Like people, cats shed their hair. Some cats shed a lot more and create endless work for their loving pet parents. The more cats there are in a home, the more likely a pet parent is to have a permanent layer of cat hair on every surface. Cats shed for a variety of reasons though. Some cat breeds shed less than others. Which cat breeds shed the least? While breed plays some role, underlying health is also very important. Some grooming routines and supplements can help pet parents minimize shedding for those on the medium to higher end of the shedding spectrum.
Why Cats Shed
It's a fact: cats shed. But is there more to why that cat parents should be looking to understand before simply breeding traits? Shedding is a normal process that gets rid of dead, matted, or otherwise unhealthy hair and replaces it with higher-quality hair. Regular shedding improves cat coat health and keeps the hairs shiny and even.
Cats might also shed more frequently because of underlying nutritional or health issues. If they don't get the proper diet with high-quality proteins and fats like omega-3s and omega-6s, their coat can lose its luster and the hairs can drop out more than normal. Cat coat supplements or probiotics for cats can help here. Health issues like parasites, medication side effects, infections, or stress can also contribute to hair loss in cats.
Pet parents raising a kitten can get their cat off to a healthy start with the right diet and grooming routine that keeps hair shedding at bay.
Most cats shed a lot as the season transitions from winter to spring regardless of whether they are an indoor, outdoor, or indoor/outdoor cat. While they grew a thicker coat for winter warmth, come spring time they no longer need the extra layer. Most longhaired breeds, though, tend to shed consistently regardless of temperature or time of year.
Cats and Allergies: Do Hypoallergenic Cats Exist?
Unfortunately, true hypoallergenic cats don't exist. This is because the allergies some people have to cats don't come from the hair. They come from a protein called Fel d1 found naturally in a cat's skin and saliva.
When cats shed dead skin cells, their protein-containing dander can travel around the home. When cats groom themselves, they transfer the protein in their saliva to their hair, which sheds and follows the same pattern.
Some cats produce less of this protein, whether they're from different breeds or even within the same breed. Also, males often produce more Fel d1 than females. What about hair length? Short-haired breeds often have less Fel d1 in their hair simply because their shorter hair doesn't trap as much saliva. However, cats are unique animals, so naturally some of them break these rules.
Low-Shedding Cat Breeds
The good news is there are cat breeds that shed far less than other breeds. Some might shed so infrequently that pet parents barely notice the fine strands.
1. Cornish Rex
This cat has only a curly, wooly-looking undercoat with short hairs that don't shed much.
2. Devon Rex
Related to the Cornish, the Devon Rex has a thin undercoat with a curly pattern. Their hairs are even shorter than the Cornish Rex.
The LaPerm has short to medium-length hair, but the hairs have a strong curl or corkscrew pattern and don't shed easily.
4. Russian Blue
This breed has hair that comes in at a 45 degree angle and sheds only once or twice a year.
Bengal cats have a silky coat that resembles large wild cats like leopards, and their close-lying hair has minimal shed as well.
The Bombay has short, black hair with a silky texture and minimal shedding.
Although the Birman is a longhaired breed, they lack the undercoat and therefore have non-matting fur that sheds very little.
Although resembling the point coloration of the Birman, the Siamese cat has much shorter, extremely fine hair with minimal shedding.
Also called the Oriental longhair, the Javanese has only the top coat of hair. The lack of the undercoat helps this breed shed much less.
Burmese cats have extremely silky coats with short, finely textured hair. This fine hair has such minimal shedding that pet parents may never notice.
There are numerous breeds of hairless cat, but the Sphynx is the most popular. This breed has no hair but sometimes has a slight peach-fuzz layer. Some Sphynx cats have naked skin. Lacking hair ensures pet parents never need to get out the lint roller, but will be required to bathe and sunscreen their cats more frequently as oil buildup is a greater concern than shedding.
Other hairless breeds include the Bambino, Donskoy, Elf, Ukranian Levkoy, and Peterbald.
What To Do About Excessive Shedding
Cat parents worried about their cat's excessive shedding should set up a consultation with a vet to ask about their cat’s coat health. Shedding too much hair could be a sign of a potential health issue like malnourishment, infection, skin infestation, or allergic reaction that may get better with prompt treatment.
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From kitten 101 and mature cat care advice, to suggestions on the best low-shedding breed, expert Fuzzy vets are always ready and online with 24/7 vet chat for members. Sign up today to get full life coverage to keep the cats of the house healthy and happy. Fuzzy vets can put together a comprehensive care plan to give them the happy, tail-flicking lives all cats deserve.