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Something we all have to deal with when it comes to cats is shedding. Some cats shed very little, some shed a normal amount, and some shed a ton. Tabby cats are no different.
In this article, we’ll explore 13 things you should know about tabby cats and shedding. These points will cover some of the main causes of shedding in cats and how different cat breeds operate. We’ll also look at strategies to help maintain your cats shedding problem and ways to encourage good grooming habits in your cat.
1. Brushing Your Cat Helps With Shedding
One of the best ways to maintain excessive shedding in cats is to brush their coat. Regular brushing helps remove the long hairs before they have a chance to fall off. This means you’ll see a lot less of your cat’s fur attaching itself to furniture, carpets, and clothing. Some cats need more brushing than others, and much of that depends on how many coat layers they have.
There are several brushes that work well with tabby cats and those with other coat patterns. Below are a few types of shedding brushes you can use.
- Slicker brush
- FURminator de-shedding tool
- GoPets de-matting comb
The slicker brush is great for cats because they are designed to get rid of debris and knots in the cat’s coat. Slicker brushes like the Safari Cat Self Cleaner use needle size pins that get deep into the coat to remove even the finest of hairs. These brushes usually come with a wide rectangular head although some can be curved.
The wide size allows you to cover plenty of areas. It’s great for large cats and it really reduces the amount of time needed to brush. Slicker brushes work well with long to medium-haired cats. It helps reduce matting, tangles and it’s also a good solution for short hair cats too. While most slicker brushes come with needles, that can be uncomfortable for some cats with shorter hair. There are soft variations available for general grooming that work just as well.
The FURMinator de-shedding tool is widely viewed as one of the best cat grooming tools available. Most common brushes only remove hairs that are on the surface. Because of that, the hairs under the coat never get removed and those eventually fall out.
The FURMinator is much different and it’s designed to do more than just get rid of loose surface hairs. It gets deep under the cat’s coat to remove the hairs, leaving the area clear of loose hairs. The teeth on this brush can be a little uncomfortable for some cats, however, they do a fine job removing hairs. There’s also an ejector function to easily self-clean the brush after use.
Dematting combs like the one from GoPets are perfect for cats with multiple coat layers. This comb is designed specifically to get rid of tangles, knots, and extreme matting. It achieves this without causing the cat any harm. This particular model has widely spaced teeth so that the bigger knotted hairs can be easily picked up. Overall brushing is much more preferred over shaving.
2. Cats Shed More In Spring and Autumn
The time of the year has a great impact on when cats shed. Cats tend to shed more in the Spring and Autumn months. Much of this is attributed to the amount of sunlight they are exposed to as well as overall temperatures. The reason cats shed in the Spring is because they are losing their undercoat used to keep them warmer in the winter.
With that heavier coat gone, they are able to keep their bodies much cooler in the Summer months as well. Occasionally some cats can continue shedding in the winter months when it’s cold. Shedding is a natural process though, and you should not be alarmed by it.
3. Certain Cat Foods Can Prevent Shedding
If your cat has an abnormal amount of shedding, chances are it’s a nutritional issue. Although most store-bought cat foods have the necessary balance of ingredients, cats can still face deficiencies. Some cats may need more vitamin A, E, and B vitamins than other cats. These vitamins help to produce and maintain a healthy coat. When a cat is not getting enough of that, they can end up shedding too much.
Tabby cats, as well as other cats, need plenty of protein to keep a healthy coat. Usually, dry food lacks in this area compared to wet canned foods. Simply making that switch from dry to wet can show a noticeable improvement in your cat’s overall health.
There are plenty of cat food solutions on the market that can help prevent excessive shedding. Many of these foods are based on grain-free ingredients. Some of them contain ingredients like lamb, duck, and even venison. It’s important to choose cat foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. It will help keep the cat’s coat looking healthy and also helps reduce irritation which can lead to excessive scratching.
In general, you should always feed your cat with high-quality cat food. Be sure to avoid cat foods that have fillers and vitamins. Also keeping your cat well hydrated can go a long way in them maintaining good health.
4. Cats Shed In Clumps When They Are Stressed
A good way to point out a stressed cat is when you start seeing large clumps of hair. These clumps are usually so big that you could fold them into a ball of hair if you wanted to. This is not a great sign as it can mean something is also medically wrong with your hat. Situations that might stress out a cat can include a sudden change of location, thunderstorms, loud noises, and being around unfamiliar people.
Usually the less social the cat, the more likely they are to experience clumps like this. Cats who are fearful or experiencing anxiety will also suffer rapid hair loss. Thankfully there are some simple ways to limit the stress on a cat. Below are a few ideas you can try.
5. Alopecia Can Cause Significant Hair Loss
Have you ever heard of Alopecia? Probably not, but it’s a potential cause of significant hair loss in cats. Alopecia typically occurs in younger cats although older cats can also experience it. Sometimes when a cat is really stressed or bored they will also groom themselves excessively. This can lead to patches of hair left all over the home. Certain medications can also cause a cat to develop alopecia.
Alopecia can be hard to point out sometimes. Sometimes the hair loss is subtle. Mostly, it’s partial or full hair loss. It can be caused by skin allergies or from shaving your cat’s hair. For certain breeds of cats, alopecia is actually hereditary. Bald cats like the Sphynx are prime examples of this.
While alopecia is a tough condition for cats, it’s actually reversible with the right kind of medications. This means the cat can grow it’s hair back. A change of environment can help as well.
6. Certain Cat Breeds Shed Less Than Others
While any cat can be a tabby cat, not all breeds are the same. There are certain breeds that shed much less than others. Below is the most complete list of cat breeds that are considered non-shedding or shed minimally.
- Russian Blue
- Devon Rex
- Cornish Rex
- Colorpoint Shorthair
Topping the list is the Sphynx which by hereditary nature has no hair to shed naturally. There are some other popular breeds on this list that also do well too. The Bengal, Burmese, Birman, and Siamese are some of the most commonly owned domestic cats. They require minimal grooming.
The Devon Rex and Cornish Rex are considered hypoallergenic in some circles (although no cat is actually entirely hypoallergenic), but that’s because they shed very little. Their hairs are a lot less present than most other cats due to the texture of their coats. Learn more about hypoallergenic cats in this article.
Some other lesser-known breeds on this list include the Korat and LaPerm. Both of these cats are short-haired and have very minimal shedding issues. Typically with all of these cats outside of the Sphynx, you can expect to see most of the worst of their shedding occur in the Spring and Summer months.
7. Certain Cat Breeds Shed More Than Others
The other side of the spectrum when it comes to cats and shedding is that some breeds shed significantly more than others. Below is a complete list of breeds that tend to shed more hair.
- British Longhair
- American Bobtail
- American Curl
8. Cats With Thicker Fur Coat Layers Shed More
Looking at the list above, there’s definitely a reason they shed more. This is because most cats with multilayered fur coats and most of them are triple coat layered. Certain cat breeds have thicker third layers in their coats though, and that can lead to more issues when it comes to shedding. While most cats have triple coats, some have thicker third layers than others. Long-haired cats also present quite a problem when it comes to shedding.
Cats can also be single or double layered too with their coats. This means if you want to deal with less shedding overall, you can simply go with a cat that has fewer coat layers. Below are a few single coat cats worth looking into.
- Japanese Bobtail
- Oriental Shorthair
- Devon Rex
- Cornish Rex
It might be a good idea to use a grooming brush or grooming gloves for cats with layered coats. The gloves are especially good because they use small silicon tips to get under the coat and gently remove the hair. Cleanup is also really simple with them too. I suggest checking out the DELOMO pet grooming gloves. They fit most hand sizes and also work on other types of pets as well.
9. Baths Can Reduce Shedding In Cats
While it’s no secret that cats absolutely hate water, it’s actually good for them when it comes to shedding control. There are specific pet shampoos that help with detangling hair and keeping it in good condition. A lot of the cat shampoos available have oatmeal-based ingredients and are soap-free. Wetting the hair also allows for better removal of hairs in cats with thicker coats.
Tabby cat or not it’s recommended to bathe your cat at least once a month. Giving a cat too many baths can actually be harmful because bathing removes natural oils from the cat’s skin. This can cause the skin to dry out which then irritates the cat and leads to more scratching; a major cause of excessive shedding.
Baths are also helpful for brushing cats. Brushing before a bath can help remove loose hair and dirt. Another brushing after the bath can also help get rid of whatever the water and shampoo loosened up.
10. Indoor Cats Shed Less Than Outdoor Cats
There is a great deal of difference in shedding with indoor and outdoor cats. This all comes down to the climate the cat is exposed to. For that reason, outdoor cats will shed more than indoor cats. Outdoor cats are more exposed to the conditions of hotter temperatures, sunlight, inclement weather, and other factors. Read here to see why most cats should stay indoors.
Their bodies naturally shed more to help keep them stay cool. The winter months also work in the reverse where they shed less so that they can build up a good coat to keep their bodies warm. For the most part, indoor cats do not have to deal with those same conditions. We can control the air conditioning and locations they are in so they do not have to shed as much or build up as much of a winter coat.
Still, indoor cats will go through periods of excessive shedding, but not to the level of their outdoor counterparts. The amount an outdoor cat sheds can still be controlled to an extent. Limiting the amount of time they are outside, and seasons changing can all have an impact. Regular grooming and occasional baths also help reduce the shedding of outdoor cats.
11. Cat Age & Gender Affect Shedding Habits
The age of a cat can have a great impact on how much it sheds. Generally speaking, the older the cat is, the more it will shed. This is why as your cat grows you’ll start to notice just how much the shedding picks up. In addition to the age of the cat, the gender of the cat can also play a role in how much they shed. Female cats that become pregnant will absolutely shed more than male cats. Pregnancy in cats especially causes more stress which is a basic catalyst for shedding.
12. Dead Hair Causes Irritation In Cats
No cat likes to be irritated, and dead hair is a huge cause of this. It can get to the point that cats will scratch tirelessly for hours on end until they rid themselves of the annoying feeling. Cats who are not regularly groomed by their owners will always have too much dead hair on them.
In addition to dead hair building up from lack of grooming, grease, and dirt can also build up. In addition to keeping your pet clean and feeling happy, grooming also stimulates blood flow in cats. By removing dead hairs, skin flakes, and other debris, your cat will be much healthier and feel great!
13. Sick Cats Shed Less Than Healthy Cats
Knowing the health condition of your cat is very important. Cats are especially tough to figure out because they can quickly go from healthy to being in serious condition. Sometimes a cat that sheds less is actually an indication that they are not in healthy condition. Shedding is a natural process and it’s also a healthy process. Cats who are not shedding nearly enough need to be checked out immediately at a veterinarian so make sure no underlying issues are present.