It’s no secret that if you are a cat person, you adore your cat (or several cats – it’s hard to stop at just one!). Because our graceful pets give us so much pleasure, we need to do everything we can to keep them happy and healthy. One basic indicator of your cat’s health is the condition of his skin and coat. Healthy skin is supple and free from discolorations, rashes, or other abnormalities. A coat in good shape is shiny, clean, and dandruff free. Here are five skincare tips to keep your cat’s skin and coat in tip-top condition.
1. Feed the Best Diet
An inadequate balance of nutrients will adversely affect your cat’s skin and coat. Your cat’s diet should be suited to his age, health, and activity level. The food in his bowl should be rich in digestible proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. Several nutrients, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, play a prominent role in skin and hair vitality.
2. Don’t Neglect Flea Prevention
If your cat has itchy skin, he will scratch or lick to get some relief. This can result in wounds and bald patches. Common reasons for itching are fleas and flea allergies. Outdoor cats, in particular, should be treated with a regular flea preventative explicitly made for cats. There are also other parasites that directly affect the skin and the coat. Bacterial and fungal infections may also cause skin and coat abnormalities.
3. Practice Good Grooming Habits
We all enjoy watching our cats groom themselves, especially when they wet their paws and wipe behind their ears. However, grooming your feline will help remove excess dead hair, dirt, and dust from the coat and promote shine (not to mention the purrfest!). Additionally, coat care provides the opportunity to keep an eye out for any problems – fleas, ticks, lumps, swellings, skin disorders.
Mats- Regular brushing and combing can help prevent mats from developing in long-haired cats like Persians and Maine Coons. Mats pinch the skin and can be uncomfortable. They may also lead to skin infections and hair loss.
4. Shampoo Your Cat for Certain Skin Conditions
If your cat requires special skin care and it’s necessary to bathe him, use a shampoo labeled for cats – avoid any shampoo containing tea tree oil which is toxic to cats. Cats generally are not very cooperative (to put it mildly!) when it comes to bathing, so instead try wiping down your cat with a cool, damp rag. This will help remove airborne allergens such as mold spores, dust mites, and pollen.
5. Watch Out for Stress
Hair loss from excessive licking (psychogenic alopecia) may have a psychological cause – high levels of anxiety or tension. Stress increases the risk of more serious conditions, including idiopathic feline lower urinary tract disease. Your home should provide places where your cat can retreat and feel safe.
Skin problems in cats are often a sign that something significant is going on, so if you notice any skin or coat abnormalities, take your feline friend to your vet for diagnosis and treatment. Skin problems don’t usually rise to the level of emergencies, but if your cat does need emergency care and you live in the Columbia SC area, don’t hesitate to rush him to CVETS.