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Do cats shed more when stressed? Why?

If we were to ask all cat parents what they like most about their cats, we would probably end up with an endless list. However, if we ask what they like least about having a cat, one of the most popular answers would probably be shedding because who likes having cat hair all over their clothes? We can’t avoid shedding; it’s the cost we must pay to share our life with a beautiful and fun-loving kitty. And although it is inevitable, there are times when we may notice that our cat loses more hair than usual, for example, when he goes to the vet. Have you ever noticed it? Do cats shed more when stressed?

There are many reasons why cat molts, and stress is one of the most common. I’m sure you didn’t imagine it, and if you’re wondering why, here I’ll explain everything you need to know about it.

Why do cats shed when stressed?

why do cats shed more when stressed

All cats shed/lose hair constantly. Every day it leaves one or another hair around the house. Although this process is progressive, a cat doesn’t shed all its old fur simultaneously, but each hair has its time frame. The life cycle of a single hair lasts several months, and when it reaches its end, which is when the hair is at its weakest, it is known as telogen hair. Telogen hair has already stopped growing, has lost strength, and is drier, and any sudden movement can accelerate its eventual fall.

What happens when a cat is stressed is that a band of tiny muscles called arrector pili muscles, which are connected to the hair follicles, contract every time the cat is stressed, and that tiny contraction generates a movement that can cause the telogen hair ready to shed out to fall out finally.

When your cat goes to the vet, you can quickly notice that he leaves the whole examination table full of hair, or if your nephews visit your home and your cat doesn’t like children, you will have to vacuum very well when the visit is over.

Why do cats stress easily?

Cats are susceptible creatures, and although most of them adore their human family and adapt perfectly to live with them, they are still cats living in a world we have built just for humans. A feline has their senses much more developed than ours. For example, they can hear high frequencies that our ear does not pick up, their sense of smell is incredibly powerful and therefore more sensitive, and let us not forget about the touch. Did you know that their whiskers (also shed) perceive even the vibration of the wind?

do cats shed more when stressed - why do cats stress easily

After knowing this, I think anyone can understand why their cat sometimes seems to be overreacting when he is struggling. Situations so simple and every day for us can make a cat uncomfortable and stress them out or scare them. Are you familiar with any of the following?

A stressed cat because of:

  • A new air freshener at home
  • The arrival of a new pet or baby
  • Family reunions
  • A move
  • A new bed or feeding bowl

Excessive shedding

When a cat is stressed, it is normal for it to shed. However, it should not do so for more than a few minutes or hours, depending on the situation. It is essential to know how to recognize when our cat is having an adverse reaction, such as excessive shedding, and even more important is to identify the cause.

1. Shedding season

Cats have two seasons a year during which they shed more hair than usual: spring and autumn. During these times, cats prepare their coat for the change of weather, while for the summer, they shed to lighten their coat and feel cooler; for the winter, they prepare by shedding to grow new fur to help cover them from the cold.

do cats shed more when stressed - season

2. Allergies

As you read it, cats can also suffer from different allergies, such as certain foods, flea saliva, mites, or plants. Reactions can vary, but if your cat feels itchy, it will likely scratch or bite, leading to hair loss.

3. Health issues

When a cat is sick, any part of its body can show the illness. You must take your cat to the veterinarian immediately if you notice that his coat is losing luster, looks unkempt, or has bald spots. Certain diseases can cause excessive moltings, such as hypothyroidism, cancer, or kidney problems.

Do cats shed more when stressed? Final notes

Cats are very easily stressed. A visit to the vet can mean more stress than we can imagine. Other factors, such as moving house, a change in diet, or overcrowding, can also cause stress and, thus, excessive shedding. One of the easiest ways to identify when the cat is uncomfortable is through shedding. As a stressed cat tends to pull a lot of hair, you will immediately notice how he has a sea of loose hair around him.

Although it may seem like it has nothing to do with it, specific muscles that contract when a cat is stressed are the ones that cause dry, dead hair to fall out of your cat’s coat. So now you know it’s not that your cat is suddenly going bald. Its patience is at its limit. A healthy and relaxed cat means less shedding! Keep an eye on them and learn to recognize when something is changing.

Have you noticed that your cat has been shedding more lately? Let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear about it!

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