1. Note that long haired cats and short haired cats both shed. You will notice long hairs more, but typically short haired cats have more over all hair loss.
2. Cats who are stressed shed considerably more than a relaxed cat. As such you may notice cats in the SPCA, or animal shelter, shed a lot when you pat them. The same cat, in a happy home, may shed less.
3. Feeding. This is probably one area you have the most control over and will make the most impact on if your pet sheds a lot or a little. Cats are carnivores, however most commercial cat foods contain a lot of carbohydrates, non-meat fillers. You can look at your dry food ingredient list to see if your food is part of your cats shedding problem. The first ingredient should always be a meat source, such as Chicken Meal, Lamb Meal, or Turkey Meal. Many foods list Corn as a top ingredient, sometimes in more than one spot, thus making corn a major part of the food. Corn is not very digestable to a cat, thus it stresses out their digestive system, and decreases their skin health – thus you have more shedding. As a general rule if a pet food contains “By-Products” it is a lower quality food, one that uses filler. Switching to a better food will not only reduce shedding, the pet will not eat as much (because it contains more nutrition) and they will poop less too because of higher digestability. Another rule of thumb is that foods sold in grocery stores and bulk stores are usually low quality – a person must not judge a food by price either – some expensive foods contain low quality ingredients. Read the lable and check the ingredient list yourself.
4. Grooming. Regular brushing will not only remove any loose hair, it will improve the skin condition – thus reducing shedding. Even patting your cat will improve the condition of the skin. Try to think how many times a day you brush your own hair, a cat will not need to be brushed that often, but once every few days will make a difference. Many people do not even take the time to brush their cats at all, which is why I remind you how often you brush your own hair. Brushing backwards – if your cat allows, will remove more hair.
5. Cat Breed Selection. If you own a cat already, you cannot control this, but if you are looking for a cat, you may note that there are “hairless” cat breeds, they infact are covered with a thin layer of peach fuzz type hair and must be kept indoors only.
6. Last Resort. As a last resort a person may wish to have their cats hair shaved. A groomer can do this. It will not reduce shedding, but will make the hairs around your home, much shorter.
7. Parasites. A cat with worms, fleas, or lice, will shed more, espeically worms.
This is a Persian cat who has been shaved in a “Lion cut”, the photo is from Wikimedia.