Hack My Cat's Hair, How To
July 27, 2013 7:20 AM   Subscribe

I adopted a great cat when he was just three weeks old. My daughter and I love him. However...we were told he'd have medium-ish hair and would be easy to take care of. Not so, very long hair everywhere. Everywhere. On everything. Hope me...

Should I be brushing the cat, dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming the entire place every day? Should I just get used to all my laundry and bedding being covered in hair (even straight out of the wash)? Am I doing it wrong?

tl;dr What's the best way to not dedicate my life to cat hair removal? Thanks!
posted by j_curiouser to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have a long-haired cat and definitely not this degree of cat fur issues. What is your cat eating? Diet can make a huge difference in volume of fur shed; is he on a grain-free diet? Cats are obligate carnivores. Or is he eating supermarket fare?

For comparison, I have the aforementioned long-haired furball as well as a short-haired black cat, and it takes at least a month before my bed's top blanket (one I don't change often, as opposed to the sheets) gets enough fur that I need to brush it off. And both cats sleep and play on it, night and day. I rarely need to brush my cats since they just don't shed all that much. My previous cat, who was on Science Diet (a little better than supermarket fare but still not all that great, which I didn't know at the time), shed LOADS in comparison and had to be brushed a few times a week... and he was short-haired. Diet really can make a huge difference. Mine eat Orijen, Acana, and Applaws dry food as well as an evening half-meal of Applaws wet food, which is so good that, ahem, sometimes I sneak a bite... A fully wet diet is also supposed to make a huge difference; in my case I mainly keep them on dry food simply because sometimes I don't know what time I'll be home, or there are days I need to wake up earlier. If you're better able to stick to a schedule with the cat, though, wet food can be really great. Just be aware, the reason a firm feeding schedule is important is that your cat will also stick to it and give you urgent reminders if you deviate.
posted by fraula at 7:35 AM on July 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

In the summertime, my neighbor would always get her long-haired cat shaved. He loved it -- kept him cool in the heat.

I have a short-hair cat, but she's black, so her minimal shedding shows up everywhere during the summer. During the winter, she doesn't really shed at all. So you might just be in the worst part of the shedding season.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:37 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: I brush my fluffy cat with a Furminator and it pulls much more fur off of him than a regular brush does.
posted by kitty teeth at 7:49 AM on July 27, 2013 [15 favorites]

Best answer: Some cats just shed a lot more than other cats. If you have one of those, you need to brush them a lot. A lot. (It also makes their fur look nicer.) You might need to try a few things to figure out which brush your cat likes best.
posted by jeather at 8:06 AM on July 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you've only had the cat a few weeks some of the shed could be due to the stress of new environment etc, cats shed like crazy when stressed (which you'll find out when you take him to the vets the first time). Also cats and dogs that shed tend to go through seasonal periods where they shed more heavily.

Things that I found could help from back in the days when I owned cats were, regular brushing, I wish the furminator had been a thing back then though that will work best on longer haired cats with an undercoat short haired cats I don't know if it would help with as much. A good diet high in the right fats and oils. I used to use a cover on the couch and swap it out once a week or when the hair got too bad. A rubber grooming mitt. I love these for picking up hair, super easy to use and very effective.
posted by wwax at 8:37 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: Seconding the Furminator. My long-haired fluffball adores it and I'm amazed at how much loose fur it pulls off him.
posted by SakuraK at 8:49 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: Nthing the Furminator.
posted by slkinsey at 8:51 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: Nthing Furminator also.
I have a story quite similar to yours, down to the grey color and hair-length, new to the household and etc. Just this week (5th week in) seems more normal/way less hairy.
He loves being brushed a la Furminator, too.
posted by bebrave! at 9:13 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: Yep, furminator. I have a snotty little Persian and keep her in a lion cut year-round, but then we are in Florida. If your cat won't be still to Furminate, use one of those grooming gloves every night.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 9:15 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: Brushing your cat every day is not only necessary, but it's really nice for you and for the cat - many cats come to adore daily grooming time.

Approach brushing gradually. Start with just a stroke or two, and give treats while you do this, building up to full-body brushing over maybe a month, so that your cat sees brushing time as a treat (rather than a procedure during which he's held down and constrained as fun). Be gentle.

Don't start with a Furminator if your cat's not used to it. If there are mats in his fur, the Furminator will just hurt (and you should be gentle wtih the brush, too).
posted by amtho at 9:17 AM on July 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yes to the furminator - but the single blade one, not the double, and look for it online. They had it at the pet supply place here in town for about four times the price I found it on amazon.
posted by lemniskate at 9:20 AM on July 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Furminators are magic. They pull out huge amounts of fur, so if you can do it outside, you'll save yourself yet more cleanup.

On top of all that, a little hand vacuum cleaner can be a lifesaver. You'll end up with bits of fur here and there no matter what you do, and being able to zip them up in a few seconds will help you keep things more under control day to day.

All this fur attention will cut down on your cat coughing up hairballs, too.
posted by wdenton at 9:43 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: Are you sure we don't have the exact same cat?

Usually I brush this softy two to three times per week for about five minutes per session, which is just enough to keep the shedding to a manageable level. I do this before feeding him dinner, because he goes through a pre-dinner affection period and has the patience for that sort of thing. We don't have a FURminator, just a regular wire brush. He has yet to get a hairball, but we have only had him for about a month and a half.

On a daily level, if I happen to notice he has a loose chunk of undercoat hanging on by a strand I'll just softly ease it out of his coat manually and toss it in the trash. This takes 5-10 seconds max.

Our goal is to maintain a certain level of tidiness. Our carpets can get about 2-5% covered with cat hair before we decide they need a serious vacuum. That said they are generally fine when vacuumed once a week and before we have company.

Hand vacuums can be useful. We don't have one, but I have considered it for around the litter box. When you do vacuum (full size or hand size), make sure you focus on the areas where your cat likes to sleep.

ALSO: For a grand total of $3.50 you can be the proud owner of a double sided lint brush. Since this type of lint brush is made with one way fabric instead of sticky paper, it's completely reusable for 5 years or more. It will prove the savior of your clothing for years to come.
posted by donut_princess at 10:23 AM on July 27, 2013

Feed a high quality canned food (likely a different protein than in whatever you are feeding now) and supplement with an omega fatty acid supplement. Excessive shedding is often diet related.

Brushing will definitely help, but changing the food will likely help more in the long term.
posted by biscotti at 10:27 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: It took a while by my cats LOVE the Furrminator.

My best girlfriend also shaved her Himalayan and he loved it.

So a little of both should limit the number of fur tumble weeds in your house.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:37 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: If you don't already do it try to get the hair off your laundry pre washing. Cat hair comes off if you run your wet hand or a (wet) brush over the fabric. I clean bedding/couch/cushions this way.

Sweeping/vacuuming often for the floors, yes.

Nthing making brushing a GREAT thing. My cat loves to be brushed with a tangle teezer knock-off and will come running when she sees or hears me handling it. We also use a baby comb and another brush. Not all cats like the same tools, but it's worth to find one or two they like.

Cats can shed a lot in the summer and it might be just that coupled with the stress of re-homing. But I'd take a look at the food too. Petfoodtalk is a nice site to find reviews. Personally I would feed as much wet food as possible and look for a high protein, no artificial additives, no fillers kind of food.
posted by travelwithcats at 11:39 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: I have just recently bought a giant lint roller from Evercare made for pet owners that is amazing. It looks a bit like a paint roller and it has a long handle. I use it to spiff up the couch and it speeds things up.

My dogs are terrified of the vacuum, so I use this when I just want to do a quick tidy up.

Also in my arsenal--a good dust mop and hand vac from Bissell called the pet hair eraser or something similar. I keep one area of my house off limits to pets, that is where I fold laundry and this helps a bit.
posted by dottiechang at 11:59 AM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: Furminator here as well. We tried getting our Persian a lion cut but he's a big wuss and hid in his carrier.
posted by arcticseal at 12:10 PM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: 3 cats here, and another vote for the Furminator. If you can convince the cat to love the vacuum (use one of the hand held attachments), you win the cat hair lottery! If she's still a kitten, try getting her used to it now. Finally, Costco-sized purchases of 'Scotch 3M Lint Rollers', and if you have carpets, yeah... a good pet-hair friendly vacuum is also a godsend.
posted by cgg at 12:14 PM on July 27, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all! Dry Food (Acana Pacifica), Furminator, Lint Brush ordered. Work schedule/travel not conducive to wet food regimen.
posted by j_curiouser at 1:57 PM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: Heloise's tip for cleaning fur off of upholstered surfaces: Wear one rubber dishwashing glove and carry the vacuum nozzle. Brush the upholstered surface with the hand wearing the glove, then follow with the vacuum. This works really well (I have 3 cats, I feel your pain).
posted by Deodand at 2:09 PM on July 27, 2013

"Thanks all! Dry Food (Acana Pacifica), Furminator, Lint Brush ordered. Work schedule/travel not conducive to wet food regimen."

Sounds good, I just would like to add that you don't have to go exclusive - either only wet or only dry - it is possible to feed wet on some days and dry on others or wet in the mornings and dry throughout the day. :-)
posted by travelwithcats at 2:29 PM on July 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Just wanted to throw my $0.02 in and say yes to Furminator, but watch out for the whiskers: they can get stuck or break in the Furminator and that looks painful. Also yes to wet food: like Travelwithcats sez, you can do it when you're home, and dry for when you're not.

I switched my fuzzball over to a nearly all wet-food grain-free diet, and her shedding went down significantly, as did the frequency of her hairballs and vomiting. She also used to scratch herself frequently to the point of scabbing, and since switching her that has nearly stopped completely and she no longer needs stool softener to pass a bowel movement. All that to say that a grain-free, nearly all wet-food diet has resulted in a huge quality of life improvement for both me and Gwen.

As your new kitty settles in, and you get them used to the Furminator, re-evaluate and see if you need to consider other changes. Hopefully shedding and hairball appearances will go down significantly. Good luck!
posted by absquatulate at 6:41 PM on July 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older How do we deal with a possible flea problem?   |   Why do my joints look bruised? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.