Why do cats shed?

Why do cats shed?

Cats are very particular about how they look. Using their special tongues, a cat can spend a large part of each day grooming him or herself to keep his or her coat looking its best. Their coats are, in fact, more important to them than our hair is to us. For a cat, his or her coat not only provides protection from the environment, it can also provide sensory information for navigating tight spaces and helps produce important vitamins that contribute to his or her health.

When a cat loses dead hair from his or her coat, we call that “shedding,” and it’s a natural part of a cat’s life. It’s a way for a cat to renew his or her coat, keeping it healthy by getting rid of the damaged or old parts. A healthy cat’s coat should look shiny, sleek and be pleasant to touch. In fact, if your cat’s coat is dry, matte, or unkempt, it means you should arrange a trip to your local cat clinic. If you cat is refusing to groom, can’t groom properly or is losing too much hair to groom properly something is probably wrong. To avoid emergency trips to the cat hospital, be sure you get your furry friend checked regularly by a vet.

Excessive or unhealthy shedding
If you see any bald patches in your cat’s coat he or she is probably either shedding or grooming excessively. Excessive shedding can be caused by a number of different things, including:

• Hormone imbalance (sometimes caused by pregnancy)
• Allergies
• Reaction to new medication
• Poor diet
• Stress
• Fleas, ringworm, other parasites
• Infection

If you suspect your cat is unwell, it’s better to act sooner than later. Call your local cat clinic before a little infection becomes something worse.

How do I deal with my cat’s shedding?
All cats that shed. There’s no way around it. It doesn’t matter if your cat has short or long hair. He or she will shed constantly so vacuuming cat hair is a normal part of being a cat owner. That being said, there are some things you can do to help out. Grooming your cat with a brush to remove excess hair is a great way to minimize cat hair on your clothes and furniture. Some cats don’t enjoy being brushed. If you introduce your cat to it when he or she is young and reinforce positive associations with treats, you can make it part of your routine. If introduced to it early, many cats learn to like being brushed.

At Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic, we love cats and want to do everything we can to keep them healthy. If you have any questions about your cat’s health or would like to visit our walk-in clinic, contact us today.

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