As the winter months approach and the days become shorter, you may notice a change in your cat’s look. They’re no longer the sleek kitten they were in the summer; instead, they’ve morphed into this fluffy ball of hair.
In a way, just as humans begin to wear thicker clothing, our feline companions begin to work on their own fur.
Cats start to grow a winter coat in the fall when the amount of daylight decreases. Since their winter coat is impacted mostly by sunshine rather than temperature, even purely indoor cats that do not require the extra insulation will experience seasonal shedding.
If you want to learn more about the winter side of seasonal shedding, prepare to delve deeper and investigate why your cat’s coat thickens.
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Does Cats Fur Change In Winter?
Yes, cats change fur in winter.
Cats have fur to keep them warm in cold weather. Most breeds develop a thick undercoat to keep them warm and comfortable in the winter.
On the other hand, domesticated indoor cats live in temperature-controlled environments, leaving some cat owners wondering if their pets still grow winter coats.
If you’re a new cat owner who’s perplexed by your cat’s shifting hair condition, wondering why your cat’s fur is suddenly thicker or thinner as the seasons change, don’t fret; they know how to dress for each occasion!
To remain warm, most cats develop winter coats. They will lose a large percentage of their fur to remain cool throughout the summer and grow it back every year to shield themselves from the cold season after the winter season is over.
Some cats in colder areas, especially those who go outside regularly, have two substantial seasonal shedding periods each year (late spring and late fall), during which most of the undercoat falls off in clumps.
The transition from a winter to a summer coat can drastically alter the look of certain cats. For example, longhaired cats meant to survive the cold, such as the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat, might appear to be entirely different cats when the seasons change.
Your cat’s coat will develop somewhere in the late fall and begin to shed in the late spring.
Because they live in a stable environment, domestic cats that spend their lives indoors will be less impacted by the outside climate. If you reside somewhere with a milder winter, the same may be said.
If you live in a location where the weather is continuously warm, and you allow your cat outside, chances are you won’t see the full potential of their winter coat, and their shedding will be less than impressive.
If you reside in the northern hemisphere, though, your cat will most likely grow a thick undercoat to keep them warm, especially if they have access to the outdoors.
Must Read: How Cold Can Cats Survive Outside?
When Do Cats Get Their Winter Coats?
Winter coats begin fluffing up in the fall when the daylight begins to shorten.
Even though indoor-only cats don’t really need the extra insulation, they will still grow a winter coat if they are exposed to enough sunlight.
That is because the thickening of the fur doesn’t have to do with the temperature at all. On the contrary, it’s a response to the amount of daylight that’s available.
Interesting Read: Do Cats Shed More In Winter?
Do Cats Grow Thicker Fur In Winter?
Cats do grow thicker winter coats.
When the daylight hours shorten in the fall, their coats begin to bulk out. Indoor cats do not require additional insulation because they live in a temperature-controlled environment, but they will develop winter coats if they are exposed to sunshine.
This suggests that the thickening of the fur is a response to the quantity of accessible sunshine rather than temperature.
Cats have guard hairs and long, visible hairs that give them patterns and colors. An undercoat – a thick and fluffy layer of fur that is generally grey and keeps the cats warm – lies underneath the guard’s hairs. The winter coat is the thickening of this undercoat during cold weather.
When it comes to grooming their winter coats, most cats are self-sufficient, but senior cats may require assistance. They are less flexible than when they were younger, and some have arthritic joints.
As a result, they are unable to groom themselves as well as they formerly did, and their hair may get matted and tangled due to the shorter fur that must be lost.
To remain cool throughout the summer, cats shed a considerable amount of their fur once the winter season is over. Each year, their fur regrows, and they are again shielded from the cold throughout the winter.
The undercoat clumps together, especially in cats that go outside regularly. Long-haired cats, such as the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest cat, change appearances with the seasons. The transition from winter to summer coats can drastically alter a cat’s look.
Interesting Read: Do Cats Get Cold In The Winter?
While most cats develop winter coats, the fullness and length of those coats vary by breed. The temperatures of the nation they live in, and the heating arrangements in their house have a role.
If you need to take your cat outside, such as the veterinarian, a light sweater may be required. Sweaters are not necessary for cats with long, thick coats, as they are prone to overheating.
If carried outside during the cold, hairless cats, on the other hand, should always wear a sweater.
If there is snow or ice on the ground, you may need to provide booties for your cat; nevertheless, most cats feel uncomfortable with their paws covered.
Keep outside trips short and sweet for cats since snow and ice can adhere to their toes and break their pads if they are permitted to walk on them for more than an hour. Snow and ice can get caught between the toes and on the bellies of long-haired cats.
Allow your cat to avoid locations where antifreeze or salts may be present, as these substances might harm your cat’s feet. Because cats brush their paws and feet, they may absorb poisonous or deadly compounds.
Check your cat’s paw for redness, cracks, or discomfort after a romp outside on the ice or snow, and clean your cat’s paws with a towel.
Also, read about Do Cats Eat More In The Winter?
Do Indoor Cats Get Winter Coats?
Yes, Indoor cats develop winter coats.
Unless they are members of a hairless breed, cats are provided with thick fur that protects them from the cold elements.
They receive winter coats that begin to thicken in the fall and keep them warm throughout the colder months.
Even though they are kept in temperature-controlled environments, indoor cats develop winter coats because they are still exposed to sunlight, which aids in the development of the coat. As a result, they will shed seasonally, exactly like most other felines.
When the daylight begins to diminish in the fall, winter jackets fluff up. Even though indoor-only cats don’t require extra insulation, they will develop a winter coat if they are exposed to enough sunshine.
This is because the thickening of the fur has nothing to do with temperature. It is, on the contrary, a reaction to the quantity of daylight available.
Most cats are quite self-sufficient when it comes to grooming, but older cats occasionally require assistance. When their thicker coat begins to develop, seniors who aren’t as flexible as they once were may have matted fur.
Interesting Read: Do Cats Sleep More in Winter?
When Do Cats Shed Their Winter Coats?
Cats generally shed their winter coat in the months of late spring.
Cats’ hair loses the most in natural light in the spring and fall when they replace their summer and winter coats. The hormones that control coat development and shedding are triggered by sunlight.
After this cyclical shedding, hair grows the fastest, and autumn growth is usually quicker than spring growth.
The change is negligible, demonstrating that replacement growth is largely slow and regular following shedding despite some periodicity in feline hair development.
Interesting Read: How To Keep Indoor Cats Warm In Winter?
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my cat shedding so much all of a sudden?
Cats, like us, shed their hair regularly. As the temperature warms up in the spring, cats tend to shed more hair. Stress, poor food, allergies, medicine, illness, and sunburn are among the medical conditions that cause cats to shed.
Do cats lose fur as they age?
Cats’ fur thinning and even patches of hair loss are normal as they become older. Cats’ hair can become white with age, much as humans’, but their whiskers can turn black.
Do all cats have winter and summer coats?
The length of a cat’s hair, its breed, and the environment in which it lives may all influence the difference between its summer and winter coats. In the spring, even short-haired cats shed their coats. In the summer, long-haired breeds like the Norwegian Forest Cat lose so much fur that they nearly appear to be new cats!
When the temperatures drop in the winter, we may turn up the heat, put on a sweater, or layer some garments. Cats lack those qualities. Thus, they have to evolve on their own to remain warm in fluctuating temperatures.
As a result, cats’ coat thicknesses have changed, and they now have a particularly constructed coat that keeps them warm.
Ask your questions in the comments section below.
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