What Makes a Shiny Coat

Jun 4, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

“Doctor, she seems OK to me, but I see all these white specs on her back, she looks all rumpled, and she won’t let me comb her at home….”

What did your veterinarian say about your cat’s coat during the last checkup?

If your cat has dandruff, a dull or unkempt coat, that’s just not right. Help is on the way!

With the exception of those darling Devon and cute Cornish Rex cats that look like they just came from the beauty parlor where they got a perm, or those velvety-skinned “naked”  Sphinx, a cat should normally have a smooth and shiny coat, and it should glisten when basking in a sunbeam and after your cat grooms itself.

What does it mean if your cat’s coat is dull?

We know that cats normally groom themselves to keep their coat clean and to remove the dead hair. They have little barbs on their tongue that act just like a hairbrush that many of us use every day. If your cat isn’t doing that, the dead hair will build up and can become matted, sometimes so severely they have to have their whole body shaved down to the skin!

Why does that happen?

There are many reasons your cat’s coat might be lacking its luster:

  • Pesky Parasites – Even indoors cats get fleas and other parasites. Make sure your cat receives safe and effective monthly preventatives as recommended by your veterinarian for your cat.
  • Dental Disease – If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know that mouth pain can prevent you from doing your normal activities. And while you don’t lick your skin, the same is true for cats, and dental disease is so common in our feline friends. Make sure your veterinarian checks for this and you follow their recommendations
  • Arthritis – 90% of older cats show signs of arthritis on x-rays- yet often don’t show outward signs that we recognize. If it hurts to bend like they need to when giving themselves a ‘tongue-bath,’ they just won’t do it!
  • Skin Irritations – can be caused by all different allergies- everything from pollens and other environmental allergens to parasite reactions to food and medicines.
  • Internal Illnesses – Stealth diseases like diabetes, intestinal problems and thyroid conditions can routinely cause problems with cats’ hair and skin.

What should I do?

Don’t guess or get your answers from “Dr. Google”- your veterinarian is the expert can perform a thorough examination of your cat which will find the reasons for dandruff, a dull or matted coat or any other external problems you can see. Then they can prescribe the best course of action or treatment– whether that’s parasite treatment, special shampoo, a supplement or other medication; your cat is an individual!

Finally- remember, even if everything looks OK- just because you can see it, it’s best to make sure  by having your veterinarian  examine your well cat twice a year- for life!

Dr Jane Brunt

Dr. Jane Brunt, founder of Cat Hospital at Towson (CHAT), is the pioneer of feline exclusive practice in Maryland. She received her DVM from Kansas State University (go, Cats!), and since 1984 has advocated the necessity of an outstanding facility and staff dedicated to practicing the highest quality of cats only care and medicine at CHAT.

She is a Past-President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association. In 1997, Dr. Brunt was named one of Baltimore’s “Top Vets” and featured on the cover of Baltimore Magazine, and in 1998 she served as Chair of the Host Committee for the AVMA Annual Convention in Baltimore (attended by a record 8,000 veterinary professionals and supporters), receiving several awards and accolades. A national advisor on feline medicine, she is also an active supporter of local, state, and national feline organizations, especially of the new generation of veterinary professionals.

Building on her clinical cat commitments and organizational passions, she serves as the Executive Director of CATalyst Council, a not-for-profit coalition of organizations and individuals committed to changing the way society cares for cats, “Promoting the Power of Purr…” across veterinary, sheltering, and public/civic communities. She owns a wayward standard poodle named Luka and three hilarious, keyboard-keen cats- Paddy, Freddie and CAT Stanley!

Cat Hospital at Towson
6701 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21212

Phone: (410) 377-7900
Email: cathospital@catdoc.com

Website: http://www.catdoc.com/
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