Most of us do not do a lot to monitor the overall health of our house cats until a problem such as loss of appetite or excessive urination is noticed. A healthy cat has a dense and soft fur and smooth pinkish skin underneath. The condition of your cat’s coat is not one of cosmetic appearance. Their skin and fur help them maintain a proper body temperature .It is also a measure of your cat’s overall health that is easy for owners to monitor.
Nutritional issues in your cat’s diet are easily seen in the condition of their coat and skin. This is because the skin and fur on your cat are the last part of your cat’s body to receive nutrients from the digestive system. If your cat is not receiving enough vitamins and minerals to maintain vital organs ; their bodies simply redirect the portion of nutrients that would go to their fur and skin to more vital systems.
Signs of illness affecting your cat’s nutritional intake can also be seen in the condition of their fur and coat. You may find that their fur becomes thin, falls out in patches, lacks luster, or becomes excessively greasy. The fur underneath the skin may appear scaly or oddly colored.
Your cat’s coat is constantly shedding. Cats that venture outdoors generally shed more in the spring and fall. Most indoor cats shed consistently throughout the year not just at the change of seasons. Long haired cats need to be groomed regularly to make way for new hair growth. Excessive hair loss in a long haired cat may be just a build up of shedding hair that a negligent owner has not removed with proper brushing. Regular brushing of your cat will keep their fun conditioned and less inclined to matting . Good grooming habits on your part can prevent many skin conditions.
Cats learn to groom from their mothers. Some cats who had very young mothers or who were orphaned may have poor natural grooming skills, if you live in a multi -cat household the other cats may be able to ‘make-up “for poor self grooming cats”. Other cats sometimes can be the source of the problem. I have a Persian mix that I could not figure out despite regular brushing was getting some rather dramatic mats of twisted hair that had to be cut out. Finally , I noticed one of the younger cats was” grooming” the half Persian cats by twisting her long hair. This problem still continues ,but I try to limit the grooming sessions between these two cats.
Excessive hair loss is a sign of a medical condition. It can also be a sign of stress. I have noticed that one off my long haired cats suffers hair loss right after we move. This problem resolves itself within a few weeks ,but knowing how and why your cat loses hair is important. When I foster cats I also keep them away from my other cats until I know they are free from any parasitic conditions or fleas that may affect my other cat’s health. If your cat goes outside and has a change to interact with strays , check your cats fur and skin often for little critters. Round worm and other conditions can be a greater concern than fleas.
Cats with chronic conditions may need you to pay extra attention to their fur by providing them with nutritional supplements. Just make sure that things like hair ball remedy aren’t contributing to the problem by making it hard for your cat to absorb vitamin D.
When your cat initially presents with a skin or coat condition it is best to consult your veterinarian . They can tell you if the problem is a simple nutritional , parasitic condition, or an indication of a more serious health issue. They will also be able to give you practical advice on how to manage or eliminate the coat and skin condition.
Sometimes cats, especially kittens get into things that are difficult to identify or remove from their skin or fur. In such cases I indulge these cats in a visit to the groomer. It usably is a one time trip and I am spared the drama of trying to give the cat a bath.
Good nutrition and brushing your cat will keep most cat owners from having issues other than the occasional flea infestation, in regard to their cat’s coat and skin.