Before actually finding and buying a kitten I’ve spent countless hours doing the research about my future British shorthair cat. Tidiness is very important for me, so there should be no surprise that this was one of my questions.
Do British Shorthair cats shed a lot? No, British Shorthairs shed very little when compared with other healthy indoor cats of this size. British Shorthair’s coat does not have an undercoat which makes the texture very pushy and reduces shedding significantly.
So we know that British Shorthairs will shed a little, and this is natural, but what to do to minimise this, or at least the visual effect of it? Let’s start from the beginning…
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Why do British Shorthair cats shed fur?
Your cat’s fur will follow the seasonality of nature (even if kept indoors only). He will develop much thicker coat during the winter months and lose a bit of it during the warmer months and summer. This is a natural mechanism that for the outdoor cats can make all the difference between dying and staying alive.
Based on the above and because Frank (my British Shorthair) is spending the majority of the time indoors; I will be able to control (reduce) shedding by the thermostat. WRONG – British Shorthair and any cat for that matter will develop his fur based on the amount of the daylight available, not the temperature! So, when at the beginning of autumn the amount of the daylight is lower and lower, my Frank will grow his fur thicker and thicker, then is spring, the whole process will reverse.
Because British Shorthair is a predominantly an indoor cat, exposed quite a lot to artificial light, this process will be less drastic, and he will shed evenly throughout the year. If you want to find out if a British Shorthair is suitable as an indoor cat check this article: Are British Shorthairs Good Indoor Cats?
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There are 5 steps that you can take today and reduce shedding:
Make sure it’s not a health-related issue.
As a good cat owner, you should visit the vet regularly, and this would be a great time to make sure that your British Shorthair is healthy and excessive shedding is not caused by any health issues. You can also look for any dry or bald patches in the fur, these are usually caused by parasites, allergies, dermatitis, or stress-related over-grooming. If that’s the case, you should take your cat to the vet immediately and start the treatment; otherwise, you are seriously risking the health of your cat – skin diseases will worsen quickly, so every day counts.
Follow the right Diet
The coat of your furry friend is an accurate reflection of his diet. So what he eats (or doesn’t) will definitely impact the shedding process. Make sure that you feed him only a quality food that is rich in both: Omega 3 and Omega 6. Lack of these fatty acids can cause hair loss, dry coat or even skin infections. Luckily once you start a healthy diet, the problems should go away quite quickly. If you still notice excessive shedding even after improving the nutrition, I would suggest visiting your vet.
Unfortunately, the quality of the cat food will be usually reflected in the price so you can expect better food to be more expensive. You can try to home cook, but from experience, I can say that this is actually more difficult than it sounds (at least for me)… You would have to follow very strict recipes to make sure that you will provide your cat with all the necessary nutrition, I would suggest this option only for those who can cook, and have time to do so. Me… I will stick with ready to eat quality food that can be delivered directly to my door:)
Also, pay attention to the ratio of dry /wet food as the quality of the fur will be closely related to hydration (wet food contains about 9 times more water than dry food).
Weekly brushing and grooming
Start brushing your British Shorthair every week and after a while, you will notice that with each brushing there is less and less hair. This process will help your cat to get rid of the dead hair regularly. To help you (or rather the cat) even more, I would suggest using the following tools at least once a week:
- Mat removing tools – you can remove any tangled hair without irritating the skin.
- Slicker brushes – will help you to add some shine and remove any mat residue.
- Desheding tools – remove dead hair.
Bath (only for the brave) or day to day wipe
In the ideal world, you would like to bath your cat once a month – this would allow you to remove any dirt or dead hair. However, we all know how British Shorthair “love” the water and bathing. This is Frank after his bath – not a happy bunny! In this case, you can use special (cat-friendly) wipe towels – this will make the whole experience much less stressful for the cat and definitely less messy for you. However, if you are thinking of bath (you are so brave:), please remember to keep your British Shorthair indoors for at least 4-6 hours after the shower. Any sudden change in the temperature, while the fur is still wet can really affect the health of your cat… Better safe than sorry I say.
How to keep it clean
We have now established that British Shorthair cats will shed, still less than other breeds but they will. Despite your best efforts, great diet, exciting baths, you will still have to deal with the cat hair in your home. There is no point to overcomplicate this as you can get rid of the hair quite quickly.
I have two tested ways of dealing with it.
- Use a wet towel – this will allow you to pick up most of the hair form almost any surface and clean it at the same time. If you do it regularly, you will never notice that your British Shorthair is shedding. A wet towel will work great with any large areas like sofas, chairs, or even the carpets…and everything that you can use a damp cloth on (I wouldn’t use it on electronics though…)
- Get a lint roller – this would work for all the narrow and more fragile spaces. Definitely great for removing cat hair from your clothes and electronic equipment.
Related questions you might have:
Are British shorthair cats hypoallergenic?
Yes, British Shorthair cats are classed as hypoallergenic. However what is important is that having hypoallergic cat will not eliminate all the risks of allergy. Different people react to different things and if you are already suffering from allergy, make sure you know your triggers before deciding on the breed of the cat. Look out for the next article about allergies, where I will try to give you a comprehensive understanding of the issue.
Which breed of cat sheds the least?
If you are looking for a cat that will shed the least, then I would suggest having a closer leek at following breeds:
- Japanese Bobtail
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- British Shorthair
Which cat breeds shed the most?
While on the subject of shedding – let’s also have a look at the most shedding cats out there:
- American Bobtail Cats
- American Curl Cats
- Chartreux Cats
- Cymric Cats
- Nebelung Cats
- Ragamuffin Cats
- Ragdoll Cats
- Russian Blue Cats
When I look back, I can say now that shedding was one of the most important factors when selecting my first cat. And I need to tell you that I’m so glad that I’ve decided on British Shorthair. This is a perfect indoor cat for busy people, but also a great addition to a family. Great personality, easy to groom and maintain, furniture-friendly and absolutely fine when left alone for short periods of time – this is indeed a cat of 21 century.