Grooming Your Cat & Caring for Skin & Coat
Beauty is only skin deep, but with cats, their fur and skin are also clear indicators of how they're feeling inside and out. Lack of proper nutrition, infrequent grooming and illness can all negatively affect your pet's skin & coat. Take a look at our tips below to see how you can keep your cat feeling their best.
The right look and feel
Each breed has its own ideal look and feel, but all healthy cats should sport a glossy, mat-free coat. Dull, brittle and patchy coats can be an indicator of an underlying problem, so it's important to pay attention to your cat's coat and catch problems early on. Always take your cat to the veterinarian if you notice any of these signs or if you find them self-grooming to the point of hair loss.
During the summer, your cat's coat will begin to change and shed. Cat shedding is a year-round occurrence for most cats, but with outdoor cats, shedding is more noticeable in the spring and summer.
The best way to stay ahead of hair loss is through regular brushing. Grooming your cat often will not only allow you to control shedding in your home, it will also prevent matting that leads to irritated and itchy skin. Regular grooming also helps ward off cat hairballs.
A grooming session is the perfect time to examine your pet's body for skin problems. Always keep an eye out for bumps, rashes, discoloration, flakes, scabs, unusual odor or greasiness. Detecting problems early on is the best way to prevent certain issues from developing or getting worse. Don't hesitate to call your vet if you notice something unusual.
Something else to look for is the dreaded flea. The easiest way to tell if your cat has fleas is by finding the parasite itself or noticing black specks on your cat's skin. Few things in the world can make your pet more miserable than fleas, so if you notice either of these signs, call your veterinarian and start treating the problem immediately.
All cats shed, but if you begin to notice excessive shedding, chances are it's caused by something other than the changing seasons. If your cat's shedding starts to create a noticeably thinner coat or bald spots, it's important to call your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian can check for any of the following issues:
- nutritional deficiencies
- high stress or anxiety
Help on the homefront
The first step to treating a problem with your cat is seeing it. Through daily brushings and regular bathing you can keep an eye on your pet's body and easily identify any changes. Monitoring your cat's behavior is also important, especially when it comes to eating habits. A balanced diet is one of the most effective ways to protect your cat's coat health, so make sure to feed high-quality food.
When to call your veterinarian
Be on the lookout for lethargy, appetite loss, bald spots, skin irritation, excessive scratching or a noticeably thinning coat. These are all valid reasons to call your veterinarian for a visit.
How the veterinarian can help
After reviewing your pet's medical history and examining the body, your veterinarian may conduct skin tests (fungal cultures or skin scrapings) to determine the root of your pet's issues. If your veterinarian cannot find the reason for your pet's ailment that way, nutritional supplements, a change in diet or a special shampoo can help.