10 Efficient Ways to Deal With Cat Hair
Just as hair shedding is normal and unavoidable for humans, so it is for felines. All cats shed more or less year-round (except for the Sphynx who doesn’t shed at all!) because this is a normal process of hair growth and hair replacement. So, there is no going around this issue we’re afraid unless you’re willing to shave your cat, which, for the sake of yourself and your kitty, we hope you’re not. However, there is a way to minimize pet hair shedding and efficiently deal with whatever hair does end up in the air, on your furniture, floors, clothes and other undesirable places. In fact, there are 10 super-efficient yet super-simple ways you can do that. We talk about all of them in this article.
Why Do Cats Shed?
Before we jump into how to get rid of cat hair section, let’s quickly cover the basics first: why do cats shed and how to control cat hair?
As mentioned, shedding is a healthy, normal process for cats, or to be more precise, for their hair growth and replacement process. While most cats shed year-round, there are certain times when they shed more than usual: spring and summer. This is because, unlike people, cats can’t just take off their coats when the weather becomes warmer. Instead, they shed their thicker winter coats naturally in spring and summer months in anticipation of the warmer climate. Likewise, they start growing heavier coats in multiple layers to keep themselves warm during fall and winter months.
All of this has to do with the sun. Changes in sunlight affect a cat’s brain in a way it signals the hair follicles to respond to weather changes. So, it’s a rather logical process: when there is less sunlight, felines start growing heavier coats alongside fluffier undercoats which provide insulation; when there is more sunlight, felines start shedding the heavier coat so they can keep themselves cool during warmer months.
Besides sunlight, other factors influence shedding: genetics, nutrition, stress, illness and medication. To help minimize cat hair shedding, you should make sure:
- Your cat eats a healthy, balanced diet
- Your cat has daily physical activity
- You brush and groom your cat regularly.
Cats Can Shed Too Much
While hair shedding is perfectly normal for all furry cats, there is such a thing as shedding too much. If you’re doing everything you can to keep your cat healthy and well-groomed, but they’re still shedding excessively, you should check if other factors are at play.
Similarly to humans, cats who experience increased moments of stress or anxiety tend to over-shed. If you’re finding cat hair everywhere, including carpet, floor, furniture and your clothes, it’s a good idea to try to access your pet’s stress levels. Were there any major changes in your home environment? Did you recently move, get a new animal, start taking your cat to a new vet or groomer? All of these and other changes can stress a cat out, especially if they’re already of sensitive health or are used to a certain routine. During stressful episodes, cats will shed significantly more than they usually do, so if it’s not spring or summer and they’re shedding excessively, it could be due to their high stress levels. Try to provide a calmer home environment for your kitty, or simply give them time to adjust to new changes.
Many illnesses can cause cats to experience elevated levels of stress, which in turn can lead to excessive shedding. If you notice that your cat’s skin is looking a little red and irritated, you may want to step in and either change their diet and/or give them supplements, or simply take them to the vet. Irritated skin can quickly turn to excessive shedding and even bald spots because of inflamed hair follicles and the fact that the irritation spreads fast due to your cat licking themselves. On top of this, many cats will lick and scratch themselves a little too vigorously in an effort to minimize itchiness as a result of skin irritation, which, as you can imagine, usually leads to even more hair shedding. If your kitty is acting differently than their usual self and is shedding at an increased rate or is showing signs of balding, it’s best to take them to the vet so they can rule out serious health problems.
Another common cause of excessive shedding in cats is allergies. Some cats suffer from one or multiple food allergies, such as poultry, beef and lamb allergies, soy, wheat, rice or other, so if they’re fed a diet that contains an ingredient(s) that causes them to experience the symptoms of their allergy, they will shed at an increased rate. Some cats will even show signs of balding. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild to severe, but when it comes to mild to moderate symptoms, cats will often scratch at their heads and necks, causing extreme shedding and skin irritation. It’s useful to know that all cats can develop allergies, even if they had eaten a now-problematic ingredient for years with no issues. If all else is normal in your kitty’s life but they can’t seem to stop shedding excessively, try changing their diet. Better yet, take them to your vet who can conduct a physical examination and determine the source of your pet’s allergic reaction.
How To Deal With Cat Hair
Whether your cat is shedding normally or excessively, here are 10 simple but efficient tips and tricks on how to deal with pet hair.
Feed a Healthy Diet
Let’s start with the most important thing – your pet’s diet. To minimize the number of hairs your feline companion sheds, it’s crucial you feed them a healthy, balanced diet every day. Choose cat food that is high in quality protein (animal protein first!), low in carbohydrates and moderate in fats. Fats deserve a special mention here as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in particular help keep your cat’s hair and skin healthy and strong. Good fat choices include fish oil, salmon oil and flaxseed oil. If your cat’s regular food doesn’t contain high enough fat content but your cat loves it, that’s okay – you don’t have to switch to another formula. But you may want to consider cat food supplements such as fatty acid supplements (more on that on tip No. 10). If your cat has a food allergy, make sure the cat food you’re buying doesn’t contain that particular ingredient.
Make Sure Your Cat Is Hydrated
If your cat isn’t drinking enough water, they can suffer from various health issues that stem from dehydration, including kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, irritated gums, and of course, skin irritation and excessive hair shedding. Typically, cats need between 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of fluid per 5 pounds of body weight per day. Unfortunately, most cats are not huge fans of water so some may need a little coaxing to visit their water bowls regularly. To ensure your cat is consuming enough fluid, you can try these tips:
- Wash their water bowl daily
- Change their water regularly (twice a day ideally)
- Feed wet food in conjunction with dry food
- Experiment with different water habits and sources such as adding ice cubes to their bowl, using a water fountain, etc.
Reduce Their Stress Levels
We mentioned that cats who experience elevated stress levels also shed more than usual. To decrease the number of cat hair you have to deal with on a daily basis, try to make your cat’s home environment as calm and pleasant as possible. If you have other pets, make sure your kitty has a space of its own where it can relax in peace and quiet from time to time. Also ensure that each pet has its own food and water bowl, as well as its own litter box if you own multiple cats – felines are quite territorial and generally don’t like sharing things. Finally, do make sure your cat has proper outlets to relieve stress – they should have regular physical activity, a scratch post of their own, as well as a couple of toys they can “hunt” and play with.
Brush Them Regularly
If you want to minimize cat hair shedding, it’s crucial you brush your cat regularly. Frequent brushing not only helps remove loose hair, it also improves the overall look and feel of your pet’s coat as it helps distribute the oils throughout its entire length. While cats do groom themselves, they love a good brushing session – it feels good to get rid of that old hair and let the skin breathe. Brushing is also a nice way for you to bond with your pet, so it’s a win-win scenario. If your cat has long hair, you’ll want to quickly brush them with a bristle brush every day. If they have short hair, you should brush them once or twice a week, either with a bristle brush or a good long-tooth comb.
Clean Their Bedding Regularly
If your cat has its own sleeping area or pet bed, you’ll want to clean it regularly to reduce the amount of cat hair around your house. It’s amazing how much cat hair and dirt gets stuck to pet bedding and then gets transferred to your furniture, carpets, floors and clothes! In fact, this is probably the area with the highest concentration of hair and fluff so you’ll need to clean and vacuum it regularly. By cleaning your cat’s bed frequently, you’ll not only reduce the amount of cat hair in your home, but also make your pet’s bed fresher and comfier.
Get a Good Vacuum Cleaner
A good, powerful vacuum cleaner is a must-have if you have pets. Because cat hairs fly everywhere, they easily get stuck in all kinds of strange places, but especially in carpets and furniture. A good vacuum cleaner will not only remove any and all cat hair laying on the floor, but also get those stubborn hairs out of the carpets and upholstery. You’ll want a vacuum cleaner with strong suction, as well as a HEPA filter as this helps reduce allergens. Consider vacuuming twice a week, and always go over your furniture, as well as car seats if needed.
Use a Lint Roller
If you often find cat hair on your clothes, it’s time to break out a good old lint roller. The best way to use it is before washing your clothes: simply remove as much hair as possible first, and then toss the clothes in the wash. This will ensure you don’t end up with cat hair beads stuck to both your clothes and washing machine. It’s also a good idea to use a lint roller before wearing your clothes, just to makes sure everything is as clean as possible (not required unless your cat sheds excessively).
Use Different Cleaning Aids
If your kitty leaves their hairs everywhere they go and no vacuum or lint roller seem to do much, we suggest turning to more traditional, manual cleaning techniques. To remove hair from your wood, laminate or tile floors, use an electrostatic or microfiber dry mop – cat hair attaches to this like crazy. For your upholstery, use a slightly damp sponge or an old rag and go over the surface fabric several times. This will make the hair clump together so you can easily remove it and throw it away.
Bathe Your Cat
If you’re doing everything you can to minimize the amount of hair your cat sheds but nothing seems to help that much, consider giving your cat a bath from time to time. While cats are known for their fastidious grooming habits, they too sometimes need help keeping their fur nice and clean. If your kitty often suffers from skin rashes, allergies and itchy skin, it’s a good idea to bathe them with a shampoo specially formulated for cats. Of course, this is only possible if your cat is not afraid of water. But, even if they are, there is a way you can help clean their skin and coat – waterless shampoos.
Consider Fatty Acid Supplements
Finally, consider giving your cat fatty acid supplements. Omega fatty acids are crucial for healthy skin and coat, but sometimes cat food doesn’t contain enough of it for your cat’s particular needs. If you find that your cat is not only shedding excessively but that their coat looks dull and matt too, giving them a supplement with a high omega fatty acid content may help. Fish oil like salmon oil is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, which will not only help with shedding, but improve your kitty’s overall health and well-being too.