What is the purpose of a cat’s fur?
Fur helps insulates your cat and regulate temperature.
Fur acts as a buffer between harmful objects and surfaces. Fur helps prevent the skin from being injured, which is important because a cat’s skin is thinner than human skin, for example.
Fur is used as a form of defense when a cat feels threatened. When cats want to appear bigger to a threatening animal or person, a cat will cause his back fur and tail fur to stand up straight. This makes the cat appear larger and also alerts the opposition that the cat is mad or upset.
A cat’s fur is one of the best external indicators of health. A healthy cat should have shiny, soft, and clean fur. Fur that is dull, dirty, matted, or falling out is an indicator that there is a potential problem with your cat’s health.
What does dull, dirty, matted or falling out fur indicate?
- Poor nutrition is a cause of unhealthy fur in cats. Your cat may not be getting the balanced diet it requires, or may be lacking certain vitamins and minerals. Like humans, cats require a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Also, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat meat.
- A skin condition may cause symptoms in the fur. Your vet can determine if this is the case.
- Your cat may not be able to clean herself efficiently if she is overweight or elderly.
- Washing your cat too often can cause your cat’s skin and fur to dry out, because you are washing away the natural skin oils that lubricate the fur.
How can I improve the health of my cat’s fur?
Changing cat food can help to improve your cat’s nutrition and therefore, their fur. You should ask your vet for suggestions about well-balanced brands of cat food.
Regular brushing helps to remove loose fur and dirt from your cat’s coat, while spreading the natural skin oils through the fur. Brushing also helps to prevent matting in long haired cats.
If these methods don’t work, you should take your cat to the vet, in case your cat has a skin condition that requires treatment.
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!