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7 ways to survive with a shedding cat

Consider these seven practical pointers for dealing with cat shedding.
Kittens at Play by Henriette Ronner-Knip, 1897, public domain

Cats shed. It’s sort of the nature of the beast, so to speak. The flying fur can become both aggravating and messy, as loose cat hair piles up on upholstery, garments, draperies, and more. And, because cats groom themselves frequently, their shed fur also ends up in unsightly regurgitates hairballs all over the house – usually immediately before guests come calling.

Still, shedding is a natural process, by which felines lose dead hair, so they can grow fresh, new coats. Outdoor cats tend to lose lots of fur in spring and fall, as they transition between light, warm-weather coats and heavy, cold-weather ones. Cats who live inside usually shed more gradually, but all year round.

What can cat lovers do to minimize this pet ownership problem?

Consider these seven practical pointers for dealing with cat shedding.

1. Provide a fur-friendly cat diet.

A well-balanced diet can help a lot. Healthy fatty acids help to keep a cat’s coat and skin in optimum condition.

2. Remove loose fur regularly from the cat.

Regular grooming takes considerable amounts of loose fur from a cat. Several tools are available, such as brushes, combs, grooming mitts, pet fur rakes, and shedding loops. Some cats even enjoy being groomed with a vacuum.

Occasional bathing is also important, as this helps keep a cat clean and healthy as well.

3. Take the fur off the furniture.

Cats are climbers, and it’s nearly impossible to keep them from leaping onto furniture. However, furniture may be protected from cat fur. Plenty of cat owners toss washable slipcovers or throws on upholstered chairs and couches, perhaps removing these immediately before visitors enter.

Other feline aficionados simply vacuum furniture frequently to remove shed cat fur.

4. Pull the fur out of rugs and carpeting.

Fur from long-haired cats tends to bundle like tumbleweeds, making it easier to pick up with a vacuum or by hand than the looser short-haired fur. Lots of cat owners use carpet rakes to gather up loose hair before running the carpet sweeper.

5. Roll the fur off people’s garments.

A sticky lint roller (or even a handful of masking tape or duct tape) is super for picking up cat hair on clothes. This also works for curtains, drapes, and covered pillows.

6. Keep the fur out of your face.

If flying fur is bothersome, particularly during cleanup, a hospital mask or a folded scarf can be a lifesaver.

To minimize ongoing breathing of cat fur, some pet owners schedule annual or semi-annual furnace and air-duct cleanings for their homes. It’s astonishing how much pet fur may accumulate inside a home ventilation system over a few months.

7. Address any shedding-related veterinary issues.

A cat may shed excessively for any of these health concerns:

  • allergies
  • bee stings
  • fleas
  • hormonal imbalances
  • infection or disease
  • insect bites
  • itching and scratching
  • malnutrition
  • medicinal side effects
  • parasites
  • pregnancy
  • ringworm
  • stress
  • ticks

Veterinary attention may be warranted, if a cat has bald patches, suddenly loses large clumps of hair, or seems to bit or scratch himself in the same spots without stopping.

What about cat allergies?

Usually, folks who are allergic to cats are not technically bothered by the fur itself, but by dander in the fur. Either way, keeping up with cleaning up can help considerably, especially when allergies are mild or may be helped with antihistamines or other allergy medications.

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