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How to Tell if Your Cat Has a Double Coat: 3 Expert Tips

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

scottish fold cat lying down

Cats come in all different shapes and sizes. Some have one coat and others have double coats. A double coat means that a cat has a protective layer of fur that will keep them warm even in the coldest situations. There are a few things that you can do to determine whether your cat has a double coat. From there, you can figure out how best to take care of your cat’s overall health, safety, and happiness. Here is how to tell if your cat has a double coat and how to care for them no matter what kind of coat they have.

The 3 Ways to Tell if Your Cat Has a Double Coat

1. Feel the Fur

The best way to tell if your cat has a double coat is to feel their fur with your hands. If your cat has a single coat, you will likely feel only a silky, smooth, and fine set of hairs on their body. However, if they have a double coat, you should feel a thicker and coarser set of hairs underneath that fine hair. You can best feel this bottom coat by lightly massaging your kitty’s back, head, or belly.

You should feel that the hair beneath the longer, finer coat is denser in nature. It is designed to insulate your cat and help keep them warm when it is especially cold outside. Double-coated cats can handle warm weather, but you may notice that they prefer to hang out in the cool and dark areas of the house.

cat and children
Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

2. Consult a Vet

If you are not sure whether your cat has a double coat or you just want verification from a professional, it is a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. Your vet should be able to tell you whether your cat has a single or double coat. They can also let you know whether your cat grows fur, hair, or a combination of both. This is important because you can gauge your cat’s maintenance requirements on the type of fur or hair that they have.

3. Make a Plan

Once you have determined whether your cat has a double coat, you can start making plans for their grooming maintenance. There are different grooming requirements for a cat with a single coat vs. a double coat. The length of the outer coat will play a role when it comes to grooming requirements too.

woman writing up a plan
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay


Cat Coat Maintenance

Here are the basics when it comes to single- and double-coated cat maintenance.

Single-Coated Cat Grooming Maintenance

  • Combing or brushing once a week
  • Occasional bathing, only if your kitty gets dirty
  • Monthly ear cleaning

Double-Coated Cat Grooming Maintenance

  • Combing or brushing several times a week
  • Regular bathing to get rid of debris, toxins, and viruses
  • Weekly ear cleaning


Most Common Types of Cats That Have Double-Coats

Maine Coon cat sits on snowy frozen path
Image By: Konstantin Zaykov, Shutterstock

Some cat breeds are known for having double coats, so if yours is on the list of these breeds and you suspect that your cat has a double coat, you are probably right. Still, it is a good idea to get a second opinion from your veterinarian. Here are common cat breeds with double coats:

This is not an exhaustive list of cat breeds that can grow double coats. So, just because your cat is not any of the listed breeds does not mean that they don’t have a double coat.

Do Double-Coated Cats Shed More Than Single-Coated Cats?

You can expect double-coated cats to shed more than single-coated cats, simply because they have more hair. However, this does not mean you cannot control the shedding of a double-coated cat in your home. If you comb or brush your cat daily, you are less likely to see hair, fur, and dander floating around on the flooring and furniture of your home.


Final Thoughts

Double-coated cats are beautiful animals, but they require more grooming commitment than single-coated cats do. If after following the steps in this guide you still cannot determine whether your cat is double-coated, you should assume that they are and treat them as such. Daily grooming and close attention to matting and knots are essential.

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Featured Image Credit: Diachenko, Shutterstock

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