BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

How to Stop a Cat from Shedding: No More Hair Clumps and Bald Spots

Picture of a Balinese Cat sitting
Martha Harvey
Written by Martha Harvey

Shedding in cats is supposed to be a natural event, but at times the hair loss could get out of hand. If your cat is shedding so much that your furniture and clothes are covered with innumerable hair clumps every day and, to your horror, you have started to notice bald spots in your cat’s beautiful coat, it’s a sign that something needs to be done—quick. You’ll need to find out how to stop a cat from shedding excessively.

Reducing your cat’s shedding is beneficial not only for you, but also everyone around you and your cat himself on top of it. Unlike popular belief, cat hair is actually not all that dangerous to us as long as the cat is healthy and the person is not allergic because our lungs are great at filtering them out, but having cat hair strewn across all our clothes and furniture is still unsightly.

Grooming the cat will eliminate extra hair and reduce shedding.

Excessive hair shedding could also be a sign of poor health or stress. By getting to the roots of the problem, you would be keeping your cat healthy and your surroundings neat and tidy at the same time.

To make sure that your furniture will be free of cat hair for years to come and that your cat won’t start growing bald spots, we have compiled all relevant information that a cat owner should know regarding shedding in one cohesive article. But first, before we get into details on how to stop your favorite furry friend from shedding excessively, let’s look at some reasons as to why cats shed.

Why Cats Shed Hair

You may have noticed that most of the shedding that your cat goes through usually happens during the spring and the summer. During autumn and winter, the shedding is usually minimal.

This is what happens:

  • In wintertime, human beings put on heavyset clothes to ward off the cold. Cats, on the other hand, have the ability to handle this situation naturally. They will grow more hair during the autumn so that their body will be able to stay warm throughout the winter.

  • When the cold season is over, and it is almost summer, cats start shedding hair in order to be able to stay comfortable during this hot season—just like how we human beings remove our winter clothes when it starts to get hot outside.

The aforementioned process is an explanation of the natural reason why cats shed hair. Cats could also shed hair due to other reasons, such as poor living environments, poor physical health, as well as poor mental health.

An Orange Maine Coon

No matter what the reason is, we believe that you will find an appropriate solution in the step-by-step guide below.

Steps to Reduce Your Cat’s Shedding

Yes, it can be done. There’s no way to stop the changing seasons in their tracks so your cat would stop shedding totally, but you can reduce the shedding significantly by following some very simple steps.

Step #1: Make Sure the Cause Isn’t a Health Condition

If your cat starts shedding an abnormal amount in a very short amount of time, it’s best to take your cat to the vet to get checked out.

Beautiful white cat at the vet control

If you notice any of these signs, you should immediately start suspecting poor health as the reason behind your cat’s dangerous hair fall intensity:

  • A Non-Shiny Coat: A cat that is experiencing normal or healthy shedding will have a shiny coat. If you find that your cat’s coat is looking dull or dry, it means that either your cat has serious health problems or the rate at which they are shedding their hair is unhealthy.

  • Bald-Patches on Your Cat’s Skin: Your cat’s hair is supposed to be evenly distributed throughout their body. Bald spots are a clear sign of skin conditions or other health issues such as flea infestation, stress, or fungal attack.

  • Rashes: Try combing through your cat’s hair with your hand. Do you see spots on their skin that are red and irritated? If the answer is yes, then you’ll need to get your cat checked out immediately.

The reasons why your cat is shedding abnormally could be due to:

  • Ringworms

  • An allergic reaction

  • Flea infestation

  • Hormonal imbalance

  • Stress

  • Pregnancy or lactation

  • Sunburn

  • Bacterial infection

In order to successfully stop your cat from shedding, it is essential that you first conduct tests in order to determine exactly which among the above factors is causing your cat to shed too much. So take your cat to the vet.

The importance of doing this is that it will save you time and effort. What we mean by this is that when you are very clear about what is causing shedding in your cat, you will be able to select the methods which will work for your cat and avoid wasting your time on a methods that won’t work.

Cat being examined at the vet

For example, if your cat is shedding as a result of fleas, you can’t stop the shedding through the use of a method that is meant to counteract bacterial infection. If the vet gave your cat a clean bill of health and their shedding is still considered to be within the normal range, you can breathe easier and practice the following steps to help reduce the shedding naturally.

Step #2: Brush Your Cat

This is a very effective and simple way of controlling shedding in your cat. Frequent brushing has plenty of benefits to offer to you and your cat, such as:

  • Enhanced monitoring of your cat’s health: When you are brushing your cat you get to be closer to him or her. This allows you to notice anything that might indicate that something is wrong with your cat immediately. This will allow you to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible before your cat is overly affected by the health issue.

  • Keeping mats from forming on your cat’s coat: This is a problem that usually happens to long-haired cats. Mats have their disadvantages. These include preventing air from accessing your cat’s skin—hence causing irritation and other skin-related problems. Not to mention petting a heavily matted cat definitely isn’t as much fun as petting a silky-haired cat.

  • Remove loose hair: This, in turn, reduces the amount of shedding that your cat experiences. Your cat can do this himself by grooming, but in the process, they ingest all that hair. Since the hair can’t be digested, they vomit it back up as a hairball. Frequent hairball vomiting is bad for your cat’s health, so you’ve got to lend assistance.

  • You get to spend time with your cat: As a pet owner, you need time to bond with your pet so that you two can become fast friends.

As you can see, brushing has far more advantages than just reducing the amount of shedding that your cat experiences. Just make sure to do this correctly because if you get too rough or you pull on the wrong knot, you could cause your cat unnecessary pain.

Owner showing how to brush a cat

A handy tip: You need to purchase the perfect brush for your cat. See, cats have different types of hairs. You cannot use the same brush you use on a cat with short hair on a cat with long hair.

The frequency at which you brush your cat will also depend on how long your cat’s hair is. To give you an example, for cats with long hair, you may need to brush their hair daily. If your cat has shorter hair, brushing their hair once every two days is enough.

Step #3: Improve Your Cat’s Diet

Your cat requires rich food in order to maintain their health. Our in-house experts will enumerate the key components that you need to include in your cat’s diet in order to help them maintain a healthy coat and also minimize shedding.

Essential Nutrient #1: Moisture

Water is very essential. Most pet owners are used to giving their cat dry food. This affects your cat’s skin negatively. Cats don’t drink from water bowls often because they are used to getting their required amount of moisture from their food in the wild. If you keep your cat on a strictly dry diet, they could get unhealthy quickly.

Close-up of a cat drinking water

To achieve the required amount of water in your cat’s body, consider mixing wet food into her diet. Wet food contains eight times more water than what is found in dry food.

Essential Nutrient #2: Omega 3 and Omega 6

An absence of these fatty acids causes your cat to have a dry and dull coat. Also, your cat will start experiencing hair loss. You can solve the absence of omega 3 and omega 6 minerals in your cat’s diet through purchasing supplements that contain these fatty acids and mixing them into your cat’s food the next time you feed him or her. Omega 3 is usually found in flax oils and fish.

Essential Nutrient #3: Protein

Protein helps in keeping your cat’s skin healthy. Protein also contributes towards the growth of hair. As a matter of fact, hair is made of keratin, and keratin is a type of protein. One important point to note is that the kind of protein you should offer your cat needs to be animal-based and not plant based since cats are obligate carnivores.

A cat eating fish based wet food

Make sure you offer your cat all natural food. Food that contains artificial preservatives and other additives like coloring may lead to allergic reactions. These allergic reactions may turn into skin problems—something that may then lead to shedding. Also, as an added advantage, natural food is more nutritious as compared to artificial food.

Step #4: Keep Your Cat Stress-Free

Stress may be a huge factor or even the sole reason as to why your cat is shedding excessively. Any time your cat is stressed, their hair tends to fly off. Find what is causing stress to your pet and eliminate these sources of duress. Common causes include the presence of a more dominant cat in the house or a change in their environment. If you cannot seem to identify what is causing stress to your cat, you can use Feliway diffusers to help your cat handle emotional stressors in a healthy manner.

Step #5: Keep Fleas Away

When your cat is suffering from fleas, the itch will cause them to scratch excessively. This, in turn, causes shedding. To make sure that this does not happen, use flea treatments to keep fleas away.

A cat scratching itself

If fleas have already invaded your cat, you should first use a flea shampoo to kill these fleas together with their eggs before employing preventive measures to keep any future fleas from attacking your pet.  Also, if your cat is getting these fleas from somewhere in your house, you may need to do an intensive spring cleaning or the fleas may just come back again after several days.

Step #6: Bathe Your Cat Routinely

Bathing your cat does more than making them smell nice. If you give your cat a good bath, it can help in removing loose hair from your cat’s coat. The right kind of shampoo will also coat your cat’s hair with a layer of healthy oils. This will reduce the amount of shedding your cat experiences.

Owner bathing her cat

The frequency at which you bathe your cat depends on his hair type. For short-haired cats, consider bathing them every month. For long-haired cats, in order to control the amount of shedding, consider bathing him or her every two weeks.

Wrap Up

Cat owners should realize that living with a cat and dealing with hair shedding come as a packaged deal, especially during summer and spring. All cats shed, but some cat breeds don’t shed as much. Examples include cat breeds without hair such as the Peterbald, Sphynx, and Donskoy. The Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, and Siamese shed a lot less than other cats because they usually have short hair.

Our article is meant to help you reduce the shedding, but it is not possible to prevent your cat from shedding completely. If you are in serious need of effective ways to keep all that hair from ending up on your furniture and clothes, you could try to cover them up—for example by draping a fur-repellent cloth over your couch. You don’t have to do this all year round, but you can definitely do it during the summer and spring when cats usually shed a lot more.

Tired cat sleeping on a cat tree

You can also create a favorite spot for your cat. When a cat has their own favorite place, they will tend to spend most of their time there instead of on your furniture.  If every time you try to brush your cat, you find that too much hair is being left in the brush, then you should start to suspect that something is not right. Take them to the vet in order to rule out possible health conditions.

Have you brought your cat to the vet? What did the vet say was the cause for your cat’s excessive shedding? If you have any opinions, suggestions, or extra information, please let us know down below in the comments section.

About the author
Martha Harvey
Martha Harvey

Martha Harvey is a skilled veterinarian and a member of American Veterinary Medical Association from Greeley, Colorado. She has 20 years experience of working in Animal Hospital. Martha loves all of her patients, but her favorite one is the Russian Blue cat Stitch, who lives with her.

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