Other than being a delight to touch, a cat’s coat is vital in protecting your pet and giving him valuable sensory data.
So when your cat’s coat loses its shine, it will not only leave him with dull-looking fur, but it will also affect his health. Even if your cat is meticulous in caring for his fur on his own, he will still need extra care to maintain its health and shine.
Below are effective solutions for bringing back your cat’s glorious, shiny fur.
1. Check with your vet first
To identify the cause of your pet’s fur problems, it’s important that you first head to your local veterinary clinic or hospital and have an animal care specialist check your cat’s condition. It’s never a good idea to rush into changing your cat’s diet or switching to different medication, supplements or supplies without even getting your vet’s opinion.
A dull coat and dry skin may be symptoms of parasites, allergies, or infection. However, it can also be an indication of a more serious disease, which is why it’s crucial to have an initial consultation with your vet. By doing so, your vet will also be able to examine your cat and prescribe the right medicine from their animal pharmacy, if needed.
2. Deal with obesity
If your cat is overweight, it can also affect his coat. For instance, if your feline friend is suffering from dandruff down the center of his back, he may have a hard time reaching these areas to clean them. A cat that is heavy beyond normal can become a less flexible feline.
Extra weight can also put your pet at risk for several chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and even cancer. If your vet tells you that obesity is behind his dull coat, the first thing you have to do is reduce his weight. Ask your vet for the right exercise and lower-calorie diet for your cat to ensure a proper and sustainable weight loss routine.
3. Help with grooming
When a cat is growing older, he may need your help with grooming more and more. A senior cat may be too tired to clean himself properly, which results in dry skin or a dull coat. In this case, the renewed health and shiny coat of your feline friend all lies in your hands.
Brushing your cat’s fur often is the ticket to a soft coat. Use a fine-toothed comb that can dig down and catch the dull hairs that a normal pet brush can’t reach. Brushing or combing actually helps stimulates the hair follicles, distributing natural oils throughout your cat’s fur and skin.
4. Bathe infrequently
Unlike humans, it’s not advisable to bathe your pets too often. Washing your feline frequently can cause dry skin. Consider bathing your cat only at times when his coat is extra dirty, such as when he is covered in something sticky or grimy that’s hard for your pet to groom on his own.
Once you bathe your cat, make sure you have all the cat supplies needed to condition his fur. Consider the following tips before you push through with bath time:
- Brush your cat’s coat to eliminate knots and prevent them from shrinking in the water.
- Run the water in the bath (high enough to reach the cat’s belly) before you bring your pet in. The less motion and noise made during bath-time, the less pressure there is for your cat, especially if he dislikes taking a bath. Gently lower your cat in the water and reassure him with soothing words and physical contact.
- Place cotton balls in your cat’s ears to prevent water from going in.
- Don’t pour the water directly on your pet’s head or try to submerge him in it.
- Test the water first to make sure it’s not too cold or too hot for your pet.
- Once you start lathering shampoo, be extra careful around the eyes, ears, and face. Rinse the fur completely after you finished as residues can irritate the skin of your pet.
- When you take your pet out of the water, wrap a towel around him and pat the fur dry. As much as possible, don’t use a hairdryer as it can burn your cat’s skin.
5. Boost nutrition
Your cat’s skin and coat mirror what is going on inside his body. Once your pet’s skin becomes dry and the fur becomes dull, the first thing you should check is his diet. Compared to dogs, cats need more protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats to stay healthy and maintain a shiny coat.
A cat diet that is low in fat or that contains mostly generic and poor quality food will cause a dull coat. Consult your vet regarding the best cat food he can recommend before letting your pet take any supplement.
Once you talk to your vet first about your cat’s fur condition, everything else will follow. Keep in mind that you can’t just diagnose your cat on your own. Unless you’re a professional veterinarian, don’t put your pet’s health at risk; bring him to a vet clinic and get advice on the most effective solutions for restoring life back to your cat’s coat.
Dr. Max Spicer is the Managing Partner and Senior Veterinary Surgeon at The Veterinary Hospital in Dubai. He has taken strides towards providing comprehensive service by hiring veterinarians that are flexible, approachable, and highly specialised in their respective fields.