Cat Skin Care Basics

Cat skin care can help keep your cat's skin and fur healthy. There are some simple, general guidelines of skin care that apply to all cats, even the hairless breeds. Here's what you should know about cat skin care.

The Principles of Cat Skin Health

The state of your cat's skin and coat reflect the state of his overall health. Healthy cats rarely have skin or coat problems. Their skin remains soft and their coats thick and shiny.

Parasites, including fleas and intestinal worms, can affect your cat's skin health; preventative medications can keep your cat's skin and coat looking its best. Improper nutrition can harm the health of your cat's skin and coat. Make sure your cat has an adequate, balanced diet. Routine grooming can not only prevent problems, such as matted fur, but can help you detect any skin problems which may be affecting your cat while they are still in their early stages.

Cats seldom require bathing, as they usually clean themselves. If your cat needs a bath, use a mild shampoo. Rinse well and dry him quickly with towels; most cats won't tolerate the noise of a hair dryer, but if yours isn't perturbed, you can use one on low heat.

Cat Grooming Basics

Train your cat to accept grooming from an early age; the younger your cat is, the more willing he'll be to accept training. If it isn't possible to begin training your cat to accept grooming in kittenhood, don't despair. Older cats can still be trained, though you'll have to proceed much more slowly; the process takes longer and requires more patience.

Examine your cat's claws, teeth, eyes, ears and skin while grooming. Keep the nails trimmed to prevent your cat wounding himself accidentally. Practice good dental hygiene; again, begin dental training as young as possible, so that your cat accepts it more readily. Be alert for any swellings, lumps, bumps, lacerations or changes in your cat's skin or fur; report any anomalies you might find to your vet right away.

Making Cat Grooming Easier

Be patient when training your cat to accept grooming and dental care. If you begin to feel impatient, stop immediately and try again later. Becoming tense, angry, and losing your patience will only make your cat more resistant to the training process.

Stay patient when grooming your cat even after he's been trained. In spite of the best of training, your cat may not be willing to accept these procedures on a given day, for whatever reason. Stop the procedure and begin again later.

Don't neglect matted fur. When you find a mat in your cat's coat, tease it apart gently and comb it apart carefully. Mats can hide injuries and diseased areas, so you'll want to know what's under it. Always remove mats before bathing, as water will tighten the matted fur.

If you must cut out a mat with scissors, be careful not to cut your cat's skin. Long-haired breeds may mat so severely that mats will need to be cut away.