A kitten’s coat is one of its most beautiful features, whether it’s short or long, shaggy or straight. Cats with a single coat color possess the same beauty as those with multiple hues!
Coat is very important for cats, primarily because it serves as protection for their skin from dirt, but also from harsh weather conditions.
However, a cat’s coat is something that may also bother its owners. All cats shed at least a little, regardless of the length of their fur.
This is a natural process that involves the shedding of old and dead hair to make room for new hair.
If you have recently become the owner of a new cat, you are certainly interested in finding out when do cats start shedding.
Let’s find out the answer to this question, as well as offer you some tips on how to take the best care of your pet’s fur.
When Are Cats Supposed To Start Shedding?
Kittens usually start shedding at around 6 to 12 months of age. This is the period when your kitten’s soft fur changes and becomes coarse. This is one of the signs your young kitten is growing up!
It’s perfectly normal for your cat to shed some of its hair, and this is something you don’t have to worry about.
The shedding amount will depend on your cat’s breed, since some cats are known as heavy shedders, such as Himalayan or Norwegian Forest Cat, whose shedding is so bad that they are considered as one of the worst cats for allergy sufferers!
Hence, starting from around 6 months and continuing throughout her life, you should anticipate finding your cat’s hair around your home.
Still, if you notice your cat is losing a lot of her hair, or even bald patches on her body, this is a sign you shouldn’t ignore.
What Causes Cats To Shed Excessively?
No matter how old your cat is, she might deal with excess shedding,
Let’s take a look at the most common reasons for this occurrence in felines.
1. Seasonal Changes
If you notice your cat starts shedding more during certain periods of the year, this is perfectly normal. Cats shed more due to seasonal changes, which usually occur in spring and fall.
This happens in spring for cats to get rid of their winter coat that serves them as insulation. On the other hand, your cat will need more room for her winter coat, so she will also shed more in the fall to get prepared for the winter season.
If you recognize this as the reason for your cat’s excess shedding, there isn’t anything you should do, since this will naturally happen every year.
2. Poor Nutrition
You know how important your cat’s diet is for her health in general. Well, her diet could also have something to do with her effusive shedding.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they need their diet to be based on protein. According to the PetMD, most of this protein should come from animal sources, rather than plant-based ones for a cat’s coat to be healthy, and for her not to shed too much.
To achieve this, you should give your cat food that contains at least 45% protein. Another important thing to decrease your cat’s shedding amounts is by giving her food rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
3. Anxiety And Stress
Anxiety and stress are also potential causes for your cat to shed more than usual.
Hill’s Pet explains how there are several reasons why a cat would experience these emotions.
For example, illness or some trauma can make your cat feel stressed. Also, cats that have gone through neglect or abuse in the past are also likely to feel anxious and stressed.
Many older cats have problems with their memory, which can also make them insecure and stressed.
These are some of the reasons for a cat to develop these negative emotions. However, sometimes there might be something else causing stress in your cat – something you don’t even consider as a potential cause, like an arrival on a new member or pet in your household.
There are several common signs of anxiety in stress in cats, such as hiding behavior, lethargy, change in the litter box habits, and over-grooming which might lead to severe hair loss.
If you have any doubts that stress and anxiety might be the cause of your cat’s excessive shedding, you should first try to find the source of these emotions in your cat.
You might even want to consult a veterinarian to find the best way to help your furry friend.
4. Medical Issues
Some health problems could also increase a cat’s shedding.
For example, allergic reactions could be one of them. Cats can be allergic to dust, pollen, mold, some foods, cleaning products, cigarette smoke, etc. Besides hair loss, allergies can also cause itching, watery eyes and sneezing, and even respiratory problems in cats.
Ringworm is another health condition that can make a cat shed excessively. According to the Kingsdale Animal Hospital, this is a skin condition caused by a fungus that typically affects the hair and hair follicles, which results in lesions and hair loss in cats.
If you have any doubts your cat could have one of these health problems, or any other, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
How To Manage Your Cat’s Shedding?
As we could have seen, cats start shedding very young, and this is something they will manifest throughout all of their ages.
However, there are some steps you can take to keep your cat’s shedding amounts under control.
Let’s check them out!
1. Regular Brushing
Brushing is something you should never miss if you want your cat to have a nice, healthy coat, and your house to look tidy, without your cat’s hair all around!
The frequency of brushing will depend on your cat’s coat length. For example, longhaired cats might even require daily brushing, while once a week should be enough for their shorthaired counterparts.
Cats are excellent groomers themselves, but they still need our help for their coats to look spotless and not shed too much.
Additionally, regular brushing removes all the dirt and dander from your cat’s fur.
Hydration is crucial for cats in general and is also a fundamental requirement for maintaining a healthy and shiny coat.
If your cat is dehydrated, she might lose more of her hair. Therefore, you need to provide her with fresh, clean water at all times.
If she seems not to be interested in drinking water from her water bowl, you can make this process more appealing for her. For instance, you could consider purchasing a water fountain, providing her with a source of hydration that’s enjoyable and engaging!
3. You Shouldn’t Bathe Your Cat Often
Since cats love to groom themselves so much, frequent bathing is not necessary, and not even advisable for them. This especially goes for the strictly indoor cats!
If you bathe your cat too often, this can actually make her coat look bad and even make her shed more.
There are, however, some situations when bathing will be necessary, such as if your cat suffers from an allergy, or if she deals with obesity or arthritis, and isn’t able to groom herself as she used to.
In such situations, it’s recommended to consult your veterinarian, as they can advise you on the appropriate approach, which might involve using a medical shampoo.
So, when do cats start shedding?
Usually, it begins between 6 months to 1 year of age. You can expect your cat to shed for the rest of her life, while her shedding won’t be the same at all times.
Additionally, the shedding amount isn’t the same for all cats, and it might increase due to factors such as poor nutrition, season changes, or even medical conditions.
Shedding is a natural thing for all cats, but, in some cases, seeing too much of your hair all around could be a sign something is going on with her.
To ensure your cat’s coat is in prime condition and to minimize intense shedding, make certain she follows a healthy diet, stays hydrated, and that regular grooming sessions are incorporated into your routine.