Even though we do not spontaneously associate a particular body function with skin, it plays a significant role in the various functions of a mammal’s body. Skin, the largest organ of the body, safeguards the internal organs and muscles and protects your cat’s body against external pathogens. The hair coat is a part of the skin, which is composed of layers of epithelial tissue, blood vessels, hair follicles and sebaceous glands. It is also one of the most vulnerable of all organs.
A cat’s skin can be damaged in a number of ways:
- Injury, especially during fighting with other cats
- Erosion of skin due to friction and rubbing against a rough surface
- Secondary infection in response to injury
- Immune mediated diseases
Cats are very efficient in taking care of their skin. They use the antiseptic properties of saliva to cast off dead skin and debris, and remove parasites that lay on the surface of the coat on their own. Cats also rub their skin against various objects to massage and activate oil-producing sebaceous glands to keep the skin moist.
Despite all this, your cat needs your help as some conditions like cat dandruff and feline acne cannot be controlled by your cat’s self-grooming. Listed are some activities that you should perform on a regular basis to ensure that your cat’s skin stays healthy:
- Groom your cat regularly and look for lesions, signs of allergic dermatitis and feline hair loss. Be careful and look for abnormalities that were not there before. Pay attention to the ears to see if there are any ear mites that may have infected the cat.
- Train your cat to accept regular grooming. External parasites like fleas or ear mites can ruin the cat’s skin and lead to secondary infections. Look for an effective flea-control method to keep the environment clean.
- Although cats do not require bathing, sometimes it becomes necessary to remove excess dead skin. Use a mild shampoo and dry your cat immediately.
- Brush the coat regularly. It will distribute the skin oils evenly, remove excess hair and also loosen dead skin. Matted hair should not be ignored. Ease the matted hair gently with fingers or a brush. If it cannot be untangled easily, cut the hair ensuring that you do not injure the skin. If your cat is a long haired breed, clip the hair regularly to avoid stubborn clumps of matted hair.
Cat and dog skin problems appear as minor aberrations but can potentially develop into major medical conditions. Paying attention to small things will help to avoid such an eventuality. Trimming nails regularly will ensure that your cat does not hurt her skin by scratching. Many times there is an underlying serious medical disorder behind harmless-looking feline hair loss, a lesion or a lump, all which if noticed and attended to in time may save the life of your cat.