Cat owners know that there are few things in life more enjoyable than settling down to a good cuddle session with our furry friends.
When a cat decides that you’re their person, and allows you to pet them to your heart’s content, life is good.
But, commonly, our feline pals experience skin and coat issues that prevent them from enjoying their owner’s touch as they normally would.
Cat skin conditions can greatly affect a cat’s comfort. It’s important that we, as pet owners, are aware of signs of skin conditions that require veterinary care.
So, what can we look out for to ensure that our cats are comfortable in their skin?
What Causes An Unhealthy Coat?
An unhealthy coat can appear dull, unkempt, show signs of dandruff and make our cats itchy.
Here are some factors that can affect the health, and appearance, of your cat’s coat.
If your cat is overweight, they may have difficulty grooming themselves properly.
This can result in cats being unable to reach their backs and the base of their tails.
If they can’t clean those areas, cats can develop dandruff and dull looking fur.
Just like with humans, if your cat has dandruff, you might notice flaky skin, as well as your cat trying to itch those places.
If you’re concerned that weight issues are preventing your cat from properly grooming, consult your vet about switching your pet to a healthier diet that will support weight loss.
It’s important to remember that cats need to lose weight slowly, and making any drastic changes to their diet can have harmful effects on your pet.
Your vet will be able to advise you on what dietary changes will best suit your cat.
Cats have issues with flexibility as they age.
Poor flexibility, made worse if your senior cat has arthritis, may stop your cat from being able to groom as efficiently as they could when they were younger.
Or it might be that they can’t reach it without significant pain, so they forego grooming that area.
You can help your pet groom as they age by brushing them regularly.
Fine-toothed combs will work best for grooming your cat because their bristles are capable of grabbing onto the dull hairs that need to be removed.
You can also help your aging cat keep their coat healthy by asking your vet about adding omega- 3s to your pet’s diet.
A poor diet can drastically affect the health and appearance of your cat’s coat.
Cats require a well balanced diet, consisting of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
If your cat does not have a well balanced diet, their coat can appear dull, and their skin can be dry and itchy.
Switching to a high quality food that will provide your cat with the nutrients they require
can help alleviate those issues.
Along with recommending a well balanced high quality food, your vet may suggest adding fish oil supplement to your cat’s food.
These supplements can help restore the shine to your cat’s coat, and help ease dry, flaky skin.
Before you change your cat’s food, or add any supplements to their diet, make sure to consult your vet.
5 Common Cat Skin Conditions
This common ailment can cause your cat to be incredibly uncomfortable.
Cats that have fleas can be seen scratching their irritated skin.
Some cats are especially sensitive to flea saliva and excessively itch and scratch themselves when bitten by a flea.
Treatments for fleas often consist of topical, oral, and environmental products.
Your vet may also suggest that you clean furniture, carpets, and other surfaces in your house that are susceptible to flea infestations along with treating your pet.
In general, humans don’t get infested with fleas, but the occasional stray flea may still bite you if your cat has them.
2. Environmental Allergies
Like humans, cats can suffer from environmental allergies.
Your cat can experience allergies to dust, pollen and/or grass.
If your cat has allergies, you might see them rubbing their face, scratching their ears and armpits, chewing at their skin, and over grooming.
Your vet will be able to properly diagnose your cat’s allergies and suggest the best treatment for your pet.
Again, as with humans, allergies can require lifelong treatments so getting help from a vet will greatly impact your cat’s comfort.
3. Feline Acne
Feline Acne, also called ‘comedones’, are blackheads that are found on a cat’s chin.
All cats, no matter their breed, age, or sex, are susceptible to having feline acne.
In some cases, cats suffering from feline acne will experience itching and hair loss in the affected area, but it is common for there to be no further symptoms than the visible acne.
If you notice lesions on the skin, itching, and/or hair loss, bring your pet to a vet for a checkup since they could be suffering from feline acne.
In the meantime, make sure their water and food dishes are clean – sometimes these can lead to feline acne.
4. Ear Mites
Ear mites are most common in kittens but can affect cats of any age.
A cat suffering from ear mites might be seen shaking their head, or rubbing or scratching at their ears with their paws.
Ear mites are very contagious so it’s important to you seek veterinary help for your cat right away if you suspect they have ear mites.
They can be spread easily, and quickly, between cats so your vet may suggest that each cat in multiple cat homes is treated if one cat is diagnosed with ear mites.
Topical treatments and/or ear drops are commonly prescribed by vets to clear up a case of ear mites.
Ringworm is a fairly common fungal infection but it can be difficult to detect in cats.
A cat suffering from ringworm can have scaly skin, patchy hair loss, and/or round thickened patches of skin with hair loss in those areas.
Your vet can help you determine if they have ringworm, and what to do about it.
Some common treatments include anti-fungal shampoos and oral anti-fungal medications.
Book An Appointment At Bickford Park Animal Hospital
If you have any concerns about the health of your cat’s skin and coat, book an appointment at Bickford Park Animal Hospital.
We’ll work to diagnose your cat’s woes, and provide you with a treatment plan designed to get them feeling back to their normal goofy self.
Call us today to book an appointment at Bickford Park Animal Hospital.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.