Cat owners, you know the struggle: cat fur gets absolutely everywhere. (Unless you have a hairless cat, in which case you have a whole different set of issues to deal with). The pesky fluff gets all over your furniture, becomes one with the carpet, and hitches a ride to work with you on your clothes. What can you do about all that cat fur?
Why cats shed
The first step is understanding why your cat is shedding. Cats naturally shed every day, in the same way you probably leave some hairs in the drain after a shower. How much cats shed depends on a number of factors, including age, season, diet, and even whether they're an indoor or outdoor cat. To control the shedding, you'll need to become one with the shedding.. or at least understand it:
- Cats shed to remove dead hair and skin from their bodies, and to exchange "winter coats" for summer ones.
- Outdoor cats shed more during the spring and fall seasons, while indoor cats shed all year long.
- A proper balanced diet can limit shedding to manageable levels.
- Cats shed whether they have long or short fur, but some breeds shed less than others. The cornish and devon rex, in particular, don't shed as much as other cats (and, of course, the sphynx doesn't shed at all).
So shedding is a normal part of life that you'll just have to learn to live with! (But you already knew that, didn't you?)
Is your cat shedding too much?
Excessive shedding may be a sign of a health problem. If your cat has bald or thinning spots, scratches or bites himself a lot, or has red or inflamed looking areas on his skin, have your vet check him out for potential health issues. Many things can cause excessive shedding, including allergies, hormonal imbalance, ringworm, stress, and more. Always take your cat to the vet if you suspect something is wrong!
How to deal with cat fur
The best way to remove shed cat hair (or at least reduce it) is with a two-pronged attack: get to it before it leaves your cat's body, and clean up any stragglers that manage to escape. Here's how:
Groom your cat regularly. You'll be keeping your cat's skin healthy, and catching the fur before it hits your couch. Different brushes work for different types of fur, so experiment until you find the perfect one. You can even use some pet brushes on your furniture to get the excess fur out.
Make sure your cat's diet is right for him. Work with your vet to improve your cat's diet if you feel he's shedding too much (the cat, that is, not your vet).
Reduce static. Static causes cat fur to stick to things. You can make a simple homemade anti-static spray with about a tablespoon of fabric softener mixed into a cup of water, poured into a spray bottle. You can spray this around the house regularly, focusing on spots and items that build static charges, or pour some on a cloth and wipe down surfaces. As an added bonus, it smells nice!
Clean and vacuum regularly. Use a microfiber or other static cleaning cloth or mop for floors, and a strong vacuum on rugs and other soft surfaces. If your cat lets you, you can even try putting a thin sock or stocking over the vacuum hose and use that directly on your cat (always take caution and do not do anything that might endanger your cat!!) It may seem like a weird idea, but there are even pet grooming attachments sold for vacuums. What, don't you see your cat as a very small, very shaggy little mobile carpet?
Use a rubber glove. Lint brushes work well for smaller surfaces like your pants, but how can you get the fur out of carpets and couches? Put on a rubber glove (moisten it for best effects) and rub the fur out. It works like a charm!
Use the laundry. If you have access to your own dryer, you can use it to dislodge stubborn hairs on clothes. Just throw the affected clothes into the dryer with a dryer sheet for 10 minutes.
If none of that works, you can always just accept the cat fur into your life, and incorporate it into your hobbies. Cat fur finger puppets, anyone?
- by Yuliya