Does your cat have a shiny coat, or is it dull? Is the skin moist, or too dry? Here you will learn some factors that are important if you want to improve a cat’s coat and skin condition. Kitty does a great job of grooming, but at times help might be necessary.
Why Isn’t Kitty’s Coat Shiny?
You can discover a number of ways that might be causing a dull coat, or dry and flaky skin. This list might give you some clues
Poor Nutrition: If you want your cat to have healthy hair, skin, and body, you must first make sure that you feed a diet that has a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Poor quality food becomes less easily digested, and may be short on necessary minerals and vitamins.
Choose a good-quality cat food, not the cheapest kind you can find. Make sure it contains everything your cat needs to maintain his health. Often, you will find that just changing kitty’s diet can make a big difference to coat and skin.
My kitty, Mocha, presents an excellent example. When I adopted him from the shelter, he had only been there for about a month. The “cat-nabber” had picked him up as a stray. When he came home with me, his fur was coarse and had no sheen.
I fed him a good-quality diet. You can find several good foods on the market. My choice was Hill’s Science Diet. The amazing thing to me stemmed from the change I witnessed in him. Now, his fur is soft as silk, and has a natural sheen. What a difference just the change in diet created!
Weight Problems: An overweight or obese cat can show a decline in condition of fur and skin that occurs because kitty cannot reach every part of his body due to additional weight. Such a difficulty leads to a dull coat that looks like it needs some extra care…and, of course, it does.
The issue of the cat’s avoiding obesity proves most important. Not only will his coat and skin gain in health, but he will avoid a number of health conditions that could occur if he becomes too fat.
These health conditions present a scary list. He could become prone to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, osteoarthritis and joint degeneration, or urinary bladder stones. Of course, you don’t want your cat to suffer with any of these, so keep his weight down.
Age: Just as with many people, when cats age, they can become less flexible. Arthritis can plague them. They can’t twist and turn like they used to, so their grooming suffers. Thus, your cat, normally quite fussy about thorough grooming, succombs to pain brought about because of age.
Bathing too often: Well, here’s one Mocha won’t have to worry about, because I will not bathe him unless it becomes absolutely necessary. Sometimes people who try to control dander or foil fleas will bathe the cat. Too much bathing makes YOU the cause of kitty’s disheveled appearance.
Helpful Hints For Keeping Skin And Coat Healthy
This list will furnish you with ideas for helping kitty keep his coat healthy. He has a big job, and if you can make his task easier, that’s a good thing.
Give regular grooming: As kitty’s tongue and paws can only do so much, help him out by brushing and combing him regularly. This process will keep that coat clean and free it of dead hair and mats. In the process, if ticks or fleas present a problem, you can check to make sure there are none.
Also, you can check for skin issues, abnormal shedding, or unusual bumps. Consider yourself fortunate if your kitty enjoys the grooming process. Many cats do. Mocha, not so much. I have to wear gloves and keep treats handy, or he will grab me or bite.
If needed, give an occasional bath: An occasional shampooing will truly benefit kitty’s coat. Be sure to use a shampoo designed especially for cats. If I tried to bathe Mocha, I would use one of those dry shampoos. I don’t think I could hold him in a tub of water.
Make sure he has a good diet: As already mentioned, make sure you feed your cat a diet that has all the nutrients he needs. If you do not do so, the results will show up in his fur. Avoid foods that contain grain, as these are harder for kitty to digest. His body does not do carbohydrates well.
Watch for fleas and other parasites: If you have such problems with your cat, research for solutions and ask your vet. Don’t let these hitchhikers riding in your cat’s fur get the upper hand.
Try to keep kitty stress-free: Yes, stress can affect kitty’s coat. For one thing, if he’s often anxious or stressed, he can lose fur rather rapidly. If he becomes super stressed, he may develop alopecia, a condition where he pulls out his fur.
I rescued my last cat, Pogo, from the shelter after he’d been there several months. The place stressed him out so badly that he pulled all the fur out of his stomach and in lines down his legs. After he moved in with me, he began to relax and return to his old happy-cat self.
For the first few months, when he went to sleep he would sometimes dream he was back in that place, and he’d start tugging at his fur. I’d stroke him gently and speak softly and lovingly, and he’d finally relax and go back to a peaceful sleep. Stress can cause many wicked things to happen.
Don’t Make These Mistakes When Brushing Your Cat
Okay, so you have now learned that there is great value in brushing your cat. However, here are some things you need to know in order to do the job correctly.
First, realize the importance of brushing kitty. You see the cat grooming himself constantly and think he’s doing a good-enough job. Just put yourself in the cat’s place. Even though you might find the grooming job satisfying, there’s a lot of cat to cover with just his tongue.
It’s especially true for an older cat. He does not have the energy that he had when younger. He now needs some help, especially if he’s shedding a great deal.
Make sure you have the right tools for the job. If your cat has long hair, use a wide-toothed metal comb. Also try a pin brush to remove loose hair after you comb. If the cat has short hair, try one of these: A wire slicker brush; a grooming mitt; a rubber curry brush; or a fine-toothed comb.
Brush in the direction the fur grows. An occasional cat groomer feels that brushing against the direction of the cat’s coat works best, but it can pull too much on the fur. It might earn you a swat from kitty.
A better suggestion: Use a hair dryer after you brush and comb. This tool will remove any loose fur. You can use it against the coat because it will not hurt kitty.
Sometimes mats are so hard and tangled that you cannot remove them easily. These become a project for a groomer. You might hurt your cat if you attempt the job yourself.
Respect Your Cat’s Comfort Level
If your kitty is relaxed and enjoying the grooming session, that’s great. If the cat becomes too agitated or becomes obviously uncomfortable, stop and try again later.
Sometimes I have to use this technique with Mocha. He will only tolerate so much. When he reaches the end of his patience, he lets me know, and I stop.
Realize, though, that grooming sessions are very important, and find a way to implement them. You will help kitty’s coat and his appearance, and he may even enjoy the process.
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