Nobody wants to deal with the mess of cat fur all over the house. But, if you own a cat – particularly one with long and bushy hair – you will have to accept that cleaning up loose hair will become part of your daily routine.
But do domestic shorthair cats shed? Perhaps you have spotted a cute picture of a shorthair tabby online and would like to own one, but you do not like spending your weekends sweeping up cat hair! Well, here is the short answer – domestic shorthairs do shed, but not as heavily as the longhaired breeds.
There are also other factors that affect how much cats shed, including genetics, the season, and certain health issues. These are covered in detail below, so read on!
Facts about feline shedding
As we all know, shedding is a normal process for cats, whether they are long-haired, short-haired, or even hairless (the latter still shed dander). However, each cat breed might shed differently. Sphynx cats, for example, tend to shed the least (this breed does have fur, by the way – it is just so fine and thin that they appear bald).
The term “domestic shorthair” does not necessarily refer to a specific breed, but rather encompasses all cats with short hair, regardless of breed. Some shorthair cats are mixed-breed, while the others belong to a recognizable breed like the British Shorthair or the Siamese. Hence, some shorthair cats might have a single coat, while the others have a double coat. What this means is that, depending on the breed, some shorthair cats might shed more than others.
Shedding is something beyond the control of both you and your kitty. While it causes a fair bit of inconvenience, this process is necessary for the removal of dead hair and the release of natural oils to prevent skin irritation.
Similar to human hair, your cat’s fur is also constantly exposed to environmental stress, so it needs to be replaced regularly through shedding. Your cat’s coat typically grows in cycles, according to the season. During the colder months, their fur will be thicker to protect their skin from freezing temperatures, especially on outdoor cats. In the warmer months, they might shed heavily in response to the upward temperature change. However, the shedding might be less noticeable in cats that are strictly indoor pets.
Keep in mind that shedding is generally a sign of a healthy cat. Genetics and the environment also play a role in your cat’s shedding. So, unless the shedding becomes excessive and frequent, in most cases you should not have anything to worry about. Just prepare your vacuum cleaner, though, as you will likely encounter some unsightly hair on your sofa, carpet, and other household furniture.
Do domestic shorthair cats shed?
Yes, domestic shorthair cats do shed, just like their long-haired counterparts. However, the amount of shedding might vary from cat to cat. Unlike the long-haired cat breeds, domestic shorthairs tend to shed lightly or moderately, depending on the breed. Cats with an outer coat and undercoat are expected to shed more than those with a single coat.
Seasonal shedding is common in domestic shorthairs, too, as you will notice during the warmer months. Some cats might look thinner during the summer after a heavy shedding, and look chubbier in winter. Thicker coats will protect their fluffy butts from the cold, and are then removed for summer through intense shedding. Outdoor cats tend to be more affected by seasonal shedding since they are more exposed to external temperatures.
So, in a nutshell, you might expect your short-haired kitties to shed some amount of hair, but not as much as a longhaired cat. For this reason, domestic shorthair cats have become popular household cats, as there is less fur to clean up around the house!
While shedding is normal for domestic shorthairs, the only exception would be excessive shedding that becomes consistent and is followed by other symptoms. Some red flags include skin redness and irritation, a coat that suddenly becomes thin, and the presence of bald areas. Cats with underlying health issues or parasites will also have a dull coat instead of soft, silky fur. If you see any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your vet right away to have your furry friend checked over.
How often do domestic shorthair cats shed?
As mentioned, your cat’s shedding is influenced by several factors, including genetics, seasons, and your cat’s lifestyle. Generally, domestic shorthairs tend to shed heavily twice a year, during the spring and autumn. And, during this seasonal shedding, they could use a helping hand for the upkeep of their coat.
Domestic shorthairs shed moderately, but this does not mean you will not be bothered by cat hair everywhere. Keeping a regular cleaning routine and a little discipline will go a long way to keeping your living space tidy.
You can also keep the shedding under control by creating a space or a dedicated room for your kitty. This will make cleaning easier and more convenient. Regular grooming will also help a lot, so do not forget to brush your cat’s fur, preferably once or twice a week. Brushing helps remove the dead hair, dirt, and grease from the coat. Plus, most cats also love a brush massage and you can take this opportunity to strengthen your bond with your furry friend.
Why is my shorthair cat shedding a lot?
If your cat suddenly sheds a lot outside their peak shedding season, then something may not be right! Make sure to have your pet checked by the vet right away to correct any underlying issue.
Excessive shedding in cats can be caused by one of the following:
1. Lack of proper nutrition
Diet is the first thing you need to check if your cat is shedding excessively. Proper nutrition is extremely important, not just to boost your feline’s health, but also to keep their coat soft and shiny. If the coat looks dull and thin, the issue could be linked to poor absorption of nutrients or a bad diet.
To maintain a beautiful and healthy coat, your furry friend must eat balanced and nutritious food rich in protein and healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6. Your vet will likely recommend a high-quality cat food and supplements to help your kitty’s coat bounce back.
Stress can also cause hair loss in cats. Whether your cat is traumatized by a previous owner or has been bullied by another household pet, it is important to determine the root cause and resolve it right away.
Aside from hair loss, stress can also impact your cat’s daily life. They might become less tolerant of other people or pets and display undesirable behaviors, such as defecating outside their litter box.
3. Old age or injury
Physical injury or mobility issues due to old age can limit your cat’s grooming routine, resulting in a number of issues like matted fur and excessive shedding. If you think your cat is no longer grooming as they used to, contact your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
4. Thyroid issues
Thyroid disease can cause your cat to shed excessively. Watch out for other symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, urinating and drinking more than usual, and increased appetite. Remember that thyroid issues can progress slowly over time and, more often than not, the early symptoms can be easily missed or misdiagnosed.
Tips to reduce shedding
Since shedding is a normal process, you cannot really cure or stop it, especially during your cat’s peak shedding season. Thankfully, though, there are ways to reduce the amount of fur your cat sheds.
- First, consider having your furry friend checked by the vet to rule out serious medical issues.
- Make sure your cat eats high-quality, nutritious cat food. Proper nutrition is important for skin, coat, and overall health.
- Provide your cat with supplements formulated to keep their skin and hair healthy, such as those high in omega fatty acids. You may ask your vet for a recommendation.
- Groom and bathe (if necessary) your cat every four to six weeks. Although cats are generally fastidious groomers, they may still need a bit of help from time to time.
- Give your domestic shorthair a dedicated cat condo or bed where they can lounge or play. Most of the loose hair will collect in this hang-out area, making it easier to clean up.
- Brush your cat’s fur regularly. This will keep their coat shiny and tangle-free. Brushing will also help you inspect their coat and skin, so that you can catch early signs of irritation or unusual lumps and bald spots. Plus, most cats do find brushing an enjoyable experience. Just make sure to choose a brush that your cat is comfortable with.
- Some situations, such as moving to a new residence or inter-cat conflict, can make our furry friends stressed or anxious. Make sure to create a plan to eliminate or reduce these stressors. Talk to your vet if you think your cat is struggling with stress or anxiety.
Shorthair cat breeds that shed the least
As mentioned previously, the amount of fur loss can also depend on the cat’s breed. Some shorthair cat breeds might shed more than others, and knowing this will help you find a suitable feline companion. This is also useful if you have family members who might be allergic to cat dander.
If you are looking for a short-haired friend that sheds very little, then we have a few recommendations for you:
- Cornish Rex
- Russian Blue
- British Shorthair
Domestic shorthair cats do shed, just like cats with longer and thicker coats. Hence, you need to embrace this reality – be prepared to adjust your lifestyle if you plan on bringing home a domestic shorthair. Hopefully, you can implement the practical ways mentioned in this article to reduce your cat’s shedding as well as your cleaning time.
Image: istockphoto.com / Cynthia Shirk