Shedding season is something cat lovers often mention, especially when they are caught wearing clothes covered in stray hairs.
Is shedding season a real phenomenon? If so, how does it work?
Most house cats shed throughout the entire year, according to the ASPCA.
The amount could be quite impressive: for each kilogram a short-haired cat weighs, it sheds nearly 30 grams of hair each year, according to the journal Veterinary Medicine and Science
That is a loss of approximately 3 percent of the cat’s total weight! The number is presumably greater for long-haired breeds. Scientists say that the bulk of this loose hair is swallowed by the cat itself, through the process of grooming.
When it is still attached to the cat, cat hair is a great temperature regulator.
As noted by The Washington Post, a thicker inner layer of fur helps cats conserve warmth in cold weather, while an outer layer acts as insulation, keeping them from absorbing too much heat and sunlight in the warmer months.
Naturally, most pet cats shed more of the unneeded undercoat in preparation for summer, so owners may see more shedding in spring, reports Huffington Post.
Breeds with particularly long, thick coats, such as Maine Coons, may need to shed into summer to prevent overheating.
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For the most part, researchers note that shedding season is over for both short-haired and long-haired cats from July to September.
Responsible cat owners know that they should keep their feline friends indoors for health and safety reasons.
Outdoor cats and feral cats do exist, however, and they unfortunately need more protection from the elements.
According to WebMD, cats living outdoors shed more heavily in spring and fall, the latter due to their necessity to develop thicker coats for winter.
Regardless of where they live, there are some cats that do not experience shedding seasons: hairless cats.
These breeds, which include the Sphynx and Donskoy, typically have little to no hair.
Any hair that they do have tends to be too short and fine to be noticed by the owners when shed. In comparison, other breeds that are rumored to be non-shedding — such as the Cornish Rex, which have short, curly coats — do still shed, if not noticeably.
Going through shedding season is generally a natural and healthy thing for cats, even if the timing — which “seasons” it actually occurs in — may vary from cat to cat, depending on their hair types and environments.
For owners, veterinarians recommend grooming cats more often to reduce the amount of unwanted hair the cats may leave around the household.
Cat owners who notice excessive shedding in their cats should also make sure the shedding is not caused by stress, flea infestations, or other health issues.