Fur care

Why is My Cat Shedding so Much All of a Sudden?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: September 2, 2018
Why is My Cat Shedding so Much All of a Sudden?

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With a few exceptions, cats will shed a certain amount of hair all the time. We notice it when we fish the remote from the back of the couch and return a werewolf hand covered in loose fur. We hear it when our cat starts hacking up one of those unpleasant fur balls onto the kitchen floor. However, sometimes we see our feline friends are moulting a lot more than usual. If this is the case, we can become understandably worried.

The reason our cat is shedding more than usual could be down to parasites, poor nutrition or even stress. However, there are other possible causes some of which are nothing to worry about, some which may require medical attention. AnimalWised answers the question why is my cat shedding so much all of a sudden? to investigate this causes and provide solutions for treatment.

You may also be interested in: My Rabbit Is Shedding a Lot

Why does my cat shed its hair?

It can be disconcerting to see your cat shed its fur, but it's also important to know that some shedding is completely normal. You can tell it is normal due to the season. Like many other animals, they will moult during the spring time as their winter coat is too heavy for the warmer weather. You will see it shedding because there will be more fur around the places you normally see your cat or even when you pet them and you have fur attached to your hand. The shed fur sometimes gets caught in the coat, so you may need to brush your cat to get rid of the excess.

Some cats will also shed more than others. However, this isn't just because some cats have longer hair than others. Sure, some cats like the Ragamuffin cats or American Bobtail cats molt more and have longer fur. However, so to do Russian Blue cats which don't have long fur. Sphynx cats, as well as other hairless cats, do not have much hair to shed. However, Bengal cats and Ocicats also don't shed as much as others, despite having a relatively thick coat. This is partly why some believe them to be more hypoallergenic than others.

However, this normal shedding is not the only reason for having more fur around the house. There are many other reasons this may be the case. They include:

  • Fleas, ticks or other insect infestation. If your cat has a parasitical insect trying to burrow into its skin, then your cat will try to scratch and bite it out. This scratching and biting can lead to a loss of more fur and you may even see patches of skin where the fur is missing.
  • Poor nutrition can lead to fur loss. If a cat doesn't have the requisite nutrients to ensure a thick and healthy coat, then it could be a reason why your cat is shedding so much fur. If you have tried to introduce your cat to a new diet, such as an all-raw diet or even a vegan or vegetarian diet, then they may not be getting the amino acids they need.
  • Allergies can make a cat lose hair. We hear so much of humans getting allergies to cats that it's easy to forget cats can develop them also. These could be due to food issues which lower their immune system and lead to hair shedding.
  • Atopy or atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition which cats usually get as a response to something in their environment. It can be an insect as before, but can also come from a bacterial or fungal infection. This can be very frustrating for your cat and results in scratching and biting. It may be easy to control this inside, but an outdoor cat can pick up these infections from areas you can't control.
  • Scabies is another cause, this time from a mite which embeds itself in the skin of your cat. Depending on the extent of the infestation, this could be an overall hair loss or it could result in patches of skin exposed.
  • Stress and anxiety in cats can also lead to hair loss. This is something which equally happens in human beings. There may be many reasons your cat is stressed, such as intimidation from other cats, abuse (whether from a previous owner or currently), changes in routine, a new pet or even a new family member. Unfortunately we can't get them on the couch to find out why, but most often their stressors can be recognized by following them for a while.

If you can't work out why your cat is shedding so much, you should take your pet to the vet. They will be in a better position to assess and diagnose the issue.

Why is My Cat Shedding so Much All of a Sudden? - Why does my cat shed its hair?

How to prevent a cat from shedding

Once you have identified the reason for your cat shedding so much, we can take a look at some of the solutions. Of course, prevention is always better than cure. Be vigilant and keep an eye out for insects or other reasons you may have problems with fur loss in your cat. Here are some tips to make sure your cat's coat is thick and healthy and only sheds when necessary:

  • Brush your cat's hair weekly. Cats like to preen themselves with their coarse tongues, but if you do it right, they will also love being groomed by you. It's what they do in families. Some longer hair cats prone to moulting may also need to be brushed more than once a week. Fortunately, it can also be a good bonding activity between you and your pet.
  • Use a fine tooth metal comb for brushing. While brushing your cat's hair regularly can help with shedding, it won't do any good if you use the wrong brush. An inappropriate comb can lead to tugging on the fur and may even be the cause of your cat's excess shedding.
  • You can also run a warm damp (clean of course) cloth over your cat's fur. This will keep it hydrated and healthy, especially in warm climates.
  • There are some topical products which can promote healthy fur in cats. Make sure they are quality products and discuss them with your vet first to ensure they are good for your cat.
  • Treat fleas and ticks immediately if you see them. Here is a simple solution for getting rid of fleas in cats, but you can also go to your vet if unsure.
  • Keep your cat well fed with quality feed. If you don't it can lead to nutritional deficiencies which are not just dangerous for their coat, but also their overall health.
  • Eliminate your cat's stressor. Keeping an eye on their behavior and following them may be necessary. If you know your cat's history and can't think of a reason why your cat is stressed, then think what may have changed for them. Read out article on symptoms of stress in cats to find out more.

Once you have dealt with these reasons why your cat may be losing more fur than usual, you can invest in a good vacuum cleaner to get rid of it all. If your cat is still shedding excessively, then go to the vet and get a professional diagnosis.

Why is My Cat Shedding so Much All of a Sudden? - How to prevent a cat from shedding

If you want to read similar articles to Why is My Cat Shedding so Much All of a Sudden?, we recommend you visit our Fur care category.

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1 comment
Peter Bouwman
Our Russian Blue is twelve years old. Well looked after. Very happy
nature.Of late is bringing is food up.Brush him every morning,plus
Oil of Parafine (two teaspoons)every couple of days.His coat is a bit
brouwnish in some places (no skin problems or fleas,incline to think
missing out on some minerals or vitamins?. At the moment,gets a
mixture of Wishcas sachets,plus Dine bicuits.. No sign of being sick.
Could you please help? Yours Sincerely,Peter Bouwman
Article Exellent!

Could you please help? Yours Sincerely,Peter Bouwman
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Peter,

It is interesting to hear you say there is no sign of your cat being sick, but yet they are bringing up their food. This is a clear sign there is an issue. Together with their advanced age, it is most important to take note of any changes which may occur in their demeanor and behavior.

There are many possible reasons your cat may be unwell, but only a qualified vet will be able to give an adequate diagnosis. They can provide both a proper assessment and a proper treatment plan. Especially at an advanced age, some health issues are otherwise asymptomatic. It may be there is nothing wrong, but it is always best to have confirmation either way.

Good luck and we hope all is well!
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Why is My Cat Shedding so Much All of a Sudden?