“Domestic shorthair” is a rather vague term. It doesn’t refer to a specific breed, like Oriental Shorthair or British Shorthair. Instead, it’s more of a blanket term covering any cat with short hair and no known pedigree. Some domestic shorthairs are simply mixed-breed moggies. Others may be crossed with recognisable breeds like the Siamese or the British Shorthair. Domestic shorthair cats can have virtually any pattern, any colouration, and any temperament. They can be large or small, or any size in between. They may also shed more or less fur depending on the cat.
Do domestic shorthair cats shed a lot? Not really, although it depends on the individual cat. All cats shed. It’s fair to say that domestic shorthairs probably shed less than longhaired cats, and less than some other shorthaired breeds like the Exotic Shorthair. You can reduce shedding by brushing a cat’s fur from time to time.
You’ve arrived on this page because you have questions about domestic shorthairs and shedding. Do domestic shorthair cats shed more than other cats? Is shedding a sign of some problem with the cat’s health? Which breeds of cat shed the most? Does shedding worsen cat allergies? How can I stop my cat from shedding on the furniture? What can I do if my cat is losing fur? In this article, I’ll be talking about domestic shorthair cats and shedding. I’ll explain why cats shed and what to do if your cat seems to be shedding more than usual.
Do Domestic Shorthair Cats Shed a Lot?
“A lot” depends on your point of view. If you’re accustomed to cats, then a little loose hair isn’t going to faze you. On the other hand, if you’re a house-proud person who’s just learning to live with their first cat, you may be shocked by the amount of hair that your cat leaves on the furniture and your clothes.
Shedding is completely normal for cats. Their coats have a hair growth cycle, with older hairs falling out to be replaced with new hairs over time. The old hairs then drop from the cat’s coat, or are ingested during self-grooming.
Domestic shorthairs aren’t a specific breed, so their characteristics can vary quite a lot. A domestic shorthair with a particularly dense coat might shed more than one with a less dense coat. They’ll both shed less than a longhaired cat, such as a Persian. Cats shed more at certain times of the year. They grow thicker fur in the winter, and lose it again in the spring; this is a period that most cat owners dread a little, since it means a lot more loose hair.
Once you’ve owned your cat for a while, you’ll learn what’s normal for them and what’s a sign that something’s not quite right. Additional shedding may simply be a response to the changing seasons; sometimes, though, a cat may lose hair for other reasons. Skin irritations and infections can cause hair loss, especially if your cat scratches them. Parasites such as fleas will make your cat itchy, causing her to scratch more and pull out more fur. These conditions need to be addressed.
Another possibility is poor nutrition. If you’re feeding your cat a healthy diet of quality high-protein cat food with minimal treats or snacks, her coat should be sleek and well-cared-for. If her coat looks thin, it could be a sign that she’s not eating enough or has an internal issue that’s preventing her from absorbing nutrients from her food.
Cats can also shed more fur if they suffer from a condition called psychogenic alopecia. This is usually caused by stress or anxiety. A cat with emotional problems may begin grooming or scratching obsessively, to the point where bald spots start to form in the coat. If you notice this kind of issue with your cat, have your vet check her out.
Reducing Shedding in Domestic Shorthairs
While you’ll never prevent shedding entirely, you can cut down the amount of hair your cat leaves on the furniture by brushing her regularly. Most shorthaired cats don’t have issues with matting or tangles unless they have mobility problems or other issues. Even so, it can be beneficial to brush or comb their coats every week or so. Removing the loose hair before it can fall away will stop it from ending up on your clothes, furniture and carpets. It also reduces the amount of hair your cat ingests when licking herself. Swallowed hair is what causes hairballs in cats, so reducing the amount of hair your cat ingests will help prevent these from forming.
I find that most cats get along just fine with a simple metal comb. If your domestic shorthair really objects, though, you may need to try different tools. There are pet vacuums that literally suck up loose fur, but some cats really hate the noise they make. Picky cats may prefer a rubber brush or a grooming mitt instead of a comb. At the very least, most cats will allow you to run a very slightly damp towel over their bodies to pick up shed fur.
I like to give my cats a good all-over combing at least every ten days or so. It’s a good opportunity to give them a once-over for signs of infestation by pests, as well as any signs of injury. Cats can easily strain or sprain joints by jumping from high spots, and they’re masters at hiding the damage from you. You should also take the opportunity to peek into her ears for mites or infections, check her eyes for inflammation, and look under her tail for any sign of worms.
Should I Bathe My Domestic Shorthair?
Some people advocate for bathing your cat regularly as a way to cut down shedding. The argument is that you can wash away the loose fur more effectively than you can remove it with a dry comb.
In general, I prefer to avoid baths for cats unless they’re intensely water-obsessed. Bathing cats can strip away the protective oils from their fur and skin. While the initial effect might be to reduce shed hair, repeated washing can irritate a cat’s skin. This can cause more fur to be shed, worsening the situation. Irritation may also trigger excessive scratching, which loosens even more fur, and can set your cat up for long-term skin problems.
Some of my cats really enjoy water. I let them play in the bath occasionally, but only in lukewarm water with no soaps or shampoos. Even pet-safe shampoos can cause irritation if used too often. Generally speaking, I only bathe my cats if they have cot something in their fur that they shouldn’t try to clean off themselves. I also bathe some of my heavier shedders once or twice during the spring, when their annual moult can cause a significant build-up of hair.
Shedding and Allergies
Some people assume that loose cat hair is responsible for their cat allergies. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite right. The substance that causes reactions to cat hair is a protein called Fel d1, which all cats have in their saliva and dander. Getting rid of visible cat hair might reduce the amount of allergens in your environment a little, but it won’t solve the problem. Hair just helps to spread the allergen — it’s not the main source.
If you have a cat allergy, invest in an air purifier to remove particles of hair or dander that might be carrying Fel d1. You can cut the amount of allergens in the air around you still further by switching your conventional vacuum cleaner for one with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter. The filter keeps fine particles of dust in the drum of the vacuum cleaner. Most vacuum cleaners expel a cloud of particles as you work, sending them up into the air so that you end up breathing them in.
Regular grooming can also help here, too. If you remove loose hair and dander from your cat’s coat by combing it, there’s less to float around and trigger your allergies. Domestic shorthairs, unfortunately, aren’t low-allergy pets.