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Managing Cat Shedding

A cat laying on a sofa

Whether it covers your carpet, clogs your hoover, or ruins your clothes, cat fur comes hand-in-hand with owning a cat.

Is it always part of a natural process, or could excessive shedding be explained by something else? Or even something to worry about?

Seasonal shedding typically peaks in the fall and spring. However, unlike dogs, cats shedding is less affected by seasonal changes, and more likely to occur consistently throughout the year. 

There are ways to control your cat’s shed, and make it a little more comfortable for them. This article will cover 5 tips for coping with seasonal shedding in cats, as well as helping you understand shedding.

Why Do Cats Shed?

Cat fur on a brush

Cats shed their fur as part of their natural hair growth cycle. Shedding is essential for maintaining the health of a cat's coat and skin, as well as regulating body temperature. The hair growth cycle in cats consists of four phases:

  1. Anagen Phase (Growth): During this phase, hair actively grows from the hair follicle. The length of the anagen phase determines the maximum length of a cat's hair. This phase can last for several months.

  2. Catagen Phase (Transitional): The catagen phase is a transitional period between the growth and resting phases. During this phase, hair growth slows down, and the hair follicle begins to shrink.

  3. Telogen Phase (Resting): In the telogen phase, hair growth stops, and the hair remains in the follicle but is no longer actively growing. This phase lasts for a few weeks to several months, depending on the individual cat.

  4. Shedding (Exogen): After the telogen phase, the hair enters the shedding phase, also known as the exogen phase. During this phase, old or dead hair is shed from the follicle, making way for new hair growth. 

Shedding may occur continuously throughout the year or seasonally, depending on factors such as breed, age, health, and environmental conditions. There are also a lot of factors that can affect a cat’s shed, for example, temperature or hormonal changes.

Shedding is important to maintaining a cat’s healthy skin and coat. It provides a way for cats to get rid of old and damaged hair, making way for healthier new hair. It can also help them adjust to the changes in seasonal temperatures.

When is Peak Cat Shedding Season?

Peak shedding season for cats typically occurs in the spring and fall, similar to dogs. However, unlike dogs, cats are often less influenced by seasonal changes and may shed relatively consistently throughout the year.

Individual factors such as breed, age, health, and indoor versus outdoor living conditions can also influence shedding patterns. Indoor cats may shed more evenly throughout the year due to consistent temperature and lighting conditions.

If there are concerns about excessive shedding or changes in a cat's fur at an unusual time, consulting with a veterinarian can help determine if there are any underlying health issues contributing to the shedding.

Similarly, you should check with your vet if your cat is excessively scratching, over-grooming, or has any signs of skin irritation.

Five Tips to Control Seasonal Cat Shedding

Dealing with cat shedding effectively involves regular grooming, dietary management, and creating a healthy environment. 

Here are five tips to help you manage your cat's shedding:

Regular Brushing 

A cat being brushed to combat shedding

Brush your cat regularly to remove loose fur and prevent matting. The frequency of brushing depends on your cat's coat length and thickness. Long-haired cats may need daily brushing, while short-haired cats may require less frequent grooming. Use a suitable brush or comb for your cat's coat type to effectively remove loose hair.

Consult your Vet or groomer If your cat develops excessive matting. Trying to remove large matts or those close to the skin can be painful and risk damage to the skin if done incorrectly.

You should also consult with your vet if your cat appears to be struggling to groom themselves, or is over-grooming, as either of these can point to underlying health conditions. Under-grooming can be caused by obesity and osteoarthritis, or oral pain. Over-grooming can be caused by conditions such as flea infestations, skin allergies or stress.

High-Quality Diet

Feed your cat a balanced diet rich in essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, to promote healthy skin and coat. Consult with your veterinarian to choose the right cat food that supports coat health and reduces shedding. Proper nutrition can help minimise excessive shedding, through a reduction in grooming and improve the overall condition of your cat's fur.


Ensure your cat stays hydrated by providing fresh water at all times. Proper hydration helps maintain healthy skin and coat, reducing the likelihood of excessive shedding. Consider adding wet food to your cat's diet, as it contributes to their overall fluid intake and promotes skin moisture.

Environmental Enrichment

Create a stimulating environment for your cat to reduce stress and anxiety, which can contribute to excessive shedding. Provide interactive toys, scratching posts, and comfortable resting areas to keep your cat mentally and physically engaged. Stress reduction techniques, such as regular playtime and environmental enrichment, can help minimize shedding caused by anxiety.

Consult Your Veterinarian 

A white fluffy cat being brushed

As always, if you have any queries or concerns, it’s best to consult your veterinarian.

If your cat’s shedding seems excessive or if they’re showing signs of skin irritation, bald patches, or other health issues, contact our team on 020 8459 4729. We can rule out medical problems like allergies, hormonal imbalances, or other conditions that might be causing abnormal shedding.

Why not check out our Vital Pets Club to spread the cost of vaccinations? A 12 month subscription includes routine check-ups, annual vaccines, monthly flea and worming treatments and much more, plus discounts in shop and on certain procedures. All designed to help improve the longevity and quality of your pet's life.

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