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Cat tales: Too much fur

September 15, 2012

It gives my human such joy and comfort to cuddle up with me, and cuddle and snuggle. Okay, I admit I love it too, especially when my belly is full of some tuna and I finished grooming myself. I roll on my favourite spot on the couch and she comes to sit beside my and strokes my belly, massages behind my ears and softly touches the velvety bridge of my nose. Purrrr… I go and when I start purring it makes her so happy to have and own a happy kitty.

But when I roll over to the other side, sometimes all that hugging and loving comes to a sudden and sad end when she sees that my hair is stuck to the couch. Oops… it means I am shedding. I hate it when she hates it that my fur winds up on her clothes and all over her sofa?

Why do cats shed? Well, it’s just a normal part of life. All animals must shed their hair... even humans.

Cats with more hair like Persians, long-haired Americans and Burmese or Balinese do not shed more than Siamese or Tonkinese who have shorter fur. The fact is that shorthaired cats shed just as much as long-haired cats. Shorter hair is just less noticeable until someone sits on the sofa!

Here’s a cat fact for you — cat shedding is largely influenced by daylight. The shedding process is triggered by the number of hours your cat is exposed to sunlight each day, which is called the photoperiod.

In outdoor cats, shedding is more noticeable during the spring and fall. Indoor cats shed more consistently throughout the year but in lesser amounts as the amount of indoor artificial light generally stays the same.

Cat’s shedding cycle has three periods. First, the active growth period or anagen. This is when the hair follicle or root begins to grow. The middle period is transition or catagen. This is when active hair growth ends. The third and last is rest, or telogen. This is when dead hair falls out, or ‘sheds’.

Once a cat’s hair begins growing, it’s only a matter of time before the shedding begins. Did you know that in the winter months, we cats tend to have heavier coats to protect us from the cold weather? When we fall sick, we lose fur because of lack of nutrition.

Regular grooming helps, but cats still shed regardless of how well they are groomed.

Shedding can be annoying, and it’s an even bigger problem if someone in the family is allergic. Cat hair and dander are filled with allergens that can trigger allergic reactions. And the more the cat sheds, the more severe the reaction.

The only way round this problem is regular grooming and vacuuming of the places the cat like to sit or play. A small vacuum that people use to clean their cars comes in very handy. Other than that, a tip is to moisten your hands with water and with one long stroke, rub them down the cat’s back gently. Remember this should not make the cat wet, but just slightly damp so that the fur becomes less fly-away.

Water-less shampoos are a simple and easy way to keep us cats clean. After weekly grooming, hold your cat comfortably by placing a hand under the forelegs. Make sure the hind legs supported on a surface or your lap. Gently spray the shampoo on the cat’s fur for dampening effect. Put the shampoo spray down and with both hands, or just one, pat and stoke the cat gently. This will keep your cat, clean, nice smelling and will stop fur and dander from flying everywhere.

Happy kitty means a happy, healthy family, and a happy you… meow!