All cats shed but there are big differences in the amount of shedding between breeds. The amount of shedding also varies according to the seasons, diet and the overall health of the cat.
Top breeds that shed the least
The main factor that affects the amount of fur a cat shed is its breed. In short, some breeds shed less than others. If you are looking for a cat that the sheds less than most you might want to look at the following breeds:
The Sphynx: some people find the breed to be weird-looking while some are drawn to its unique appearance and majestic appeal.
Although the Sphynx seems to have no fur, it does have hair follicles and fine hair all over its body. Touch its body and you’ll immediately notice it’s suede-like feel.
On one hand, the breed does not shed a ton of fur. But on the other hand, this cat needs intensive maintenance. For one, its small amount of body hair translates to the quick accumulation of oils on its body. You will need to bathe it regularly compared to its furrier counterparts.
Additionally, the Sphynx needs more skin protection when venturing outside. Because of its seeming lack of hair, it needs additional protection from the sun’s rays.
If you are looking for a cat that doesn’t shed too much fur, it may seem counterintuitive to adopt a Siberian.
But looks can be deceiving. Although this feline breed looks majestic with its long coat, it doesn’t shed as much fur like other breeds. Furthermore, the breed is known to be among the handful of hypoallergenic cat breeds.
However, maintaining its regal coat requires extensive grooming.
3. Japanese Bobtail
Unlike other cat breeds, the Japanese Bobtail has just one coat. This simply means less fur to shed.
Additionally, this breed likes to groom itself constantly. All the maintenance that it needs is the occasional combing.
Known primarily for its distinctive markings, intelligence, and sociability, the Siamese is another breed that you need to add to your shortlist if you are looking for a pet that doesn’t shed much fur.
It ticks all the right boxes if you are looking for a playful, affectionate, and minimal fur maintenance.
5. Oriental Shorthair Cat
The Oriental Shorthair Cat is a close relative of the Siamese. As such, it should not come as a surprise that the breed doesn’t shed too much fur.
And just like its close cousin, the Oriental Shorthair loves to be showered with plenty of attention.
6. Cornish Rex
Like the Japanese Bobtail, the Cornish Rex possesses just one layer of fur, known as down hair or undercoat.
The fur is soft to the feel with a curly appearance. Choose the Cornish Rex if you want a cat that doesn’t shed too much and is playful and active.
7. Russian Blue
The Russian Blue is a welcome addition to households that already own another pet. Known for its intelligence, calm and affectionate demeanor, and beautiful coat, this breed does not shed too much.
The Russian Blue sheds fur once or twice a year within a period of two to three weeks. Plus, the breed requires minimal grooming.
Why do cats shed fur?
All cats shed. But why?
Fur protects felines against elements that can damage their skin. Cats shed primarily to replenish fur. Most felines shed fur daily with one or two major sheds in a year.
However, there are a few factors that influence the degree of shedding.
Changing of the seasons
The first and probably most important, factor that influences shedding is the changing of the seasons. A cat’s brain has been wired to track the changes in sunlight. As the season begins to grow colder and daylight grows shorter, cats begin to grow secondary hair which provides additional warmth.
Conversely, when daylight grows longer, cats shed fur to keep them cooler during the warmer months.
It is worthwhile to mention that indoor cats tend to shed more all year round because of the availability of indoor or artificial light. The presence of artificial light hinders the ability of cats to accurately track the changing of the seasons.
Shedding can also be influenced by a cat’s diet. There are some types of food that felines cannot efficiently digest. In turn, this can adversely affect a cat’s skin and coat health.
Sometimes, shedding can be a sign of a larger problem. If your pet cat sheds more than it normally does, it may be a sign of a parasite infestation, allergy, stress, or skin irritation.
If you notice that your cat has been shedding more and the fur quality and texture has changed noticeably, you should consult your vet immediately.
Winning the war against shedding
Although all cats shed fur, it doesn’t mean that you should spend an inordinate time removing fur from your clothes and household items.
There are a few things that you can do to keep your cat’s shedding at bay.
1. Groom everyday
Whatever your cat’s breed may be, make it a habit to groom him every day. This habit will give you greater control over the amount of fur in your home.
2. Bathe regularly
Another way to control shedding is to give your cat regular baths. Generally speaking, your cat should bathe every six weeks.
3. Protect your furniture
Fur clinging to furniture is a given. However, you can limit the amount of fur you clean with a few strategies.
For starters, set aside a few minutes each day to sweep and vacuum your home. You may also want to remove fur clinging to household items with a lint brush. And speaking of lint brush, buy another one for your clothes.
Finally, invest in a lint cover for your furniture. This will give your couch and other furniture a significant amount of protection.
How much is too much?
Although all cats shed, owners need to know when too much is well, too much.
The amount will vary from one cat to another. At the end of the day, it is you who can determine whether the shedding is normal or excessive. Over time, you’ll learn your cat’s shedding cycle.
Observe your pet’s coat regularly. If it has become too thin, or if the appearance and texture have changed significantly, you should consult your pet’s veterinarian.
Another tell-tale sign that your feline is shedding excessively is frequent spitting of hairballs.
Image: istockphoto.com / Andrey Zhuravlev