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How to look after your cat’s skin & coat
When it comes to looking after your cat’s skin and fur, good cat coat care is imperative. Their outer appearance is much more than just for looking nice, it can actually play a big part in their general wellbeing, which is why keeping it healthy is so important. This can include regular grooming, checking over their body for any issues and providing them with a full range of balanced nutrition to help from the inside. This may sound like a lot of effort, but can easily be integrated into your regular care routine and is a great way to help prevent any potential cat skin conditions.
How to tell if your cat’s skin & fur is healthy
Your cat’s overall coat and skin condition is a good indicator of their general health and wellbeing. Their skin should be supple and clear and a healthy cat coat should be shiny and smooth to the touch. If, however, you notice their skin is getting red, irritated, greasy or flaky and their fur is becoming tangled, matted, coarse or brittle, then it is time to do something about it. If you think you’ve noticed the signs or symptoms of one or more cat skin conditions, then it is definitely time to take action as soon as possible.
What are cat skin problems?
Just like with people, our furry-friends can also suffer from a number of feline skin problems, which is why cat coat and skin care is so important. These can vary depending on the type of coat, for example, long-haired cats are more prone to matting and hidden parasites whereas short-haired felines can be more susceptible to allergic reactions on their skin from direct contact, but are usually easy to spot if you know what to look out for.
Common cat skin conditions
|Skin Issue||Where||Symptoms||Cause||How to Help|
|Skin Allergy (Allergic Cat Dermatitis)||Anywhere on the body||Red, itchy rash all over or on contact with the allergen||Anything your cat is allergic to e.g food, pollen, products||Avoid the allergen & soothe the skin|
|Feline Acne||On and around the chin||Small spots and redness||Poor grooming, stress or a reaction to medication||Proper grooming plus a protective & cleansing shampoo|
|Yeast Infection||Most commonly in the ears||Scratching at the ear, yellow discharge & redness||Excessive yeast growth||Antibacterial ear cleaner|
|Ringworm||Usually on the head, ears, and forelimbs||Round skin lesions with redness and flaky patches||Fungal infection||Antifungal and antibacterial cat skin creams and washes|
|Alopecia (Hair Loss)||Anywhere on the body||Excessive shedding, bald patches & hair loss||Stress, fleas, poor nutrition or illness||Regular grooming & good nutrition|
|Fleas||Anywhere on the body||Visible fleas, excessive scratching or licking & scabs||Parasites||Pest prevention & control products|
|Ticks||Anywhere on the body||Visible tick in the skin||Parasites||Pest prevention & control products|
|Ear Mites||Ears||Visible mites, redness, inflammation, strong odour, scratching & head shaking||Parasites||Pest prevention & control products and an ear cleaner|
|Lice||-||Visible lice, scratching, restlessness & hair loss||Parasites & dry skin||Regular grooming & pest prevention & control products|
How to prevent cat skin conditions
If your cat is already suffering from some sort of cat skin infection or issue, then the best thing to do is take immediate action, depending on the specific problem. If you think it is serious, it could also be advisable to visit your vet to get their diagnosis. The best way to offer thorough cat skin care, however, is to look after their skin and coat on an ongoing basis to prevent any cat skin conditions from occurring in the first place. You can do this by making sure they are regularly cleaned, groomed and checked over and that you provide them with a healthy balanced diet.
Nutrition for healthy skin & coat
A beautiful, and more importantly healthy, skin and coat starts from within, which is why you need to ensure your feline-friend is consuming high-quality food and that you’re supplementing their diet with added skin-loving nutrition. Here are some key components of a healthy diet that you should be giving your cat daily for a healthy appearance:
Most of your cat’s skin and hair is made up of proteins, or chains of essential amino acids, so it is vital that you keep these levels up for good health and maintenance. Proteins can be found in animal-based ingredients such as meat, fish and eggs as well as plant-based ingredients such as potatoes, grains and seeds.
When a lot of people hear the word ‘fat’, they usually think of something negative, but good fats can actually be very positive for your cat in the right amounts. One of the most important of these is an essential fatty acid called Omega 3. This contains beneficial DHA and EPA and is found in fish oils such as salmon and cod in addition to foods such as flaxseeds.
There are a whole variety of vitamins that are beneficial for your cat’s skin and coat and their body overall. Some of these include Vitamin A and B which contribute towards normal skin, Vitamin C which can support the immune system and Vitamin E which is known to protect cells from oxidative stress. These are found in a number of foods and in potent concentrations in pet supplements.
In addition to vitamins, there is also a range of minerals that can help with achieving and maintaining your cat’s healthy skin and fur. These include Copper, which can help protect cells from oxidative stress and hair and skin pigmentation, Selenium for maintaining normal hair and Zinc for the metabolism of fatty acids as well as protein synthesis.
Cat skin treatments
Dealing with a sore, irritable and itchy cat is never fun, so when looking for ways to treat your cat’s skin, there are a few routes you can try. The first is medication from your vet, but these can have a number of harsh and unwanted side effects. The second is using natural remedies to help your cat’s skin and fur such as using apple cider vinegar against annoying pests and coconut oil as a hydrating cat dry skin treatment.
A perhaps simpler option, but still as beneficial, is to use natural products specifically designed to help your cat’s skin and fur. Their benefits and uses will depend on the specific need, but you can find natural topical products such as soothing shampoos and washes as well as supplements designed to care for their skin from within. These are a great way to give your cat’s nutrition a boost, especially if they cannot receive all they need for beautiful fur from their regular food and diet. Overall though, if you want your cat to have healthy and beautiful skin and fur, make sure that you regularly groom and check them over and give them the right nutrition either through food or supplementation - it doesn’t have to be too difficult!