A Cat’s Glossy Coat
Cats are supposed to have healthy coats not only to look beautiful — although that is a fringe benefit — but because it reflects their inner health. If you think your cat’s fur could look better, that’s not vanity, but wise parenting to pursue remedies.According to Jennifer Copley, healthy cats are fastidious by nature. When a cat’s coat loses its glossy shine, he should be taken in for a veterinary check-up to rule out serious illnesses and chronic, painful conditions such as arthritis that make grooming difficult.
Why Cats Develop Dull Coats
Common causes of dull coat in cats include:
Allergies (usually to food)
Eating grain-heavy cat foods, which can lead to malnutrition
Failure to groom due to depression
Illnesses such as liver disease, kidney disease, autoimmune disease, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes
Pain resulting from injury, illness, severe dental disease, or arthritis
Weakness or exhaustion due to old age
I’d add one more cause: stress. A stressed-out cat is likely to have a dull coat. One of my cats had dry, brittle, straw-like fur upon meeting him at the pound, but it was glossy and soft as silk within a couple of days of becoming part of the family! The crowded, chaotic, caged lifestyle of the pound didn’t suit him at all. Given his own home, his coat reflected his inner peace. The moral of this story is please don’t pass up a terrific cat based on their coat’s condition.
Ways to keep your cat’s coat shiny include:
- Feed a high-protein diet (premium wet foods should provide this – check the label to make sure the first ingredient – and preferably the second as well – are animal proteins, not by-products, wheat, or corn).
- Supplement your cat’s diet with Omega-3 fatty acids/fish oil (check with a veterinarian before supplementing, and use a product designed specifically for cats).
I can attest to the effectiveness of the above. One of my kitties had fish oil twice per day, applications of conditioning spray and bathing foam, and regular baths/showers with shampoo and conditioner containing avocado oil. His coat was so plush, shiny, and light-catching that no one believed he was geriatric nor ill. He maintained kitten-textured fur right up until crossing the rainbow bridge. Our vet technician said he’d never seen a cat of such advanced age with such an unbelievably youthful coat.
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