Several factors can contribute to a cat’s shedding. Among these are the cat’s diet, its medical condition, and the changing seasons. For example, cats will grow a heavier coat in the winter and will shed it when warmer weather returns. It’s impossible to prevent a cat from shedding, but you can manage the amount of shedding through diet and grooming. Brushing will reduce fur-matting and hairballs and can strengthen the bond between you and your cat. Diet changes can improve the condition of your cat’s skin and coat.
Brush your cat on a regular basis.
Brush your cat for five to ten minutes at least once a week to manage shedding. If your cat has long hair or sheds heavily, you may need to brush it once every two to three days or more.
A soft-bristle brush will work for short- or medium-haired cats. A wire-bristle (“slicker brush”) or specialized cat comb will work best for long-haired breeds. The brush shouldn’t get snarled or require tugging.
Using a comb to get down to the skin will help get the loosened undercoat to the surface.
Finish with a quick rubdown using a chamois or cloth.
Avoid the face and ears while brushing, and be careful near the sensitive stomach area.
If the cat does not tolerate grooming with a brush or comb, try using grooming gloves, which feel more like stroking. These gloves are especially handy since you can just take off all the hair and dispose of it in one go.
Mini cat-grooming vacuums are another option. The noise they produce may frighten your cat, though. You may have to start with the vacuum in another room, and gradually bring it closer over the course of a few days or weeks before the cat accepts the device being used on them. Using treats can be a good idea to create a positive association.
Help accustom your cat to regular brushing.
You may need to train your cat to tolerate grooming. Be attentive to your cat’s response and body language. Some cats are hypersensitive to touch. Watch the cat’s body language to avoid overwhelming or overstimulating it.
Watch for tail or ear twitching. If you see either, stop brushing, praise the cat and/or offer it a treat, then let it go. If you continue brushing, your cat may bite or scratch you.
Bathe your cat
. To actively reduce shedding, bathe your cat every one to four weeks. Because most cats don’t like water, your cat may not be enthusiastic about a bath. You may need to gradually work your cat up to a full bath.
To help your cat become accustomed to a bath, start by filling a bathtub with three to four inches of warm (not hot) water. For the first few times, just put the cat in the water so that just its feet get wet and let the feet soak for a short period. Gradually build up to getting more of the cat’s body wet each time. Always build up slowly to avoid frightening your cat and understand that some cats may never tolerate a bath.
When you’re ready to bathe your cat, begin by wetting its fur.
Use a soap-free, oatmeal based pet shampoo to lather the fur everywhere but the cat’s face.
Rinse the fur thoroughly, again, avoiding the eyes, nose, and ears.
Dry the cat with a large towel.
Visit a pet store and look for wipes or sprays that clean a cat’s fur without water.
These can replace baths entirely for uncooperative cats. Or, you can use them between baths if the cat gets dirty or starts shedding.
Alternatively, to quickly remove loose fur from the top coat, use a paper towel or cloth dampened in warm water.
Use cat-cleaning products.
Make an appointment with a professional groomer if you’re unable to manage the shedding yourself.
A visit to a professional groomer may be necessary for cats with long, thick fur or for cats that react aggressively to grooming.
Consider having a long-haired cat shaved down once or twice a year to decrease shedding.
Visit a professional groomer.
A nutritious diet will help keep your cat healthy, which may lead to less shedding.
Look for wet cat food that lists specific meats (like chicken, beef, or fish) as the first two or three ingredients. Because cats need animal-based protein, these are vital to a healthy cat’s diet.
Dry cat foods and low-quality wet foods contain a lot of grains or other carbohydrates like wheat, corn, and soy. These ingredients are not as nutritious for cats as meat-based proteins. They may even cause allergic or digestive issues that lead to dry skin and shedding.
Feed your cat high-quality food and offer plenty of fresh water.
Overweight cats have more difficulty grooming themselves and are prone to having more loose fur.
You can tell if you cat is overweight if you can’t feel its ribs without pressing. If you don’t see a narrowing waist in front of the hips when looking at the cat from above, this is another warning sign.
A veterinarian can give your cat a specific diet plan if needed.
You can also try reducing your cat’s intake to the recommended amounts and refraining from giving treats.
Play with your cat regularly so it gets enough exercise.
Help an overweight cat lose weight.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are particularly important to keeping a cat’s skin and fur healthy. This can help reduce shedding.
You can find omega fatty acids in wet cat foods that contain salmon oil or flax oil.
You can also buy omega fatty acid supplements that you can feed your cat separately or mix into its food.
Your vet is best able to judge appropriate diet modifications. But, adding omega fatty acids should be safe if you choose a supplement made for cats and don’t go beyond the recommended amount.
Increase your cat’s intake of omega fatty acids.
If your cat is scratching vigorously (and thus perhaps shedding more), it could be the result of fleas or parasites.
Look for dark flea feces near the base of the tail. If you discover fleas or flea feces, treat your cat for fleas. Then, keep your cat on a monthly flea-control regimen. Ask your veterinarian to help you choose a flea-control product.
If you’re unable to trace the source of the itching, take your cat to the vet. In addition to ectoparasites, your cat could have hypersensitivity to pollens, molds, or grasses. It could also have food allergies. All of these can contribute to itching and shedding.
Make sure your cat doesn’t have fleas or other parasites.
Look in pet stores for a cat repellent spray that’s safe for use on furniture.
You can use both natural and commercial sprays to deter a cat from going (and then shedding) on surfaces you don’t want it to.
Use a cat repellent spray.
Place a comfortable cat bed where your cat enjoys sleeping. This will help keep the shedding contained to a small area and off of your furniture and floors.
Cats generally prefer sleeping in places that are safe, partially hidden, and warm. Try to find a location with those features and set up the cat bed there.
Store-bought cat beds may smell of unfamiliar places and materials, which cats find deterring. If your cat seems hesitant to lie in the bed, try covering it with a cloth or shirt that smells like you or your cat.
Get a cat bed.
Though perhaps not an ideal solution, you can cover your furniture with a sheet, blanket, or slipcover. You can then wash it to remove accumulated cat fur.
If there’s a particular spot on the furniture your cat frequents, toss a throw, mat, or pillowcase over that spot.
Cover your furniture.
Keep a lint roller in your purse or car so you can de-fur your clothes after leaving the house.
A circle of duct tape with the sticky side out can also work as a makeshift lint roller.
Clean up shed fur with a lint roller or vacuum.Use lint rollers or a vacuum (some of which have anti-fur attachments) to clean up fur on clothes, furniture, and floors.