When is shedding season for cats?

Cats who are allowed to go in and out or who live outside will shed seasonally. Indoor cats may also respond to the calendar, but typically they shed all year, although this may vary by breed. In general, it’s fair to say that cats shed some degree of “winter” coat in the spring and summer.

Long-haired cats may shed more often, or it may just seem to their humans that they leave more fur around the house. Obviously the cast-off hairs from a Persian or Himalayan will be more noticeable, as is the fur from light-colored cats.

Regular and thorough brushing will greatly diminish seasonal shedding regardless of the length of the animal’s coat. It’s important to brush thoroughly, and to reach through the outer coat into the soft, downy undercoat. A wire brush or “rake” is good for this purpose.

Brush against the growth pattern of the hair, pausing frequently to clean collected hair from the brush. Failure to do so will actually increase the chance of the hair tangling and matting.

One of the more unpleasant aspects of seasonal shedding, for both the person and the cat, is that hairball regurgitation also increases during this period. The cat will be grooming itself in an effort to get rid of the excess fur, which means more of that dreaded 3 a.m. awakening to hear hacking that every cat owner dreads. Brushing is not only in the best interests of the cat, but also in those of the person!

On a more serious note, however, dense hairballs can become impacted in the cat’s digestive system and lead to life-threatening emergencies. Particularly with long-haired cats and during seasonal peaks in shedding activity, brushing is an important maintenance chore both as preventive medicine and as necessary “housework.”

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