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Molting Cats April 1, 2006

Posted by makingyourdashcount in Fun Stuff, Sarah.
1 comment so far

Cats must spend a great deal of time caring for their coat, since their lives depend on it. Preening and bathing and other fur care operations, however, cannot prevent the coat from wearing out. Because a cat’s fur is lifeless, incapable of being repaired, worn fur must be replaced. This process of replacement is termed molting.This is particularly true in purebred long hair animals. The old, worn coat is loosened in the follicles (sockets) by the growth of new intruding fur, which eventually push them out. Molting occurs in regular patterns over a long haired cat’s body. The adaptiveness of such patterns can be illustrated by the Spotted Persian, which retain key tufts of fur used for sensory detection until other fur is replaced. The majority of adult long hair purebred cats molt once or twice a year, and the temporal pattern, not unexpectedly, is related to the wear rate on the fur. This is especially evident in older eastern European breeds.

Molting is timed to meet various needs. For example, in temperate-zone cats require more insulation in the winter than in the summer. The number is changed in the process of molting; winter growth may contain more than half again as much fur as in the summer. Since the coat, which carry the colors of the animal, are "dead," a cat cannot totally change its colors without changing its coat (although its appearance can change substantially just from wear). Therefore a male cat usually molts prior to the breeding season. Molting takes from 5 to 12 weeks, but some may require two years or more to completely replace their coat.

Some cats, such as Siamese and Himalayan, are "synchronous molters" — they change their coat all at once in a period as short as two weeks, but sometimes stretching over a month.

Sarah would have loved this. I can hear her laughing now. I originally wrote this in response to our cat's semi-annual fur shed. I sent this to gullible family members who totally fell for it. Living life one practical joke at a time.

See the Siberian Post on 3/23 for a REAL article about shedding.