Cats do shed a lot and continuously, though it may be slightly worse in the spring and fall. There is no way to stop this from happening, but there are things you can to do help to control it.
With your cat, I am more concerrned about the lethargy than about the shedding. It seems to me that she is feeling unwell, and thus not grooming herself well. I am worried that the shedding is a result of her illness, as you mentioned that she is very lethargic.
For cats who are feeling well but shedding excessively, there are a number of things that can be done to improve the health of their skin and thus decrease the shedding.
The first thing that I would suggest is that you add a dietary source of essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids) daily added to her food. Your vet would be able to provide these for you - some brands are DermCaps and EFA-Z.
Here is more about them:
You could make your own using evening primrose oil for the Omega 6 fatty acids. You could then add in a fish oil to provide the Omega 3's. Extra strength fish oil is most useful - it provides approximately 600mg of combined EPA and DHA per capsule. You can find a listing of companies that make such a thing here: www.nasc.cc.
The omega 6 to omega 3 ratio should be 5 to 10.
These help overall with skin and hair coat, but it will take about 2 months on them before you see an improvement. I would keep your cat on these for life as they are very beneficial.
Daily brushing is helpful, and there are a number of different brushes you may wish to try.
One is the “Zoom Groom” brush,another is a “Slicker" and a third is the “Furminator” brush. I will include links to all. Many owners and breeders report that these are really effective at removing loose hair.
Another thing to consider is whether your cat has worms. Having internal parasites in the intestines can rob the cat of nutrients from the diet, which can lead to poor haircoat and excessive shedding.
Many topical flea medications now carry a dewormer in the ingredients so that you can deworm monthly. I would recommend using one of these products if you are treating for fleas in your area of the world.
Here is an example:
Otherwise, contact your vet for a good dewormer.
If these measures don’t control the shedding, you may wish to contact your vet to make sure there is not an underlying medical issue such as fleas, Demodectic mange, ringworm, or allergies. I will include links to more information about each of these:
Demodex – a type of skin parasite:
Ringworm – a fungal infection of the skin: http://www.fabcats.org/owners/skin/ringworm.html
Now, as I mentioned, I am worried about her being so lethargic. That does not sound normal at all for such a young cat. I am a bit worried that she might have met up with another cat and had a little run-in with it.
Even though you have not found any bite marks, I would say that out of 100 cats coming in to see me with the symptoms you have descibed, 99 of them would have an infected bite wound. Most bite wounds on cats are from another cat, and they almost always become infected.
Quite often there is a space of 7 to 14 days between being bitten and the infection causing a lump like this. So, in that time, the punctures can close over and be impossible to find.
What you are describing with her being so lethargic certainly sounds like she may have a bite wound. Most bite wounds on cats are from another cat, and they almost always become infected.
Let me explain...
When a cat bite wound occurs, what happens is that there are 2 puncture holes - one caused by the upper and one by the lower canine tooth. The cat's teeth have a lot of bacteria on them, and these bacteria get placed deep below the skin when the bite occurs. The hole is small and quickly scabs over, leaving the bacteria below there.
The most common type of bacteria in the cat mouth is Pasteurella multocida - and it LOVES to grow in a warm, moist environment that has no oxygen present. And that is exactly what you have with a bite wound!
So, the bacteria multiply, and the body sends in white blood cells to fight the infection, and soon you have a big pocket of pus and bacteria: an abscess! The abscess grows bigger until it ruptures and the pus pours out. This relieves the pressure and allows the hole to close over which then allows the process to start again.
Bite wounds, ideally, should be treated with antibiotics within 24 hours of the bite. This prevents the bacteria from multiplying and forming an abscess in the first place.
Here is more information:
So, if any bite wound can be treated before it becomes an abscess it is so much less complicated (and expensive)! Getting the cat onto antibiotics right away should stop an abscess from forming. Once there is an abscess, she might need an anesthetic in order to lance and drain the infection, which makes it much more invasive and expensive.
Fortunately, there is now an antibiotic that is ideal for giving to cats who are difficult to medicate. It is called Convenia and is given by injection. It last for 7 to 10 days, which is usually enough to resolve the infection.
Until you can get any bitten kitty in to see a vet (hopefully within 24 hours), the most helpful thing would be for you to apply a warm compress to the area. If you can find an area where she is tender or has some scabs or swelling, that would likely be due to a bite wound.
you have antibacterial soap in the house (Hibitane, Hibiclens or chlorhexidene soap would be ideal, hand soap is ok if you have nothing else) you can add about a tablespoon to a cup of warm water. Put a washcloth in, then wring it out. Hold the warm, damp wash cloth to the swollen area for 10 minutes, rewarming it every 2 minutes or so. Wipe the area with a plain wet washcloth and pat dry. The goal is to keep those puncture holes OPEN as Pasteurella bacteria don't like oxygen. If you let the holes scab over, then the bacteria will grow.
I also want to mention that there are NO human pain killers or fever reducers that you would have at home that are safe to give a cat. Aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are all very toxic to cats and should never be given! You can read more about them here:
Furthermore, I would not recommend topical antibiotic ointments as they likely will not be effective as it is the bacteria that are deep under the skin that cause the infection. So, applying a bit of ointment on the top of the skin is not likely to be helpful in any way. You are more likely to help with the hot compresses, but I do think the kitty will get much better much faster with a short course of antibiotics! Her lethargy suggests an infection of some sort!
I hope that this helps you to help this kitty!
If this has been helpful, please accept my answer and leave feedback.
If you need more information, just click on reply and I will be back to provide it.
The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.