Cat shedding in the autumn is completely normal. As a cat owner, unless you own a wiry-coated cat such as a Devon Rex or a hairless cat such as the Sphynx, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of shedding throughout your cat’s life.
Indeed, shedding is just a normal part of the fur growth process. Once the fur has reached “maturity”, it dies and falls off the animal’s skin. Shedding is thus the sign of a healthy cat with a healthy coat - in fact, sick cats don’t shed.
Why is my cat shedding so much all of a sudden?
You may notice that your cat sheds more at certain times of year: in the spring and the autumn, to be precise. This is completely normal! Cats shed in the spring to get rid of their winter coats and make way for lighter summer coats, and in the autumn, they shed their summer coats to make way for warmer winter coats.
On the contrary to common belief, temperature is not the trigger for shedding - it’s actually sunlight! As autumn starts in the next few weeks, your cat will be out in the sun less often and as a consequence, will start to shed heavily. Indoor cats are less prone to shedding seasonally than outdoor cats because of the artificial light we have in our homes, which can confuse their normal shedding process. This doesn’t mean they don’t shed though! It just means that rather than shedding seasonally, they are prone to shedding all year round.
How do I limit my cat’s shedding?
Though you can’t stop autumnal shedding from occurring, you can do certain things to reduce it.
Firstly, brushing your cat more often will do a world of good! Not only does brushing help to remove dead hairs, but it’s also a good way of keeping the coat and skin healthy, hence contributing to lighter shedding. Brushing out the dead hairs will also reduce your cat’s risk of choking on hairballs and to top it all off - it will also help you two to bond!
How much you brush your cat in the autumn really depends on what type of cat you have. Breeds with light, thin coats such as the Siamese may only need a biweekly brushing during the autumn shedding season. Other short-coated breeds with thicker coats, such as the British Shorthair, could do with a brush once every other day. Long haired cats such as Persians will require daily brushing every single day during the autumn. Not all cats like to be brushed, so it's a good idea to start as early as possible, and to use positive reinforcement during brushing sessions. It is never recommended to shave your cat - unless of course, prescribed by a vet - as this could cause irremediable damage to the coat.
Secondly, a healthy diet contributes greatly to skin and fur health. Make sure your cat is eating premium-quality food on a daily basis. In the autumn, you can also supplement your cat’s diet with fish oil or other sources of Omega 3 and/or 6.
Finally, make sure you’ve got lint brushes, dusters, and vacuum cleaners handy! However hard you try, you’ll always end up with cat hair all over your home in the autumn.
How much cat shedding is normal?
Though hair loss in the autumn is completely normal for cats, it should not lead to flaky and irritated skin or bald spots. These could be signs of an allergy, stress, or even a deeper physical problem. If you have any doubts, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
Good luck managing your cat's shedding this autumn, it'll soon be over!