Why Is My Cat Shedding So Much? 8 Possible Causes

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9 min read
9 min read

Updated - May 1st, 2023

“Why is my cat shedding so much?” you might wonder as you find yourself covered in cat hair.

While every cat owner knows that no outfit is truly complete without a bit of cat hair, sometimes, you may find that it’s a bit more than usual.

So, what’s the cause? And when should you be concerned? Let’s dive into some possible reasons for your cat’s excessive shedding. We’ll also discuss cat grooming tips to help you care for your cat’s coat.

Key Points

  • What’s considered a “normal” amount of shedding varies for each cat based on factors such as breed and lifestyle.
  • Common causes of excessive shedding include a poor diet, age, stress, allergies, pregnancy, parasites, ringworm, and metabolic disease.
  • Feeding your cat a balanced, high-quality diet can help manage excessive shedding and maintain a healthy coat.
  • It never hurts to take your cat to the vet if you’re concerned about a suddenly excessive amount of shedding!

Why do cats shed?

Cats shed to remove dead hair and spread natural oils that boost their coat and skin health. Even though they groom themselves for 30% to 50% of their day, shedding removes extra loose hair. Plus, it helps keep skin irritation at bay.

How much do cats normally shed?

All cats shed, however the ‘normal’ amount is unique to each cat. Indoor cats tend to lose hair all year round whereas outdoor cats experience excessive shedding cycles based on their outdoor time. These cycles usually happen once or twice yearly, mainly in the spring or fall.

A cat’s breed also plays a part in determining what’s “normal” for shedding. Long-haired breeds, like Maine Coons and Persians for example, shed way more than the hypoallergenic cat breeds, like the Sphinx or Cornish Rex. Then there are short-haired breeds, like the Scottish Fold or American Shorthair, who fall somewhere in-between when it comes to shedding.

So, if you find yourself asking, “Why is my cat shedding so much?” remember that shedding is a hairy situation for every cat owner. And factors like breed and lifestyle can influence how much fur you’ll find floating around!

Common causes of excessive or increased shedding

Is your cat shedding excessively? Don’t fret! In most cases, excessive shedding isn’t a major concern. In fact, you can easily tackle it with lifestyle changes or a quick visit to the vet.

Let’s explore some common causes of shedding, hair, and skin problems in our feline friends:

Poor diet

One possible reason why your cat could be shedding so much is their diet. To keep your cat’s fur and skin healthy, feed them a balanced diet that contains high-quality protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Also, tailor your cat’s food to support their age and any health issues they could be facing.

A word of caution: overfeeding your cat can lead to obesity, which might hinder grooming. This can result in skin problems like dandruff or matting. Combining regular cat grooming, like brushing, with a weight management diet will ensure your cat’s coat stays fabulous in the long run.


Like obese kitties, your senior cat might struggle to keep up with their grooming routine as they age. The result? More fur flying around, messy hairdos, dandruff, and maybe even hard-to-pass hairballs. Plus, if your cat has arthritis, reaching certain areas to tidy up becomes even more challenging, making skin problems even worse.

If you think this is the case for your kitty, be sure to keep up with regular brushing to remove those loose hair and prevent tangles. And if they let you, an occasional bath won’t hurt! Plus, you can always ask your vet for recommendations on supplements that promote a healthy coat and skin.


When your feline friend feels particularly on edge, they may shed excessively, leaving you wondering “Why is my cat shedding so much hair?” Sometimes, stress may also cause cats to become obsessive lickers, leading to bald patches or irritated skin.

Whether it’s a big change to their environment like moving to a new home or they’re undergoing some health issues, different things can send your kitty’s stress levels through the roof.

Watch out for other cat behavior problems like increased meowing, avoiding the litter box, or changes in appetite. These signs might indicate anxiousness or stress. To help ease their stress, try offering them extra mental stimulation and exercise. You can also talk to your veterinarian about the best solutions for your situation.


Cats can be allergic to various things, including food, bugs, pollen, and even certain products. This leads them to scratch more often, resulting in excessive hair loss. If the scratching intensifies, your cat may even develop red, irritated patches or bald spots.

The good news is you can help prevent this. If your cat suffers from a food allergy, your veterinarian can help you identify the culprit and remove it from their diet. This may involve running a food elimination trial with a hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient food.

Medication, supplements, or allergy testing may be necessary for serious environmental allergies. So if you suspect this is the case – don’t hesitate to see your vet.


Pregnant cats experience hormonal changes, which can lead to an increase in shedding. Typically, these cats will shed more hair around their bellies since it is easier for their kittens to nurse. Generally, once lactation ends, mother cats resume their normal shedding patterns.


Did you know that even shorthaired cats can fall victim to pesky parasites like fleas, lice, and mites? These parasites can wreak havoc on your kitty’s skin, causing hair loss, bald spots, red bumps, and scabs.

If you suspect your cat has picked up these parasites, you need to bring them to your vet ASAP. Your veterinarian can recommend effective treatment options and tell you how to prevent future infestations.


Yes, ringworm affects cats, too! This fungal infection spreads through contact with an infected animal or contaminated objects like brushes and bedding.

If your cat has ringworm, you might notice round, scaly patches of skin with hair loss. You can bring your cat to your veterinarian to know for sure, and if a case is confirmed, they may prescribe topical creams and oral anti-fungal medication. In some cases, your vet might recommend shaving the affected areas so the medication can penetrate the skin effectively.

Metabolic diseases

Ever wonder why your cat’s coat isn’t as sleek and shiny as it used to be? Well, metabolic diseases like hyperthyroidism and kidney disease could be the reason.

Hyperthyroidism occurs when a cat’s thyroid gland becomes overactive, producing excessive thyroid hormone. Kidney disease, on the other hand, is when a cat’s kidneys function inadequately.

Both diseases can cause hair loss, matted fur, or a greasy and unkempt coat. Autoimmune disorders like lupus can also contribute to excessive shedding and dandruff.

Luckily, you can manage these cat diseases with the right treatment plan. Although there’s no cure, catching these health problems early and starting treatment can help your kitty stay in tip-top shape. So, if you’re worried this might be the case for your cat, don’t wait – book a vet appointment today!

Pro Tip: Any responsible pet owner should seriously consider pet insurance. Properly understanding how pet insurance works and what pet insurance covers can help you make an informed decision about your pet’s health needs and plan your finances accordingly!

How to tell if your cat shedding too much

If your cat is shedding hair all year, you might ask yourself, “How much shedding is too much?” Unfortunately, there’s no quick way to determine if your cat’s hair loss has become excessive. But as your feline’s number one fan, trust your instincts! If their shedding patterns seem off or they’re losing more hair than usual, it’s time to look into possible causes.

Pay attention to signs like overgrooming, thinning coats, bald spots, or skin redness. These can all indicate that your cat may be experiencing a health issue. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian. Discuss any changes in shedding or skin problems you’ve noticed to help them get to the bottom of it.

How to reduce shedding and keep your cat’s coat healthy

While you can’t completely avoid your cat’s shedding, there are strategies you can use to keep it under control, as well as help your cat’s skin and coat stay clean and healthy:

Apply recommended flea, tick, and parasite prevention

Even if you have an indoor cat, these preventative methods can help prevent pests that get inside your home or travel from pet to pet.

Brush your cat regularly

Brushing regularly can help remove excess dead fur and hair. Use the right cat brush for your cat’s fur and check for tangles, mats, or knots. Brush more often during the shedding season. Also, use a grooming rake to effectively remove dead hair. 

Give your cat extra help if they need it

Once again, older or overweight cats may need extra help with grooming, which may mean a bath now and then. Some cats with difficult mats or thick fur may also benefit from visiting an expert groomer.

Clean up your cat’s hair frequently

Vacuuming or sweeping up excess hair can help you and your pets avoid allergens. It can also help prevent pests from sticking around.

Take your cat to the vet for yearly or bi-annual check-ups

Taking your cat to the vet regularly can help prevent health issues before they develop. Feel free to talk to your vet about cat shedding, skin irritation, or any other concerns you might have.

Feed your cat a balanced, high-quality diet 

Providing your cat with a balanced diet is crucial for their health and well-being. Nutrient-rich meals not only ensure proper growth and maintenance, but they also contribute to a shiny coat and reduced shedding.

Consider pet insurance

Skin issues that need veterinary care can be expensive! Pet insurance can help you afford the best care when unexpected vet bills. See how Pumpkin Cat Insurance plans can help you pay for covered accidents and illnesses.

So, why is my cat shedding so much?

From diet mishaps to stress, there are many reasons your cat could be shedding an excessive amount. Keep a keen eye on your furry friend’s behavior and shedding patterns to spot any red flags. With a high-quality diet, consistent grooming, and preventive check-ups, you can stay ahead of excessive shedding and any health issues that come with it.


What months do cats shed the most?

Cats tend to shed the most during spring and fall as they transition between their summer and winter coats. However, indoor cats may shed more evenly throughout the year due to artificial lighting and climate control.

Why is my cat shedding more than usual?

If your cat is shedding more than usual, it could be due to stress, dietary imbalances, health issues, or seasonal changes. To pinpoint the cause, monitor their behavior, grooming habits, and overall health, and consult your veterinarian if needed.

How can I tell if my cat is stressed?

To determine whether or not your cat is stressed, watch for excessive grooming and appetite changes. Litter box avoidance, aggression, or excessive vocalization are also signs of stress. If you notice these behaviors, address potential stressors and consult your vet for help.

How can I stop my cat from shedding so much fur?

To reduce your cat’s shedding, maintain a balanced diet, groom them with a suitable brush, and when in doubt, consult your vet.

Randa Kriss

Randa Kriss

Writer, Proud Dog & Cat Mom
Randa is a writer & former assoc. digital content editor at the American Kennel Club. She's also mom to 1 Corgi & 2 orange cats.
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