If you’ve ever watched your cat groom herself, you know how carefully she keeps her coat clean. But as fastidious as she is with her grooming, sometimes her coat or skin change in appearance. If this happens, check for signs that could point to health issues. A few to watch for include:
- Dandruff – A variety of issues can lead to dandruff. Senior cats may develop it as they get older. It can also be caused by a low level of fatty acids in the diet or by Cheyletiella mites.
- Skin rash or itching – If your cat constantly grooms one area, seems to have an itching problem or a rash on her skin, she may have a food or flea allergy.
- Acne – This is usually caused by poor grooming, stress, an allergy, a reaction to medication or an underlying infection.
- Shedding or bald spots – It’s natural for cats to shed fur and indoor cats can shed year round. But if you notice she’s shedding excessively or has bald spots, have her checked for allergies, ringworm, hyperthyroidism, poor diet and other conditions.
- Hair loss or lesions on the tail – Also called “stud tail,” this is caused by overactive glands on the tail, leading to hair loss and lesions.
- Excessive grooming – Compulsive grooming may be due to an underlying problem, ranging from stress or an allergy to a more serious health issue.
- Dull coat – Is her coat losing its usual shine? It may be that your cat can’t groom herself well because she’s overweight, arthritic or less flexible due to age. Other reasons include poor nutrition or being bathed too often.
To keep your cat in the best health, have any changes in her fur or skin checked out by a veterinarian. Look for unusual behavior as well. If her skin looks normal, but she’s licking, scratching or biting herself excessively, a vet visit is recommended.
Stop by your local store for cat care products that support good cat health.