There are a lot of benefits you gain with a pet cat, but that constant molting is hardly one of them. Seeing that cat hair on the furniture and floating around in the air can make us quite uncomfortable. Plus, all that hair means a lot of allergy-triggering dander and protein.
Whether it’s for preventing allergies or just to keep the home tidy, controlling your pet cat’s shedding is probably on your list of probiotics. Unless you have a species that doesn’t shed much or has no visible hair at all, you’ve probably given some thought to this issue. While there are several ways to deal with your cat shedding hair, it seems like regular brushing is the most common piece of advice. So should we be brushing our cats daily, weekly, or whenever needed? What kind of brushes or combs should we use? How long should the sessions be? The questions are never ending for a concerned cat lover, so let’s start the discussion below:
Why Brushing Helps to Reduce Shedding
Domestic cats that are kept indoors shed a lot more than strays or outdoor cats. This is because the indoor cat is used to climate-controlled environments. They don’t need their fur to keep warm, so the body keeps shedding it. Even humans shed some hair and skin throughout the day. However, when the shedding (for both humans and cats) becomes excessive, it’s time to take action.
For cats, this means that you need to be alert about regular brushing if your cat is choking on its own hairballs. You may also want to limit the shedding in order to reduce the risk of triggering flare-ups for allergic household members or visitors.
In either case, brushing will help to pull away any loose hair that’s about to shed. You can then dispose of that hair safely instead of sweeping it up from every corner of your home. Regular brushing sessions are hence more convenient, safer, and tidier than natural shedding.
Plus, regular brushing will also improve cat’s blood circulation. This will help to enhance their health, which then leads to less shedding.
Regular Grooming is Best
Brushing your cat should be a part of your regular routine, even if it’s not done daily. See if the coat and skin of your pet are in good condition. A shiny, soft coat and firm, smooth skin are usually indicators of a healthy cat. If your cat doesn’t have these, it might be a good idea to start brushing daily until you get the desired result.
Just Brushing Isn’t Enough
If you want to get your cat to shed less, you might have to make some changes in their diet as well. Just brushing will help to clear away the loose hairs, but you can save some effort and hassle by reducing the shedding in the first place.
Keep in mind that a proper nutritious diet (rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids) will keep the cat’s fur shiny and healthy from the inside. Regular brushing, bathing, and skin care will help to keep the coat strong on the outside. Incidentally, this care will also result in fewer tangles, cleaner hair, and an overall happier cat.
The Frequency of Brushing
The types of coat that your cat has will also determine whether daily brushing is a good idea or not. With selective breeding, we now have several cat species that aren’t so prone to shedding. The Rex and Sphinx breeds are known for shedding very little.
Most other breeds have an undercoat of fine hairs, a smooth exterior coat of guard hairs, and carrying hair length.
If you have a long-haired cat, the chances of tangling are high. You may have to schedule a brushing session almost daily.
If you live in an area with a relatively cool climate and have a cat that stays mostly outdoors, be prepared for at least two heavy shedding cycles a year. These will usually occur in late fall and late spring. The shedding might even contain lumps of hair at times.
Indoor cats, on the other hand, shed their hairs (both the guard coat and the undercoat) all the year round. We’ve already talked about the reason for this, but the takeaway here is that your brushing sessions should reflect the climate and the cat’s habits as well. An indoor cat might not need daily brushing, but you might have to do a daily session with your outdoor cats for about a month at least twice a year.
Cats that have curly, long, or silky hair will probably need daily brushing. This will prevent serious tangles, matting, and other problems that might arise on such a coat. If you have such a cat and are brushing them daily, pay special attention to the back of their legs, their armpits, and around their ears.
A cat with short hair won’t require much brushing, unless it’s a species that sheds a lot.
The Benefits of Brushing
Every cat (except maybe the hairless kinds) will benefit greatly from brushing every now and then. This practice will not just do away with any loose hairs, but also cleanse the skin of dead cells and clear away external parasites, dirt, debris, etc. The natural skin oils will also be properly distributed along the hair shaft, helping to keep the coat shiny and silky.
Daily brushing and combing will also reduce the hair that the cat swallows while grooming itself with its tongue. This will reduce the risk of hairballs. The latter can cause choking, vomiting, and other unwanted occurrences, so it’s best to get them out of the picture if possible.
Yet another benefit of regular brushing is that you don’t have to word about triggering allergies so much. Cat lovers who are allergic to them might have to go for daily brushing or get someone else to do it. This way, they can enjoy their cat without risking their health.
Brushing sessions are also an efficient way of checking the cat’s coat for burrs, tangles, clumps, etc. You can take this time to check the skin as well. Any bruises, parasites, or dryness can then be dealt with in a timely manner.
Finally, regular bruising will hopefully enhance the bond between you and your cat. Make sure you don’t extend the session beyond their comfort zone; if necessary, increase the brushing time in increments. Reward your cat with a treat after the session, and they probably won’t resist the next time.
Types of Brushes and Combs
Different kinds of coats will also require different types of bruises and combs. If your cat has a short coat or a very thin undercoat, a stiff bristle brush will probably be best. Metal combs with long teeth are great for removing loose hair and smoothie out minor tangles in cats with medium or long hair.
Heavy seasonal seeding or small matted patches can also be dealt with by a long-toothed metal comb.
No matter what kind of brush or comb you use, make sure to have a gentle hand while using it on your cat. We may not realize our strength while dealing with a sensitive small animal, so it’s best to stay on the safe side.
If you still think your brushing technique needs improvement, feel free to ask the local vet. They might recommend certain grooming tools or recommend a proper technique that will show results without hurting the cat.
Regularly brushing your cat might be a challenge for some, but the benefits are well worth the hassle. Take some time out and start brushing your cat’s hair daily at first. You can then reduce the frequency once things get under control. This will hopefully be a way of relaxing and de-stressing as well. Once you look at your hair-free home, you’d probably relax even more!