Maine Coon Cats Shed

Do Maine Coon Cats Shed?

Maine Coon cats are known for their majestic appearance, large size, and fluffy fur. They have thick coats of fur, tufted fur on all four paws, and thick furry ears to protect them from the cold. But do these cats shed? And if so, how much and how often? In this article, we will answer these questions and provide some tips on how to reduce shedding and keep your Maine Coon’s coat healthy and beautiful.

What Causes Shedding in Maine Coon Cats?

Shedding is a natural process to remove dead hair from the coat. All cats shed to some extent, and Maine Coons are no exception. While Maine Coons have a variety of hair types, from dense and greasy to smooth and silky, they all shed.

The amount and frequency of shedding depend on several factors, such as:

  • Season: Maine Coons tend to shed more in spring and summer when they lose their thick winter coat to prepare for the warmer weather. This is called seasonal shedding or molting, and it can last for several weeks. In fall and winter, they grow a new layer of fur to keep them warm and cozy.
  • Age: Younger cats shed less than older cats, as their hair growth cycle is shorter and faster. As cats age, their hair growth cycle slows down, and they shed more often and for longer periods.
  • Health: Certain health conditions, such as allergies, infections, parasites, hormonal imbalances, or stress, can cause excessive or abnormal shedding in cats. If you notice any signs of illness, such as bald patches, skin irritation, weight loss, or changes in appetite or behavior, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Genetics: Some cats are naturally more prone to shedding than others, due to their genetic makeup and coat characteristics. Maine Coons have a long, thick, and double-layered coat, which means they have more hair to shed than short-haired or single-coated breeds.

How to Reduce Shedding in Maine Coon Cats?

While shedding is inevitable and normal for Maine Coon cats, there are some ways to reduce it and keep your cat and your home clean and tidy. Here are some tips to follow:

Grooming

Brushing your cat daily is a great way to remove dead and loose hair. Remember to start grooming kittens early so they become accustomed to the brush and avoid bad behaviors. Grooming not only provides interaction with your cat, but it is also a proactive way to maintain their lovely locks as well.

Use a wide-toothed comb or a slicker brush to gently detangle and smooth your cat’s fur. Avoid pulling or tugging on the hair, as this can cause pain and damage to the skin. Pay special attention to the areas where mats and tangles can form, such as the chest, belly, legs, and tail. You can also use a de-shedding tool or a furminator to remove the undercoat and reduce shedding.

Deshedding gloves can be a wonderful addition to your grooming kit. Going over your cat with these when you don’t have time to brush is a quick way to remove loose hair. These gloves are also great for wiping down scratching posts, furniture, linens, and cat towers, areas where your cat may have deposited excess fur.

Cats self-groom. You may often notice them licking themselves. Remember as they ingest hair, it will eventually form a hairball that you will see down the line. Just as some of us are more intense on our personal grooming routine than others, cats have personal preferences and some will be more fastidious than others. You may need to groom your cat more or less frequently based on their grooming habits.

Bathing

Bathing your cat occasionally can also help reduce shedding, as it removes dirt, oil, and loose hair from the coat. However, bathing too often can dry out the skin and cause more shedding, so limit it to once every few months or when necessary. Use a mild, cat-friendly shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Dry your cat with a towel or a hairdryer on a low setting, and comb their fur to prevent mats and tangles.

Balanced Diet

Making sure your Maine Coon is eating a healthy diet with plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids will contribute to a luxurious hair coat. These essential fatty acids nourish the skin and the hair follicles and promote healthy hair growth and shedding. They also have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, which can help prevent or treat skin conditions that cause excessive shedding.

There is a wide range of nutritious cat foods that are complete and balanced on the market today. We are always happy to make recommendations. If your cat is at a healthy weight, has a healthy coat, and is in overall good condition, then the food you are providing should be just fine. Always pay attention to product recalls in case of contamination.

You can also supplement your cat’s diet with fish oil, flaxseed oil, or coconut oil, which are rich sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. However, consult your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your cat’s diet, as they may interfere with other medications or cause adverse effects.

Hydration

Keeping your cat hydrated is another important factor for reducing shedding and maintaining a healthy coat. Water helps flush out toxins, regulate body temperature, and moisturize the skin and the hair. Dehydration can lead to dry, brittle, and dull hair, which can shed more easily and cause skin problems.

Make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times. You can also encourage your cat to drink more by providing multiple water bowls, fountains, or dripping faucets around the house. Some cats prefer running water over still water, as it is more appealing and natural to them. You can also add some water or broth to your cat’s wet food to increase their fluid intake.

Vet Check

If you notice any signs of excessive, abnormal, or sudden shedding in your cat, such as bald spots, skin irritation, weight loss, or changes in appetite or behavior, it is best to take them to the vet for a check-up. Your vet can examine your cat and run some tests to determine the underlying cause of the shedding and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Some common causes of excessive shedding in cats are:

  • Allergies: Cats can be allergic to various substances, such as food, pollen, dust, fleas, or chemicals. Allergies can cause itching, inflammation, and hair loss in cats. Your vet can help you identify the allergen and recommend the best way to avoid or eliminate it. They may also prescribe antihistamines, steroids, or immunotherapy to reduce the allergic reaction and the shedding.
  • Infections: Bacterial, fungal, or viral infections can affect the skin and the hair of your cat, causing redness, swelling, sores, and hair loss. Some common infections that cause shedding in cats are ringworm, mange, and feline herpes. Your vet can diagnose the type of infection and prescribe the appropriate medication, such as antibiotics, antifungals, or antivirals, to treat it and prevent it from spreading.
  • Parasites: External parasites, such as fleas, ticks, mites, or lice, can infest your cat’s skin and hair, causing itching, irritation, and hair loss. Internal parasites, such as worms, can also affect your cat’s health and coat quality, as they deprive your cat of nutrients and weaken their immune system. Your vet can prescribe the best parasite prevention and treatment for your cat, such as topical or oral medications, sprays, or collars, to get rid of the parasites and the shedding.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Hormones play a vital role in regulating the hair growth cycle of your cat. Any imbalance in the levels of hormones, such as thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, or cortisol, can disrupt the normal cycle and cause excessive or abnormal shedding in cats. Hormonal imbalances can be caused by various factors, such as aging, pregnancy, lactation, stress, or tumors. Your vet can perform blood tests to measure the hormone levels of your cat and prescribe the appropriate hormone replacement or therapy to restore the balance and the shedding.
  • Stress: Stress can hurt your cat’s physical and mental health, as well as their coat condition. Stress can trigger the release of cortisol, a hormone that affects the hair growth cycle and causes more shedding. Stress can also cause your cat to over-groom themselves, which can lead to hair loss and skin damage. Some common sources of stress for cats are changes in the environment, routine, or family, lack of stimulation or enrichment, or conflicts with other pets or people. Your vet can help you identify the cause of stress for your cat and suggest ways to reduce it, such as providing a safe and comfortable space, toys and games, or calming products, such as pheromones, diffusers, or collars.

FAQs

How often should I groom my Maine Coon cat to prevent mats and tangles in their fur?

You should groom your Maine Coon cat at least once a week, preferably more often if they have a very long or fluffy coat. Grooming your Maine Coon cat regularly will help remove loose hair, dirt, and debris, and prevent mats and tangles from forming in their fur. You can use a wide-toothed comb or a rake to gently detangle their hair, starting from the ends and working your way up to the roots. You can also use a slicker brush or a pin brush to smooth out their coat and distribute natural oils

What are the best brushes or combs to use for my Maine Coon cat’s coat type?

The best brushes or combs to use for your Maine Coon cat’s coat type are those that are designed to remove loose undercoat hair and prevent mats and tangles. Some examples are a grooming comb, a rake, a slicker brush, or a pin brush. You can also use a deshedding tool or a furminator to reduce the amount of hair that your Maine Coon cat sheds, but be careful not to overuse them or damage their skin

How can I reduce the amount of hair that my Maine Coon cat sheds on my furniture and clothes?

Regular grooming helps reduce shedding, as does providing a balanced diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Using furniture covers or lint rollers can also help manage loose fur.

What are some signs of skin problems or allergies that may cause excessive shedding in my Maine Coon cat?

1. Redness, inflammation, or irritation of the skin.
2. Scabs, sores, or wounds on the skin.
3. Bald patches or thinning of the hair.
4. Dandruff, flakes, or scales on the skin or hair.
5. Itching, scratching, licking, or biting of the skin or hair.
6. Changes in behavior, such as lethargy, depression, or loss of appetite

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Margaret Ritzler is an Animal Scientist, holding an MAL in Agricultural Leadership and a BS in Animal and Dairy Science. She taught Veterinary Science for several years through Career Technical and Agricultural Education. She has also worked for the University of Florida & Navajo Technical University. Her diversified background and wealth of knowledge in the animal industry make her a true asset to the Savvy Cats team.

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