A good indicator of your cat's health is the condition of its coat and skin. If the coat is healthy, it should be smooth and shiny, not brittle or coarse. If their skin is healthy, it should be clear and supple, not bumpy, flaky, or greasy. Nutrition and health influence your cat's coat from the inside and regular skincare and grooming influence the outside no matter which type of hair coat your cat has.
How to Care For Your Feline's Coat and Skin
Cats are graceful pets that give so much pleasure, and it's important to keep them as healthy and happy as possible. Keeping their skin healthy is important when caring for your feline, by making sure it is free from discoloration or rashes and remains supple. A feline's coat is healthy when it is clean, shiny, and dandruff free. These are some tips for caring for your feline's skin and coat.
1. Pet Shampoos for Skin Conditions
If your cat has special skin, it may require pet shampoos labeled as only for felines or cats. When choosing pet shampoos for your cat, ensure they do not contain tea tree oil as this is toxic to cats.
Because your cat may not be receptive to being bathed, as typically cats do not like being placed in or underwater, you might want to try wiping them down with a damp, cool rag in-between bath times. Wiping them down regularly will reduce the number of times they will need full bathing and remove airborne allergens such as dust mites, pollen, and mold spores from their skin and coat.
2. Practice Regular, Good Grooming Habits
Cats are known for keeping themselves groomed, but this doesn't mean a little additional attention isn't needed. Practicing regular, good grooming habits with your cat to remove dust, dirt, and dead hair from their coat by brushing or combing. This also helps control hairballs.
Because your cat may not be receptive to being bathed, as typically cats do not like being placed in or under running water, you might want to try wiping them down with a damp, cool rag in-between bath times. Wiping them down regularly will reduce the number of times they will need full bathing and remove airborne allergens such as dust mites, pollen, and mold spores from their skin and coat.
3. Use Flea Prevention
Scratching and licking are signs your cat's skin is itchy. The licking and scratching, however, can cause bald patches or wounds on their skin. The main causes for a cat to begin scratching are either fleas or flea allergies. It is important to use flea prevention, especially if your cat is allowed outdoors so they do not become bothered by this parasite. Tapeworms can occur when a dog or cat ingests flea larvae.
Other parasites could also be irritating your cat's skin and coat. Fungal and bacterial infections can also result in coat and skin abnormalities. If flea prevention does not address your cat's scratching and licking, check with your veterinarian for other possible issues.
4. Good Diet
As obligate carnivores, your cat has a nutrient requirement for meat. There are a number of reasons why cats do not do well on a vegan diet, but essentially, they just aren’t designed for it. If your cat suffers from an inadequate balance of nutrients, it will adversely affect its coat and skin. Feed your cat a diet that is suited to its activity level, health, and age. The food you feed them should be rich in digestible proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fat. Several nutrients play a prominent role in a feline's coat and skin vitality which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Look for these nutrients on the label of your cat's food choices. Access to plenty of fresh water is always important.
5. Watch for Anxiety or Stress
Some cats suffer from psychogenic alopecia which causes excessive licking resulting in hair loss. This condition is caused by high levels of tension, stress, or anxiety. If your cat is subject to stress, it increases the risk of more serious conditions such as idiopathic feline urinary disease. You want to be sure your home provides a haven for your cat and that they feel safe and comfortable.
Skin irritations in felines can be related to dry winter conditions or even a lack of humidity in your home. Some irritations are caused by allergies to the pollen in grass, plants, and trees. Other irritations can come from biting insects, especially fleas. If after using appropriate pet shampoos, your cat's symptoms do not improve, check with your vet for a diagnosis and further treatment.