Cats do shed, but how much a cat sheds depends on various factors, including their breed, diet, grooming habits, and health. Lifestyle changes influence some of these factors, where unchangeable natural shedding patterns control others.
Do Cats Shed?
Yes, cats do shed. Cats shed throughout the year, and some cat breeds shed more than others. Some cat breeds also experience two major annual sheds – one in spring and one in fall.
What Triggers Cats to Shed?
Like humans, cat hair grows in phases – the anagen phase, the catagen phase, and the telogen phase.
Cat fur grows fastest during the anagen phase – this hair growth stops during the catagen phase. Finally, during the telogen phase, the hair falls out so that new hair can grow.
The length of a hair growth cycle varies between cats, but on average, a short-haired cat will complete a growth cycle in between two and three months. A long-haired cat can take anywhere from three to six months to complete the hair growth cycle.
Twice a year in winter and spring, many cats experience a significant shed. The shed in the spring allows for a thinner and cooler coat to come in so that your cat does not overheat in the summer months. The shed in the fall allows for the thicker, warmer coat to come in so that your cat stays nice and toasty in the cooler winter months!
The 10 Cat Breeds That Shed The Most
1. The Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian forest cat originates in Northern Europe and has a very fluffy appearance. The Norwegian forest cat has a woolen undercoat covered by a long coat with a glossy sheen.
The long, thick coat of the Norwegian Forest Cat protects this cat from freezing temperatures in snowy Norway, but it also sheds like crazy!
2. The Siberian Cat
The Siberian cat originates in Russia and has a plush and regal appearance resembling the Norwegian Forest Cat. The Siberian forest cat has a woolen undercoat covered by straight but coarse and finally wavy medium-length awn hairs.
The full fluffy coat of the Siberian Cat protects this cat from dangerous temperatures in snowy Siberia!
3. The Ragdoll Cat
The ragdoll cat originates in California and has a full coat. The Ragdoll cat does not have an undercoat but does have a long, silky fur coat that many compare to rabbit fur. The Ragdoll cat’s fur coat does not fill out fully until the cat is between three and four years old, and from there, seasonal shedding is more noticeable.
4. The Chantilly Cat
The Chantilly cat originates in North America and has a very feathery appearance. The Chantilly cat does not have a functioning undercoat but does have a long silky coat that requires daily grooming.
The soft, long coat of the Chantilly Cat can take up to two years to fill out completely.
5. The Maine Coon
The Maine Coon originates in Maine and has a full fluffy coat with pointed ears. The Maine coon cat has a three-layered fur coat with a silky undercoat that holds in heat, a second undercoat, and at around two years old, the third “guard coat” grows in as long waterproof hairs.
6. The American Shorthair
The American Shorthair cat originates in the United States and is the offspring of early cats brought to the United States by European settlers. The American shorthaired cat has a thick but fluffy undercoat covered by a medium-length protective topcoat.
The American Shorthair cat does not shed as much as longer-haired cats but compared to medium-coated breeds, this feline is a heavy shedder!
7. The American Bobtail
The American Bobtail originates in the United States and is a hybrid of the wild Bobcat and a domestic tabby. The American Bobtail has a thick protective undercoat and a shaggy topcoat that can be either shorter or longer.
A heavy shedder, the American Bobtail requires regular grooming to keep its coat in top form.
8. The Himalayan
The Himalayan cat originated in the United States and resulted from breeding a Persian and Siamese cat. The Himalayan cat has a thick protective undercoat covered by a soft, long overcoat. The Himalayan cat is a heavy seasonal shedder in addition to being a moderate shedder throughout the year.
9. The Persian
The Persian cat originates in Iran (formerly Persia) and has a very fluffy appearance. The Persian cat has a very thick undercoat covered by a thick layer of long hair.
The Persian is the hairiest cat breed and is a prolific shedder that requires regular grooming and daily brushing.
10. The Ragamuffin
The Ragamuffin cat originates in California and has a very full and furry appearance. The Ragamuffin cat does not have a thick undercoat; however, it does have an exceptionally soft semi-longhair coat.
Even though the Ragamuffin has a long coat, it is not too difficult to manage since there is no thick undercoat to brush through.
The 10 Cat Breeds That Shed The Least
1. The Sphynx
The Sphynx cat originates in Toronto, Canada, and is better known as a hairless or “naked” cat. This hairless breed is the first cat breed that was bred specifically for its hairlessness.
While the Sphynx does not have a fur coat to shed all over your house, this cat must stay warm using clothing and heated bedding when necessary.
2. The Cornish Rex
The Cornish Rex cat originates in Cornwall in the UK and has a particularly short coat. Originally the Cornish Rex was bred accidentally when a farm cat gave birth to a kitten with a genetic mutation that caused a curly coat.
The wavy Cornish Rex coat is low maintenance but can be very delicate so it should be groomed very carefully.
3. The Devon Rex
The Devon Rex cat originates in Devonshire in the UK and has a very short coat similar to the Cornish Rex. The curly-coated Devon Rex differs from the Cornish Rex in its thicker head shape, shorter legs, and coarser coat.
The curly Devon Rex coat is softer than many other feline coats because it lacks stiffer guard hairs.
4. The Burmese
The Burmese cat originates in Burma and has a very short and shiny coat. The Burmese cat has a little undercoat, and the topcoat is tightly held to the body and has a satin finish.
The short, soft coat of the Burmese cat is easy to care for, and grooming is minimal.
5. The Oriental Shorthair
The Oriental shorthair cat originates in Thailand and is a variation of the Siamese cat. The Oriental Shorthair is a very slender cat with a short, close coat that comes in a startling array of colors and patterns.
The Oriental Shorthair coat is easy to care for and sheds very little.
6. The Bengal
The Bengal cat originates in the United States and is a hybrid cat developed from the wild Asian leopard cat, the Abyssinian, and Egyptian Mau cats. The Bengal coat is a single-layer coat that is short and held close to the body.
The Bengal coat is unique in its various patterns and colors and is easy to maintain with periodic brushing. The Bengal is a minimal shedder.
7. The Siamese
The Siamese cat originates in Thailand and has a very short coat that sits close to the body. The Siamese cat has very fine hair and no undercoat and has a variety of point colorations.
The Siamese coat is easy to maintain with regular brushing and sheds minimally.
8. The Singapura
The Singapura cat originates in Singapore and is named for the Lion City Malay island, where it frequently sleeps in city drains.
The Singapura has a very short and fine coat that is silky to the touch, but it has no undercoat making grooming simple. The Singapura is a very affectionate and low-shedding cat.
9. The American Curl
The American Curl cat originates in America and is unique in that it has backward curling ears. A medium-sized cat, the American Curl has no undercoat but has a flat, close topcoat that can be either long or short.
The American Curl comes in various colors and is a low-shedding cat that needs minimal grooming to maintain a healthy coat.
10. The Russian Blue
The Russian Blue originated on Archangel Island in north Russia. The Russian Blue cat has a unique undercoat that is the same length as the topcoat that sits at an angle, giving this cat a more dominating appearance. Despite having a thick coat, the Russian Blue is not a significant shedder.
Do Indoor Cats Shed More?
The amount of shedding that a cat goes through depends primarily on its breed, but the ambient temperature can also play a role.
For example, a cat that lives indoors inside an air-conditioned home under artificial light sources sheds less than a cat living outdoors in variable temperatures under natural light.
Do Indoor Cats Shed Seasonally?
Some indoor cats experience seasonal shedding, but most indoor-only cats shed minimally year-round due to controlled temperatures and artificial lights inside your home.
What Months Do Cats Shed the Most?
As we mentioned before – a cat’s breed and environment establish its shedding patterns – so this is a difficult question to answer.
Cats that spend a lot of time outdoors and undergo seasonal shedding are most likely to lose the most hair at the end of fall (when temperatures start to drop) and at the beginning of spring (when temperatures begin to warm up.)
How Do I Know If My Cat is Shedding Too Much?
If you have noticed any significant change in how much hair your cat is losing, you should always check in with your veterinarian. Your vet will run a comprehensive blood panel and check your cat for any signs or symptoms of health conditions that may cause shedding.
Why is My Cat Shedding Like Crazy?
There are various reasons why your cat may be shedding more than usual including:
- Parasitic infection
- Autoimmune conditions
- Skin allergies
- Nervous disorders
- Fungal infection
- Hormonal imbalance
How Can You Stop Your Cat From Shedding?
You can do little about your cat shedding. Like any animal with hair or fur, shedding is a natural process. You can, however, keep your cat and its coat as healthy as possible to reduce problem shedding by:
- Feeding a high-quality food
- Regularly brushing your cat’s coat
- Regularly grooming your cat
- Keeping on top of monthly parasite preventative medications
- Doing annual veterinary visits to stay on top of your cat’s health (more frequent visits are advisable for senior pets)
Will My Cat Ever Stop Shedding?
No, for as long as your cat has hair, they will shed hair.
Conclusion / Summary
A cat’s breed, environment, diet, and health (among other things) all influence their shedding patterns, but the bottom line is that cats have hair, and therefore, they shed.