As cat owners, shedding is all part of sharing our home with a furry best friend.
But there’s a lot you can do to keep things under control and in some cases greatly reduce shedding. We’re going to go over 8 proven methods that you can use to reduce the amount shedding your cat does.
And if you’re looking for more information about why your cat sheds so much in the first place, you can check out this article.
Let’s get into it!
1. Brush Your Cat Regularly
Simply brushing your cat regularly can make a huge difference in the amount of cat hair floating around! It can also help minimize hairballs and as the team at Hills points out, “Additionally, regular brushing removes dirt, dead hair, and dander, all of which contribute to unhealthy skin, and it prevents your cat from getting matted hair that’s unmanageable, at which point you’d need the assistance of a professional groomer.”
Your cat is already pretty darn committed to grooming but with a busy schedule of flopping on the floor in front you, sleeping in the sun, and finding the latest crinkly thing to lay on sometimes they need a little help keeping up with their grooming! But brushing your cat is more than just practical, it’s also a great way to give your cat attention. Most cats really enjoy a good brushing but be careful that your cat doesn’t get overstimulated.
So how often should you brush your cat? I recommend short brushing sessions every day in order to prevent mats, decrease shedding, and not overwhelm your cat. Petting with a brush can be pretty intense for some cats, especially some sensitive areas.
As far as brushes go, you have a ton of options on the market. From special gloves to archaic mini-rake looking things. But my personal favorite is this self-cleaning brush from Hertzko (Amazon link). At the time of writing, there were over 20,000 five-star reviews so I’m clearly not the only one that’s happy with this product.
2. Create A Fur-Friendly Location
Part of the problem with cats shedding is that they love to lay on things that we don’t want to have covered in hair. I know my cat Debbie simply can not resist laying down on my backpack. She’s decided that there’s something about that shape of it that makes it the absolutely perfect cat bed. And while I probably can’t convince Debbie that it isn’t, I can put it out of reach and give her something that’s a bit more fur-friendly to lay on.
While giving your cat something that you don’t mind them laying on isn’t exactly decreasing the amount that they’re shedding it still minimizes the spread of hair around the house- which is half the battle.
One of the best ways to give your cat their own personal space is with a cat tree. I’ve recently written an article on my favorite cat trees (including how to get free shipping) that you can see here. But one of the simplest things you can do it add a blanket to your cat’s preferred sleeping location. You can regularly wash or lint roll this blanket to clean up the hair and it’s super easy to toss in the laundry basket before you have company so you can pretend you have control of the cat, even for a few hours!
Just about any blanket (or towel) will do, especially if it’s a spot with some sun but if you have a cat that likes to knead on blankets this budget-friendly fleece blanket on Amazon could be a real treat for your cat. My cat loves to turn any fleece blanket into a biscuit-making factory and using a fleece blanket helps establish your fur-friendly location as the place to be.
3. Keep Kitty Hydrated
Keeping your cat well-hydrated can improve overall coat quality and condition along with overall health.
But keeping your cat hydrated isn’t as easy it sounds. Cat’s are notorious for not drinking enough water and it could be related to their history living in desert environments.
So how do you keep your cat hydrated?
One of the easiest ways is to introduce wet food to your cat’s diet. The PreventiveVet.com explains that “if your cat is eating wet food, which is highly recommended, they might get between 3.85–4.4 ounces of water from a single can (an average 5.5 once can). That’s half their daily water right there.”
Your other options typically revolve around the water bowl and there’s a lot more to feline water bowls than you might think at first.
One common question is where you should place your cat’s water bowl. While this is going to be different for each cat, the most basic thing to consider is whether or not your cat feels safe and secure drinking from their water bowl. Elevating your cat’s bowl is one of the easiest things you can do. You can read more about the ideal water bowl placement for your cat in this article.
4. If You’re Extra Brave…Consider A Bath
There’s a good chance that the last time you noticed yourself shedding was in the shower. Getting a good stream of running water through your cat’s coat can help remove dead, loose, or dying hair along with extra dander hiding in their coat. However, make sure to use a feline-friendly shampoo that helps nourish and hydrate your cat’s skin. I highly recommend this oatmeal shampoo from Pro Pet Works. The formula is free of soap and other chemicals that will dry out your cat’s skin and actually make the shedding problem worse.
Whatever you do, don’t use the same shampoo you use for your own hair. Not only is that going to be a lot harder to rinse out but it’s much more likely to dry out your cat’s skin instead of helping nourish and hydrate it.
For most cats, bathing is going to be difficult so it’s best to strategically time your cat’s baths around the spring and fall when cats are going to be doing most of their shedding.
5. Upgrade Your Cat’s Diet
One possible cause of excessive shedding is a poor diet. When cats aren’t getting the kind of nutrition they need, it can lead to a dry, brittle coat with hairs that are more likely to break off and fall out. One of the simplest changes you can make is adding more omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. As Purina explains on their website, “Omega-3s also improve the overall health of the hair follicles, which can decrease the amount of hair that is shed.”
Not only does that mean less hair on your favorite sweater, but it also means fewer hairballs for your cat. I’m a big fan of Nordic Naturals in order to add more healthy fatty acids to your cat’s diet and you can pick up the liquid form on Amazon.
But besides supplementation, you should also consider your cat’s main meals. Dr. Coates, while writing on PetMD, recommends that your cat’s food is 45% protein and between 25% to 35% fat. That’s surprisingly hard to do as many cat foods, including wet foods, are quite low in fat. To make things easier, I reviewed 10 of the best cat foods for shedding all of which meet (or exceed) those requirements which you can read here.
6. Shave Your Cat
It should come as no surprise that one of the best ways to reduce shedding is to get rid of the hair altogether! You have two options here: do it your self or hire a professional.
I decided to go the DIY route this spring and I personally think I did a pretty good job! I’ll be uploading a picture soon but luckily Debbie is pretty relaxed and I have some experience using clippers after a decade working in the veterinary field. Most pet-specific clippers do a good job but these are the ones I used if you’re interested.
The important thing is that you NEVER use the clippers without a guard. We aren’t trying to truly shave cats down to their skin, instead, it’s really trimming their hair very short, and using a guard on your clippers will help you do this without risking cutting your cat.
I also recommend you go in short bursts to give your cat a break and make sure your clippers don’t get too hot.
But if all that sounds like a lot, you can also pay a professional around $50 to $70 (according to this website) to have your cat shaved down. Just like with bathing, you’ll want to be strategic here and try to time your shaves with your cat’s biggest sheds in the spring and fall.
Assuming your cat doesn’t go outside, shaving your cat is one of the best options on this list (after your cat’s diet and hydration are excellent, of course). That’s because there’s no hair to shed anymore!
7. Vacuum and Lint Roll More
Okay, I’m not talking about vacuuming your cat (although YouTube tells me that some cats really do seem to like that), instead I’m talking about regularly vacuuming your home to remove cat hair that’s just waiting to be unleashed! This hair can get stirred up and float around your house making it feel like your cat is shedding way more than they actually are!
I’m a little embarrassed at how much hair I actually noticed in the corners of my bedroom…after shaved my cat so I know that it wasn’t new cat hair.
Lint rollers are also your best friend, especially at laundry time. The washer and dryer won’t always be able to remove stuck-on cat hair but a good link roll on those black pants before they hit the wash will make sure they come out clean. It also means you’ll officially remove that cat hair from “circulation.”
8. Reduce Stress
While I hope that most cat owners reading this have cats that are living stressfree lives, increased stress can increase shedding. Big changes like moving into a new house or adding a new human or furry family member can really stress a cat out and increase shedding. While you may not be able to make adjustments on major changes like buying a house, you can support your cat through these changes.
Even better, is that some of the things that will help your cat stay calm will also help reduce shedding in other ways! For example, brushing your cat can help calm down an anxious kitty and get rid of dead hair at the same time.
There’s also the strategy of creating a fur-friendly zone to manage shedding. This area could also be considered a safe space for cat where they can go to avoid anything new in the home that might be stressing them out.
Shedding is just part of living with a cat. Unless you’re living with a hairless sphynx cat at least.
While there are several things you can do to reduce shedding, your best options are making sure your cat’s diet is healthy and that your cat is getting they hydration they need. After that’s taken care of, shaving your cat (or hiring a professional) is one of the best ways to reduce shedding.
But I also know that the whole process might be way too stressful for some cats. In that case, you’ve still several low-stress options keeping your house hair-free!
Let me know what you think and what works for you!