphynx and sidestep the shedding dilemma altogether.
Know Your Cat’s Fur... or Hair
Cats come in so many different colors, body types, and personalities – but did you know they also have different types of coats?
1, 2, 3 Coats!
The cats that shed the most are those with multiple layers of fur. Cats have either a single-, double-, or triple-coat of fur. Single-coat cats shed far less and triple-coat cats shed far more. By understanding your cat’s unique coat, you can apply the grooming regimen that’s going to have the best impact on the shedding issue.
single coat Turkish Angora cat
Single-coat cats only have guard hairs, which makes their coats silky, smooth, and fine. Turkish Angoras, for example, are a single-coat breed with only guard hairs.
Double-coat cats, like Persians, have an outer layer of awn or down hairs that provide an added layer of warmth.
Triple-coat cats, as you probably guessed, have all three types of hairs. Siberian cats are a common example of triple-coat cats and can shed an infuriating amount each day.
Fur or Hair
In addition to having different numbers of layers of fur, some cats don’t even have fur at all – they have hair! While it’s common to use the words “fur” and “hair” interchangeably in the world of cat parenting, they’re actually quite different things... sort of.
All fur is technically hair, but not all hair is fur. Just like all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.
Stay with us here.
In other words, all cats have hair. Just like all people have hair. But only cats that have very thick, dense hair are considered to have fur.
If your cat’s coat is particularly dense to the point where you can’t separate it with your fingers to see her skin on most of her body, she likely has fur. If a quick puff of air allows you to separate your cat’s coat and see that cute pink belly, she has hair.
Why does all this matter? Well, because cats with double- and triple-coats, and cats with fur need far more grooming than cats with single-coats or thin hair.
Groom, Groom, Groom
Thanks to modern inventors, there are dozens of great products out there that can help you whisk away as many hairs from your cat’s body in one motion. The trick is to find what your cat will tolerate best.
While some cats yearn for brushing time, others dodge it every chance they get. If your cat runs away when she sees you pull out the hair brush, consider switching to a grooming glove instead. For many cats, it feels just like you’re petting them and they’ll be completely oblivious to the fact that you’re actually getting ahead of the shedding problem.
Yes. Baths. We know, we know... cats and water don’t mix. But baths can significantly help reduce shedding and some cats may even surprise you by tolerating the water.
If your cat absolutely despises baths and refuses to cooperate, wet a washcloth and wipe her down, from head to toe. The water will help trap lose hairs and give your kitty a better clean than brushing alone.
Do this every 4 to 6 weeks and you’ll notice a dramatic reduction in the amount of cat hair in the air and on your clothes.
Get a Check Up
If you’ve been staying on top of your cat’s grooming and she’s still shedding like crazy, or if you have a cat breed that’s known for being a low-shedder but she’s still losing lots of fur, you may need to call your vet.
There are several internal issues that could be causing your cat’s excess shedding. For example, poor nutrition from low-quality food can cause your cat’s hair to fall out at an alarming rate. Allergies (yes, your cat can get allergies, too!) can also be a factor in shedding.
More serious issues like hyperthyroidism and hormonal problems may require medical intervention. If you’re concerned about your cat’s hair loss, don’t wait. Take her in for a check up as soon as possible.
To Cut or Not to Cut?
You probably noticed that we didn’t recommend getting your cat’s hair cut. That’s because while it may solve a problem for you short-term, there are two giant downsides.
First, even if your cat’s hair is cut shorter – or, gasp!, shaved – she’s still going to shed. The hairs that fall are just going to be shorter.
Second, and more importantly, getting a haircut can be an extremely stressful experience for a cat. Even if your groomer is the sweetest, most gentle person you know, your cat may still get anxiety. That stress can wreak havoc on your cat’s health, so to us it’s just not worth it.