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3 surprising things that could be causing your cat to shed a lot

When you share your life with cats, you can expect to deal with some shedding. There’s bound to be some cat hair on your furniture and clothes, especially when your cat is actively shedding. But if you notice that your cat sheds a lot and starts to lose significantly more hair than usual, there might be an issue causing the excess shedding. If you’re wondering, “Why is my cat shedding so much?” then consider the following potential causes. If you can identify a cause, you may be able to take some steps to reduce the shedding and minimize the amount of cat hair that ends up scattered around your house.

A woman patting a cat and inspecting its fur

Why is my cat shedding so much?

Allergies

If your cat sheds a lot, allergies could be to blame. The key to fixing the issue will be determining what your cat is allergic to.

Cats who shed excessively during certain times of the year, like the spring and fall, may be allergic to plants and trees that are in bloom at the time. Just like humans experience fluctuating allergies at this time, so can cats. This can sometimes be difficult to spot, though, since your cat will naturally shed at these times of the year.

It’s also possible that your cat is allergic to food, a grooming product, or some other substance that’s present in his life. Food allergies can be common in cats, and eliminating the problem food is an easy fix.

If your cat has an allergy, you might notice that he’s increasingly itchy, that he’s shedding a lot, and potentially that he’s losing so much hair that he’s developing bald spots. Your vet can help identify the cause of the allergy and get your cat feeling more comfortable again.

Stress

Stress also plays an important role in your cat’s shedding. Stress can cause cats to both over-groom and not keep up with their regular grooming routine, and both of these situations can contribute to increased shedding.

If your cat is stressed, you might notice other symptoms in addition to increased shedding. Your cat might lose his appetite, he might start sleeping more or sleeping less, and he might become anti-social, retreating to secluded areas in your home. In some cases, a stressed cat might even react aggressively to other family members that he’s usually friendly and comfortable with.

If you notice some of these signs paired with increased shedding, then stress might be behind your cat’s increased hair loss. You’ll need to try to identify what is stressing your cat out. Think about any lifestyle changes that you’ve made lately, like bringing home a new baby, adopting a new pet, or moving to a new house. Any shifts like these can be a major source of stress for cats.

You may need to help reduce your cat’s stress by giving him a spot in your house where he feels safe and comfortable. This might mean a room all to himself. You can also try using cat pheromones to help calm and reassure your cat.

Pregnancy

Even pregnancy can cause increased hair loss. The hormone changes of a pregnancy can cause your female cat to lose more hair while she’s pregnant. The good news is that this is a temporary issue, and once your cat gives birth and her body goes back to normal, the excess shedding should resolve.

Woman grooming a cat on her lap using a grooming mitt

Why a vet check is important

Several other health conditions can cause excessive shedding in cats. Ringworm, thyroid disease, fleas, and other issues can cause your cat to lose more hair than normal. Sometimes a cat can have a reaction to a medication or a flea treatment that causes hair loss. If you notice any changes in your cat’s health, including increased shedding, it’s always a good idea to take your cat to the vet for a checkup, just in case.

Most of the time, increased shedding is harmless, and once you determine what’s causing it, you may be able to reduce it. Even factors like diet and nutrition can contribute to your cat’s shedding habits, so it’s important to carefully consider all the factors that might be causing the issue. In the meantime, be sure you have the right tools to help control the hair in your home. A powerful vacuum designed for homes with pets can help, and a few lint rollers throughout the home are essential. Regularly cleaning up cat hair can help reduce how much of it ends up on your clothes.

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