Cats come with their own built-in grooming tools and a cleaning regimen befitting them. Due to this, your beloved feline’s coat should normally be shiny and sleek. But even with all that regular grooming, sometimes a cat’s coat and skin can show the signs of underlying problems you need to be aware of. If you notice a change in appearance, whether sudden or gradual, it’s time to check for symptoms of a variety of health issues you’ll want to attend to as soon as possible.
Skin Issues in Cats
Believe it or not, cats can suffer from dandruff and dry, itching skin just like humans. Among cats, old age can be the culprit or even a fatty acid deficiency or Cheyletiella mites could be the problem. All of these things can easily be treated with things like moisturizing shampoos, an uptake in foods containing fatty acids or a mite solution recommended by your vet.
Rashes & Acne in Cats
Yes, your kitty could be suffering from a rash or even acne. Rashes in animals are usually the result of allergies or an allergic reaction to fleas, commonly known as fleabite dermatitis. If, after a thorough investigation, you determine your cats to be flea free, then consider changing up foods. If it is fleas, then start using some sort of preventative on them and diatomaceous earth around the house or apartment, especially in areas they tend to frequent. Acne is commonly found in cats with poor grooming habits, an allergic reaction or sometimes stress.
Shedding or Hair Loss in Cats
All furry animals shed. That’s a given. But if you notice an unusual amount of shedding or localized hair loss, then something is probably up. While it may be something as simple as poor diet, schedule an appointment with your vet to rule out things like ringworm, severe allergies or hyperthyroidism. If the hair loss is primarily seen on the cat’s tail, especially if there are lesions accompanying it, then overactive tail glands could be the culprit. Also known as “stud tail,” this is a condition best addressed by your veterinarian.
Feline Grooming Habits
Over grooming and under grooming both present their own problems. The first problem can be brought on by any number of things, including stress, food or environmental allergies, to something more serious. If the behavior is severe or compulsive, seek the advice of your vet. A dull coat, on the other hand, could be from your cat’s inability to groom properly. This could be caused by old age, as arthritis and loss of normal flexibility increase, or even issues stemming from excess weight. But you could be contributing to the problem, too, by over bathing them or by providing a diet lacking in proper nutrition.
When to Consult Your Veterinarian
Anytime you notice changes in your pet's health or condition that cannot easily be explained away, it is time to consult with your veterinarian. If it begins as a minor matter and you decide to try OTC products and you don’t see an improvement in the time outlined in the packaging instructions (usually a matter of days) for healing, or the problem worsens, then it’s time to consult your veterinarian. Doing so can save you tons of money and often your pet’s health from declining. Don’t worry about being perceived as being a helicopter pet parent. They’re your babies. Take care of them like you would family.