If you’re one to sit and cuddle with your cat, you’ve likely found yourself admiring her soft, shiny coat from time to time. You’ve also probably caught her in the middle of her extensive self-care routine on multiple occasions, as cats are incredibly self-sufficient when it comes to grooming.
Changes in the appearance of your cat’s coat can be an indicator of health problems including allergies, stress, illness, and parasites. In fact, your cat’s fur and skin can tell you a lot about her overall health from the inside out.
Common Cat Skin Problems
Problems with your cat’s skin and fur are relatively easy to detect. Whether you’re noticing changes in your cat’s behavior or changes to your cat’s coat, signs of skin problems tend to be fairly visible.
Common cat skin problems include:
- Hair loss
- A dull coat
- Dry, flaky skin
- Oily skin and fur
- Sores, scabs, and rashes
- Lumps and bumps
- Parasites such as mites, ticks, and fleas
Depending on the specific issue in question, these symptoms could be either causes or effects of additional health problems. For example: hair loss could be a result of overgrooming, which may be a sign of stress, or itchiness. Hair loss could also be due to excessive shedding as a result of seasonal allergies; it may also be caused by nutritional deficiencies, or other health problems.
What’s Causing Your Cat’s Coat Problems?
To narrow down the culprit of your cat’s skin and coat problems, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your cat have any underlying health conditions?
- How long has your cat been showing signs of skin problems?
- Is this a recurring issue? Does it happen at certain times of the year?
- Does the issue seem to progress or improve over time?
- How old is your cat? Could she be having difficulties grooming due to joint issues?
- Do other pets in your household have similar skin and coat issues?
- Does your cat spend any time outdoors?
- Is your cat on any medications which may be contributing to skin-related side effects?
- Have you taken appropriate steps for flea and tick care?
- What kind of food does your cat eat?
Are there any potential stressors at home?
If you’re unable to determine the cause of your cat’s skin and coat problems, your vet will be able to help, as tests may be necessary in order to confirm a diagnosis and recommend the right treatment options.
Caring for Your Cat’s Coat
While most cats can care for their coats on their own, some may need some extra assistance from their owners—especially if there are underlying health issues that need to be addressed.
Diet and Supplements
While grooming and external skin care are vital to the health of your cat’s coat and skin, think of your cat’s nutrition and mental health as ways to care for your cat’s coat from the inside out. The healthier the cat, the healthier the coat.
For starters, make sure your cat is eating a balanced diet which consists of high-quality food. After all, you are what you eat. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need to eat a diet full of meat-based protein. Add some of Pet Honesty’s Digestive Probiotics+ Powder for Cats to your feline’s food for added immune and digestive support.
Consider adding supplements to your cat’s diet as well. For example, Omega fatty acids can support your cat’s skin and coat from within. Pet Honesty’s Fish Oil Pack consists of Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil and Wild-Caught Omega-3 Fish Oil, both of which promote healthy skin and coat along with joint, heart, and brain health.
Even if your cat spends all of her time indoors, it’s still important to use flea and tick preventatives. After all, a home is not a sealed environment, and you never know what visitors or other pets may bring into the house.
Because excessive itching and overgrooming can both be signs of stress, try to minimize your cat’s stress as much as possible. Make sure she always has a safe space to escape to, whether it’s a cat tree or perch that’s out of reach from other pets, or a snug space to hide in such as a cardboard box. You can also talk to your vet about possible stress-relief treatment options, including medication or behavioral therapy.
Of course, we can’t forget about grooming! In addition to the self-grooming your kitty does with her tongue and paws, she can always benefit from regular brushing. Brushing helps to remove loose fur and dead skin cells; not only does this help to minimize shedding around your home, it also helps to reduce the amount of fur she ingests… which means fewer hairballs. Brushing also helps to distribute her natural skin oils throughout her coat, keeping it soft and shiny. Plus, it’s a great chance for you and your furry friend to catch up on quality time.