Unless you opt for a completely hairless breed, dealing with loose fur is just part of being a cat owner. Your cat, whatever it’s breed, is going to shed. You can reduce shedding somewhat through grooming, but it won’t go away completely. This is as true for American Shorthairs as it is for other cats. Because they are shorthaired cats, the shedding issue isn’t too bad. Their thick, soft coats will inevitably shed a little fur here and there, with shedding becoming more of an issue in the spring than the rest of the year.
Do American Shorthairs shed? Yes, they do — although shedding is less of a problem than it is for some longer-haired breeds. There are steps you can take to reduce shedding but you can’t prevent it completely. You can reduce the amount of cat hair in your environment with air purifiers and thorough vacuuming.
You’re on this page because you have questions about American Shorthairs and shedding. Do American Shorthairs shed fur? Do they shed less than other cats? How can you reduce shedding in American Shorthairs? What makes shedding worse? Can you stop cats from shedding? Which breeds shed the least fur? Does shedding worsen cat allergies? Is my cat shedding too much fur? Keep reading, because we have the answers you’re looking for. Find out all about why cats shed, what makes shedding worse, and what you can do about it.
Do American Shorthairs Shed?
Yes. Like any other breed, American Shorthairs do shed fur. As a cat’s coat grows, some of the hairs fall out and are replaced by new ones. These loose hairs are then shed, either falling away or being ingested by the cat during self-grooming.
American Shorthairs shed less fur than longhaired breeds, and even less than some shorthaired breeds. For example, my British Shorthair seems to produce far more loose hair than my American Shorthair. A British shorthair has an unusually dense coat, so this isn’t really a surprise.
While shedding can be a bit of a nuisance, it is part and parcel of being a cat owner. I recommend that you make peace with shed fur as much as you can. Cats (with the exception of the sphinx) are fuzzy little beasts, and that is part of their charm.
American Shorthairs have thick, dense coats with a luxurious softness. They can be a wide variety of colours and patterns. Their short coats don’t need an enormous amount of care. I have seen matting only in older cats with reduced mobility. Even so, it’s a good idea to brush or comb an American Shorthair’s coat from time to time.
Besides admittedly looking untidy, many people assume that cat hair is the source of cat allergies. While this isn’t precisely accurate, reducing loose cat hair can help to cut down allergy symptoms. When cat allergies are present, the actual cause is a protein called Fel d1. This is present in feline saliva and dander, and may therefore be transferred to their fur. Thus, having loose cat hair around can increase the overall amount of allergens in the home environment.
Reducing Shedding in American Shorthair Cats
Your American Shorthair is an easy-to-care-for cat. Unlike cats with longer or denser coats, weekly grooming sessions are not absolutely essential. Even so, I recommend grooming your American Shorthair’s coat at least every other week. This can be a quick job, since your cat is unlikely to have patches of matted hair that might require extensive de-tangling. Just give your cat a quick all-over brushing to get rid of loose hair.
During the winter, your American Shorthair’s coat will become thicker and a little longer. This will help to keep your cat nice and warm during the winter months. During the spring, however, the warm weather will trigger your cat’s winter coat to fall out. It’s a good idea to increase the number of grooming sessions until the summer coat is established.
Grooming your cat allows you to collect up most of the loose hair before it gets all over your clothes and furnishings. It also stops your cat from swallowing fur during self-grooming sessions. This, in turn, means that your cat will develop fewer hairballs — always a relief, both for the cat and for you.
Some people try to reduce shedding by washing their cats. I strongly recommend against this. A cat’s skin is very sensitive, with a delicate balance of oils that can easily be disrupted. Bathing cats also strips away some of the nutrients they get from licking their fur; a cat’s skin produces certain vitamins that the cat then picks up during normal grooming. Without these, your cat’s health may be impacted.
Another consequence of washing your cat is, ironically, more shedding. Even the best of cat shampoos can cause irritation, which will tend to increase shedding. Bathing should be reserved for situations when your cat’s fur is heavily soiled, or contaminated with substances that might be harmful if licked off.
Between grooming sessions, you can cut down loose hair by giving your cat a quick wipe with a clean towel that is just barely damp. This will pick up hair before it can end up on your carpets or clothes.
Why is My American Shorthair Shedding So Much?
We’ve already looked at the chief reason for additional hair shedding, which is your cat’s springtime moult. There are a few other things which can cause additional shedding.
If your American Shorthair cat seems to be losing more hair than usual, there may be an underlying problem. Skin irritations from contact with allergenic substances, from infestations by pests such as mites or fleas, and from infections — all of these can cause extra hair loss. When you’re grooming your cat, check for red or broken skin. If you notice black flecks in among the fur, this can be a sign of fleas. Check your cat’s ears for mites, which can cause scratching and thus lost fur.
Some cats may also develop a condition called psychogenic alopecia. This occurs when cats scratch or lick at their fur to an unhealthy degree. This can cause additional shedding and may even result in bald spots. I’d be surprised to see this disorder in an American Shorthair, as they tend to be very level-headed. It might occur in unusually stressful situations, however. You might also see obsessive grooming in injured cats, or senior cats who are starting to become confused and disoriented. Treating the underlying condition will resolve the hair loss and allow your pet to recover.
Will Cat Hair Make My Allergies Worse?
Not exactly. The allergenic protein, Fel d1, isn’t only present in your cat’s fur. It’s secreted by their salivary glands and present in flakes of their dead skin. Naturally, Fel d1 is transferred to the cat’s hair when the cat licks herself, so it may be carried around by loose hairs.
Removing cat hair from your environment can help somewhat with allergies, but it won’t solve all your problems. Many people dutifully set to work with a vacuum cleaner and lint roller, getting rid of every visible hair, and still find themselves suffering from cat allergies. This is because a lint roller can’t get all the allergenic material, while most vacuum cleaners actually make the situation worse.
They may pick up the hair, but then they blow Fel d1-laden dust out of their exhausts where you can breathe it back in. If you’ve ever wondered why your allergies are worse after vacuuming, this is why.
The solution is to get a better vacuum. If you want to enjoy the company of your American Shorthair and you suffer from cat allergies, a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter is a must. This will suck up fine particles as well as obvious loose hair, and will also trap the dust and debris inside the vacuum cleaner so you can’t breathe it in. That and a course of antihistamines may well be the end of your allergy issues.