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Why Is My Cat Shedding All of a Sudden? 8 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Kit Copson

Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Persian cat and a pile of shedded cat hair

Why Is My Cat Shedding All of a Sudden? 8 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

VET APPROVED

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Vet, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

When it seems like your cat’s fur is coming out in clumps or you’re finding little fluffy tumbleweeds everywhere all of a sudden, it can be worrisome. In most cases, shedding is just part of being a cat. It’s a natural process—especially when the weather starts to get warmer—that helps them get rid of dead hair and grow new, healthy hair in its place.

That said, in some cases, shedding is caused by something abnormal, like a medical condition, poor diet, or stress. A check-up at the vet is advised if the shedding is combined with other signs. In this post, we’ll explore eight possible reasons why your cat may be shedding like crazy all of a sudden.

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The 8 Possible Reasons Your Cat Is Shedding All of a Sudden

1. It’s Shedding Season

hand holding shedded cat hair
Image Credit: Doucefleur, Shutterstock

Cats typically shed in spring and fall, and though it may seem like they’re losing a huge amount of fur, seasonal shedding is nothing to be concerned about. Shedding takes place in spring to thin out the winter coat and prepare your cat for the hot summer weather. Fall shedding helps get your cat ready to grow a new, thick winter coat.

You can give your cat (and your overworked vacuum) a helping hand in shedding season by brushing them regularly to loosen dead hairs and get rid of them faster.


2. You’ve Got a Heavy-Shedding Breed

Though all cats shed to some extent, some breeds are heavier shedders. Ragdolls, Maine Coons, and American Bobtails make up a few of the heaviest-shedding cat breeds. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for these types of cats to shed even larger clumps of hair than other breeds.


3. Your Cat Is Stressed Out

Stress and anxiety can cause your cat to shed more than usual. In addition, stressed and anxious cats sometimes over groom as a way to soothe themselves, so if your cat is losing more hair than usual or you spot bald patches, this might be the cause.

Other signs of anxiety to watch out for are generally poor coat condition, odd bathroom habits like urinating outside the box, diarrhea, vomiting, hiding, or asking for more attention.


4. Your Cat Has Allergies

white cat shedding
Image Credit: DreamBig, Shutterstock

Skin allergies are another reason why your cat might be shedding all of a sudden. Discomfort, itchiness, hair loss, scabbing, and sores are other giveaway signs of an allergic skin disease. Skin allergies can be caused by several things, including irritants inside or outside of the house, reacting badly to a certain type of food, and being allergic to or getting bitten by fleas.


5. Your Cat Is a Senior

Older cats can be a little more lax than they used to be when it comes to grooming themselves. In most cases, it’s because it’s more difficult for them to do so. This can result in a build-up of dead fur and matting if they’re not brushed regularly. Get your vet to give them a check-over in case there are signs of arthritis or dental problems.


6. Your Cat Has a Medical Condition

Certain medical conditions like hyperthyroidism and parasites can cause cats to lose a lot more hair than usual. Alopecia can be caused by a variety of factors, including overgrooming due to stress and skin conditions. Specific skin conditions that may exacerbate hair loss are scabies, ringworm, and feline eosinophilic granuloma complex.

There are a lot of medical conditions that have the potential to cause excessive hair loss, so always check with your vet if you suspect a health issue is at play.


7. Your Cat’s Diet Is Poor

American shorthair cat eating at home
Image Credit: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock

Poor nutrition is also a cause of excessive hair loss in cats. If your cat doesn’t eat a quality balanced and complete diet with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, it can affect their coat and skin condition drastically. Certain nutritional deficiencies, such as zinc deficiency, can also cause hair loss.


8. Kittens Are on the Way

It’s not uncommon for pregnant cats to shed more due to hormone changes. This can also happen when they’re nursing or just after they’ve given birth. We recommend having a chat with your vet to find out how you can make sure your pregnant cat is eating the right foods to support healthy skin and coat.

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Final Thoughts

To sum up, shedding is a natural occurrence in every cat, but some cats shed more than others for various reasons. Sometimes, it’s down to their breed and having an undercoat to shed, whereas in other cases, a health condition, like allergies, alopecia, or a skin infection, may be causing hair loss.

If your cat is shedding to the point where it’s starting to worry you or you’ve noticed bald patches or excessive grooming of late, talk to your vet to make sure your cat isn’t suffering from anxiety or another health issue.


Featured Image Credit By: DreamBig, Shutterstock

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