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Cats are known for having beautiful fur coats, whether their fur is long or short. Pet parents often want to maintain healthy skin and a healthy coat for their beloved pets. While cats do self-bathe, there are steps that pet parents can take to promote overall health with an emphasis on skin and fur.
This is especially important for cats with long or thick fur. Older cats may also struggle to groom as carefully, so brushing is increasingly important with age. Pet parents should plan to brush their cat’s fur once or twice a week. Benefits of regular brushing include:
Removing skin flakes
Stimulating blood flow
Removing dirt and oil
Reducing loose fur and tangles
Before brushing, pet parents should run their fingers through their cat’s fur. Identify any areas of concern. Examples include matted fur, tangles, knots, or sores. Pet parents should pay special attention to their cat’s chest and belly. Work through tangles gently and avoid any particularly tender areas.
Skip brushing and trim away the excess fur for really tough tangles or matted patches. It’s easy for areas of matted, tangled fur to get worse if not addressed early. Start slow if a pet cat is new to brushing or combing. Work up to longer grooming sessions as a cat adjusts to the sensation of brushing or combing.
Bathing is also part of cat skincare. Most cats groom themselves and don’t need a water and soap bath. If a cat gets too dirty, it’s OK to give them a bath. For outdoor cats that get dirty regularly, grooming may not be enough to remove dirt and grime from a cat’s thick fur. Pet parents that do offer intermittent baths should use a cat-safe shampoo.
Cats can develop allergies to pollen, food, fleas, and much more. Just like in pet parents, cat allergies can lead to skin irritation. Cats love to scratch dry, irritated skin to get relief from the itching. Unfortunately, scratching causes more damage to their sensitive skin. Pet parents that notice frequent scratching should address the reason to prevent future irritation.
Frequent scratching can lead to even more skin irritation and open wounds. Tips for preventing skin irritation due to allergies include:
Keeping cats inside
Ensuring that food isn’t contributing to an allergy
Offering a cat flea and tick preventative regularly
Pet parents may be tempted to pick up a cheap bag of cat food at their grocery store for their pet cats. They may not even grab the same brand of food each time in an attempt to introduce variety. These practices are detrimental to overall cat health, especially for healthy skin and coat.
Talk to a veterinarian about cat food brands. Pet parents should choose a reputable cat food brand with a specialized formula based on their cat’s individual needs. Consider a cat’s age, weight, and health concerns when choosing a food. If pet parents supplement dry food with canned cat food and treats, those should also be trustworthy brands. High-quality cat food is crucial to maintaining healthy skin and coats for cats.
Fish oil, also called welactin, is good for healthy skin and coats in cats. There are instances when a pet parent’s food and supplements are safe for cats, but not always. Don’t offer a cat human supplements. Instead, shop for one that’s just for cats. Pet parents should choose a reputable brand specifically for cats.
Read labels in pet aisles carefully because there are also fish oil supplements for dogs, which may vary. Follow dosage instructions carefully. It may take a few days or a week for pet parents to see a difference after beginning a supplement. Allow some time before expecting to see an improvement in a cat’s skin and coat following irritation.
A cat’s skin and coat don’t just make them beautiful. The health of a cat’s skin and fur reflects overall health. Skin irritation can lead to fur loss, open wounds from scratching, and infections. It can also be a sign of other serious health conditions, and pet parents should pay careful attention to a cat’s skin and coat and prevent irritation. For additional support or questions reach out to the Fuzzy’s veterinary team. They are available 24/7 to offer suggestions for a cat's health and wellness.