Saturday 29 March 2008

Non-Shedding Cat Breeds

Non-shedding cat breeds are a myth. It is obviously natural to shed hair. Humans do it as well. One of the biggest downsides of living with a cat is the hair, it's everywhere. You get used to hoovering it up though. Cats can be a bit messy. Some (but few) cat breeds shed less than others.

Cat hair
Cat hair. Image: Cornell University.

The first group of cats that come to mind are the hairless cats :). Simple really isn't it. Even hairless cats have some (but very little and downy) hair. Logic dictates though that if a cat has less hair there is less to shed. There are no non-shedding cat breeds just as there are no totally hypoallergenic cats despite claims to the contrary (although Allerca cats - Life Style Pets Inc. claim their cats, the Ashera GD, Allerca GD and Chakan GD are hypoallergenic).

The hairless cat breeds are the Sphynx, Don Sphynx and Peterbald (semi-hairless). These are all rare cats and realistically indoor cats.

The Rex cats shed less than normal due to the nature of their coat. Cats normally have three layers to their coats, a top layer the guard hairs, the middle layer are called awn hairs and the undercoat which is down hair. Some cats have less layers. The Turkish Angora has no undercoat, for example.

The Devon Rex does not have guard hairs so the coat feels soft (guard hairs are what you'd expect, harder to protect the fur). The coat is curly and sparse and low shedding. Not only does this make this breed one of the best in terms of shedding she is also better for people allergic to cats. Another cat with the Rex gene mutation causing the curly coat is the Cornish Rex. There are two other well-known Rex cats, the Selkirk and the LaPerm but these are not low shedding cats, although the Cornish Rex apparently is low shedding as she is missing both the guard and awn hairs (see below). Another Rex cat incidentally is the German Rex.

The Devon Rex can become hairless (rarely) due to a disorder called Hypotichosis at 6 months old. If that was to be the case you would have found a cat that is nearly one of the mythical Non Shedding Cat Breeds. In my opinion the cats with no undercoat (single coated cats) shed less. They are also much easier to comb and flea comb. Moggies can be single or double coated. The difference is quite noticeable. An example of a purebred cat with a single coat is the Oriental Shorthair. There are others.

One last point, a good healthy diet will result in normal shedding and regular grooming will help remove the dead fur. This will minimize shedding or put it another way you are controlling the shedding to a degree. Cats like being groomed provided it is done gently and it is a great way to bond. My cat asks for it and she gets it. There is one well known tool that gets at the loose hair in the undercoat that I have found is routinely recommended at that is the FURminator deShedding Tool with 1-3/4-Inch Edge for Cats. Used regularly it should help minimize shedding.

Non Shedding Cat Breeds to Cornish Rex

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