The shedding of cats’ hair is a normal and natural process in their life. People also have periods of hair growth and shedding. Molting is how animals replenish their fur and keep it in good condition.
Wild cats usually shed their hair twice a year; in the spring to lose the thick winter undercoat and in the fall preparing the “growth” of the undercoat for the next winters. However, as we have air-conditioned our house cats in the summer and heated in the winter, their organisms have become confused enough to put them in a state of constant shedding.
In this article, I explain what seasonal shedding consists of, and how we can help our cat with shedding in autumn .
What is the seasonal fall moult?
In the fall the cat’s hair thickens to withstand the winter. While the reverse is true in spring, the coat becomes lighter to alleviate summer temperatures.
During the molt, you will see changes in your cat’s behavior; He will lick himself more frequently for his “coat change” and may scratch more often as well.
Shedding is a sign of health in a cat , because sick cats do not shed. Shedding occurs for different reasons, but it mostly depends on the amount of time your cat spends outdoors or if your cat is an indoor cat.
Molting is largely influenced by daylight, and this is called “photoperiod . ” The number of hours a cat is exposed to sunlight in a day (photoperiod) triggers shedding.
Indoor cats can shed at any time of year and the amount of hair they shed is less than that of outdoor cats due to artificial light inside the house and the controlled temperature of the home.
Outdoor cats molt in the spring when the days begin to lengthen and they spend more time outside. You won’t see much or no shedding from your cat outdoors during the winter months, as it will keep all its fur as protection against the cold.
Furthermore, molting varies greatly between different breeds. For example, two breeds whose shedding is low: Cornish Rex and Devon Rex. Due to their very short and fine coat, the shedding of these two breeds is hardly noticeable.
Characteristics of cat hair
The cat’s fur is its protection against the environment, it insulates it from heat and cold and protects its skin.
Cat hairs are classified into:
Guard hair: They are the primary hairs , the longest and hardest. More numerous in the dorsal area and flanks. They protect the cat by reducing heat loss. They are the ones that determine the coloration of the mantle.
Protection hair: They are shorter and surround the primary hairs, they are also called secondary guard hairs .
Undercoat: Shorter, wavy and velvety, its purpose is insulating, for that reason they are dense and woolly.
Hair with special functions: such as whiskers or vibrissae that act as sensory organs thanks to their connection with nerve cells.
Here’s another curious fact about cats’ hair: they have what is known as compound hair follicles . This means that several hairs grow from the same follicle, sometimes up to 20. People have only one solitary hair per follicle.
Tips to avoid excessive shedding in cats
Don’t despair over your cat’s shedding. There are steps you can take to make shedding easier.
- Feed your cat a high-quality, breed-appropriate diet. A well-fed cat will have a beautiful, healthy coat.
- Complete your diet with vitamins derived from fish oils that provide omega-3 fatty acids that strengthen the hair layer.
- Get suitable grooming utensils for your cat’s hair type. Short-haired cats do well with a grooming glove or brush with soft rubber bristles. Longer-haired cats do best with a comb that can reach down to the skin to help prevent matting.
- Brushing at least once a week, and more frequently during spring and fall, when the season increases hair loss.
- Make sure your cat is free of internal and external parasites.
- Have a lint brush to clean loose hairs from clothing and furniture.
- Use a sheet, blanket, or towel that covers your cat’s favorite napping spots. It will make it easier to clean those places.
- A damp sponge will easily remove cat hair from carpets and upholstered furniture.
Benefits of brushing your cat regularly
- Eliminate loose and dead hair.
- Reduces the appearance of hairballs, especially in long-haired breeds.
- Keeps the cat’s coat soft and free of knots and matting.
- This is a way to bond more with your cat
- It allows you to detect potential problems, such as parasites and skin conditions, before they become serious.
Our cats bring a lot of pleasure to our lives and it’s nice to be able to spend a little time with them whenever we can. Cats love the attention you give them and one of the best ways to create a very strong bond with a cat is to brush them daily . This routine not only removes much of the hair they shed, it also means there is less chance of your pet developing hairballs.
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