If you share your house with a cat then you know that they use this very clever tactic in order to claim their territory, called cat hair everywhere, and you and your clothes are included.
But if you’re looking to bring a kitty into your home and you don’t want to invite a massive amount of flying fur in then you’re probably leaning towards short haired feline.
But do shorthair cats still shed? While some shorthaired cats will still shed quite a bit, it may overall feel like less hair compared to a longhair cat. In most cases, it’s better to focus on other methods to manage shedding outside of the coat length.
If you’re a curious soul and crave to know more about your cat’s shedding process, or you want to find a shorthaired kitty that sheds less, then you’re at the right place!
Perhaps shedding is seen as something inconvenient to some while to others their fur-covered clothes are a proud statement, either way understanding the reasons why shedding happens is also part of being a good cat owner.
Dr. Tammy Hunter explains that “Your pet’s coat consists of thousands of hairs produced in hair follicles. Because hairs are under constant environmental stress, they are continuously shed and replaced.”
So, shedding is a natural process and an important one at that. A cat’s coat grows in cycles, and during late spring and late fall, also known as seasonal shedding, your kitty will replace the coat to suit them during the colder and warmer months of the year.
You can expect that your feline companion that has free access to the outdoors, will undergo two heavy seasonal shedding cycles, especially in cooler climates. Instead, owners of strictly indoor cats might not notice their kitties lose their undercoat, since they’re not exposed to external climate changes.
Shedding is also affected by your cat’s genetics, as well as their nutrition, but the environment seems to have the leading role in this process. It’s important to mention that this natural shedding phenomenon is a sign of a healthy cat, and your kitty’s coat insulates them and works as an obstacle against physical and chemical damage to their skin, and harmful sunlight.
Do Shorthair Cats Shed?
The short answer is yes, cats with short coats do shed, but the quantity might differ from cat to cat, and breed to breed. Domestic short-haired cats, usually have a protective outer coat and an undercoat that provides additional insulation. If you stroke your cat’s fur and observe their coat in depth you will see the difference between the two layers, and how short, soft and fluffy the undercoat is compared to the top layer.
Of course, even shorthaired cats can have a variation in density, and some might shed more than others, but most likely they won’t exceed the voluminous shedding of a longhaired cat. As mentioned above, an outdoor shorthaired cat will also go through an intense shedding during spring, so they can enjoy a breezier summer, and during fall to keep their fluffy butts from going cold.
Both of my cats are shorthaired, but their coats are very different, nonetheless. One of them has a heavy undercoat and he looks chubby during the winter and skinny during the summer. My black cat on the other hand has a silky coat that doesn’t seem to change much all year round, which is surprising because he spends most of his time on the balcony even during the colder months!
Can You Prevent A Cat From Shedding?
Bringing a cat into your home, even a shorthaired one means that you’re also adopting their furry coat. It’s a process you can’t stop, and you definitely shouldn’t try, but you can definitely minimize the shedding enough to keep both you and your cat happy.
While you don’t have the ability to control the seasons, you can make sure that your cat has a balanced and nutritious diet. According to veterinarians, “a cat whose diet is inadequate to meet her dietary needs will have a dull, dry hair coat and will often shed excessively.”
So, making sure your cat’s food is rich in omega-3 fatty acids will protect your cat’s skin and keep the coat shiny. Deficiency in Linoleic acid usually leads to dandruff, thin and discolored hair, and of course, increased shedding. Zinc, Biotin, and B vitamins are also responsible for a healthy coat. Thankfully there are cat foods specially designed to manage your kitty’s shedding!
The next step in gaining control over your cat’s natural hair loss is regular brushing. Veterinarians firmly support that “all cats benefit from regular brushing to remove loose hairs and dead skin cells, to keep the coat free of dirt, debris, and external parasites, and to distribute natural oils along the hair shafts.”
Luckily brushing a shorthair cat is quite easy, and depending on the density of their fur, they might require only a weekly brushing session. Grooming can be a great opportunity to show your cat some extra affection, and if you find your kitty reluctant at the prospect of being groomed try experimenting with different brushes.
I find that the rubber glove brush gives my cats the feeling that I’m simply stroking them, and they end up purring throughout the whole session. So, if you’re also interested in a gentler approach this is the glove that I use and my cats love it (Amazon link). In some cases, a bath can also help control the shedding, but it’s not something you ever want to do too often, and it should only be done with cat-friendly shampoos and never with baby shampoo.
Do Long Haired Cats Shed More?
The simple fact is that all cats shed, it’s the amount that varies. Certain longhaired breeds like the Maine Coon and The Norwegian Forest cat are designed to survive harsh and cold environments, so their coats are thickly layered to protect them, so as you can imagine they usually shed quite a lot.
Of course, there are shorthaired cats that have thick double-layered coats that might even shed as much as a longhaired cat would, but that’s rarely the case. The truth is that even when shorthair cats shed the same amount of hair as their longhaired comrades, the long fur will still manage to be more visible and cover up a small area faster.
The main difference between cats with long and short fur is the matting and knots that are a more common phenomenon on longer coats. That’s why they require more thorough and regular grooming and the occasional bath.
Which Domestic Cats Shed The Least?
As I mentioned above the amount of natural fur loss may differ even among shorthaired cats, and there are certain breeds that are known for their light shedding. This is useful information for people who might be on the allergic side when it comes to cat hair, and are looking for a more suitable feline companion.
I’m sure the first breed that pops into everyone’s mind when they think of minimum shedding is the Sphynx cat. While it seems like a completely bald cat, Sphynx isn’t always hairless, and these cats have a thin layer of tiny fuzz, that they will shed.
While they might help you skip a few vacuuming days in a row, they need a different kind of care. Since they don’t have any fur to absorb body oils, they will need periodic bathing, ear and nail cleaning, but luckily, they are known for their bathing tolerance!
I mean you don’t see this Sphynx complaining!
The Bengal beauty has a short and soft coat reminiscent of their larger cousins, the leopard. Their fur is easy to maintain, and it normally requires weekly brushing to keep the shedding at bay!
I know this kitty is on the long-haired side, but I had to mention this gorgeous cat for those of you who love longhaired cats but don’t like their excessive shedding. The Siberian cat has a dense and thick coat, but it’s easy to maintain with weekly brushings.
As with all cats, seasonal shedding will produce more hair but brushing them daily until they’ve changed their coat will be enough and then you’re back to your regular grooming schedule!
Now that we’re back to the really shorthaired fluffballs, the Cornish Rex is definitely a great choice for your minimal shedding requirements. Because they only have an undercoat, their coat is very short, adorable curly, and it feels like cut velvet!
The Siamese is an instantly recognizable breed and it’s quite popular not only for their striking blue eyes but also for their short and silky, close-lying coat, which is also low-shed!
If you’re anything like me then acquiring a black cat as a companion is a dream come true! Alas, black fur can be easily detectable on any light surface and clothing, so a low shedding cat like the Bombay, might be the best option for you!
It’s true that the British Shorthair cat has a thick and plush coat, but with weekly combing, you’ll be able to reduce their already minimal shedding. Don’t forget to increase the grooming during the seasonal shedding period, to keep their velvet coat mat-free and healthy!
Another beautiful grey kitty is the Russian Blue that has a short, silky, and dense coat that will give you little to no trouble from shedding. This is also a hyperallergic breed and will be perfect for all of you who suffer from cat allergies!
Finally, the Burmese is also one of the low-shedding breeds and requires minimal grooming, since they have a short and satiny coat!
The Importance Of A Healthy Coat
One of the primary roles of your cat’s coat is to help them regulate their body temperature throughout the year. By moving their hair follicles your cat will either bring the hairs closer for insulation or pull them further apart to keep them cool. Their fur protects their skin which is responsible for keeping the cat hydrated since they don’t sweat, and it stores several nutrients.
But keeping them warm or cool isn’t your cat’s coat only function, as Tammy Hunter, DVM, and Ernest Ward, DVM state “the skin and coat protect the internal organs from external threats. The skin also contains nerves and nerve endings that help a pet sense heat, cold, pressure, and pain. Additionally, the coat protects pets against chemical damage, trauma, ultraviolet light, and contact with hot surfaces.”
In other words, your cat’s skin and coat deserve as much attention as any other organ or body part, in order for your kitty to be healthy!
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Shedding Too Much?
While all cats shed, excessive shedding and your cat’s general coat appearance can be the first indicators of a health problem. While long-haired cats are needier in the hair department it doesn’t mean that cats with short hair don’t need attention and proper grooming.
Your cat could be suffering from a skin irritation that’s related to a lack of humidity, allergies from pollen, and of course external parasites like ringworm, ticks, and fleas. These irritations can lead to scratching and overgrooming in order to soothe their skin, which can lead to excessive shedding.
According to Karen. A. Moriello, DVM, “diseases that can directly cause destruction or damage to the hair shaft or follicle include bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections; severe inflammatory diseases (such as deep skin infections); skin trauma (such as burns or radiation); and (rarely) poisonings caused by mercury, thallium, or iodine.”
Extreme hair loss can be caused by excessive self-grooming, usually caused by stress, known as Psychogenic Alopecia. “It is an obsessive-compulsive behavior where the cats suddenly cannot stop licking or chewing at themselves.” They often focus on certain areas, plucking out fur from their bellies, inner this, and strips along their front legs.
Recent research has shown that “adding omega-3 fatty acids, linoleic acid, and zinc in combination increases coat gloss and decreases dry, flaky skin (dander).” Making sure your cat isn’t exposed to harsh sunlight will minimize shedding, and eliminating any stressors should keep their coat silky and healthy.
Inspecting our cat’s coat and skin on a regular basis, especially during brushing sessions, will help detect in time any irritation, unusual lumps or bumps, and bald spots. If you notice them lose more hair than usual and it’s not part of the seasonal shedding, the best person you can go to and ask why does my cat shed so much is your vet! Not only will they do the necessary tests to find the reason behind your kitty’s coat problems, but they’ll give your instructions on how to treat it without wasting any precious time!
If I had a penny every time, I had to spit out a cat hair or roll my eyes at the black and grey fuzz swimming in my tea, well I would be a millionaire. Mind you my cats are both shorthaired, and even though I don’t have to put as much effort as I would if I had a longhaired cat, I still have to try to keep their fur from taking over.
Of course, you can always look for a kitty that is on the low scale of shedding, or you can simply stop resisting and accept their fur as a reminder of their constant presence and love!
Now tell us do your shorthaired cats shed a lot or you have no idea what this fuzz is about because you’re the owner of an exotic Sphynx?