1. Hair Loss
Hair loss must be differentiated from the cat hair shedding. Typically, cats shed twice per year and this is a natural process of renewing the coat. However, if the hair falls out outside the shedding seasons, there might be something wrong with your cat.
Hair loss may be caused by:
•Allergies to food, medication or injections, flea bites, pollens, dust or chemicals or sun
•Parasites; these cause itchiness and the cat scratches and licks his coat excessively
•Boredom and loneliness
•Cushing’s disease (an excess of corticosteroids in the cat’s body)
•Cat skin rash
•Nodules or swellings on the surface of the skin
Typically, you will notice that the amount of dead hair is larger than usual and there might also be bald patches.
2. Unhealthy Looking Coat
When the cat’s diet is poor in nutrients, the coat may have a dull, unhealthy look. The skin and hair of the cat are perfect indicators of the cat’s health. If there are toxins in the body or the cat has an illness, the skin and coat will look unhealthy.
A dry coat may mean that your cat’s skin does not respond well to the shampoo that you are using. Opt for a gentle shampoo that contains oatmeal, as this ingredient can soothe the skin and give shine to the coat.
You need to visit the vet, because the appearance of the coat may be a symptom of a disease or a signal that you need to change your cat’s diet. A poor diet may also cause cat skin rashes and this may also lead to hair loss.
Add supplements to your pet’s food; opt for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that will benefit the coat and skin of your cat.
3. Greasy Coat
A greasy coat points to hormonal imbalance. If the thyroid gland is hyperactive, this will cause excessive secretion of sebum and the hair will look greasy. Thyroid imbalance also causes hair loss.
4. Matted Hair
Matted hair is more common in long-haired cats. In order to treat a cat for matted hair you will need a pair of scissors and a soft a brush. To prevent matted fur, you need to use a brush on a regular basis. You may also opt for a professional grooming saloon.
5. Change in Color
The cat’s fur may change color. Color change in coat may be caused by hormonal imbalance, food allergies or parasites, which all make the cat lick his coat more often than usual causing discoloration. The saliva of the cat causes the fur to change color in red or orange hues.
In rare cases, the growth of reddish tinges may indicate a severe problem such as protein loss, kidney failure, liver failure or intestinal disease.
Here is a very nice story from the Feline Express Website on dealing with a Persian Cat who has matted fur.
Mattie used to belong to Helen Taylor’s Southern California feral colony. “I had to make friends with her quickly,” Helen said. “Somewhere in her moggie-mixture, she must have Persian in her. Her long hair would mat every time I looked at her!” Mattie, a beautiful, grey and white long-haired cat is one of three socialized feral cats that Helen brought with her when she moved from California to Oregon.
Long-haired cats, especially those with the soft, fine, downy fur that Persians are known for need to be groomed daily. Although cats are excellent self-groomers, long-haired cats benefit from extra grooming care by their owners. If like Mattie, your cat has inherited the three types of hair commonly found on Persians; guard hair, awn, and down, without daily grooming, their hair will mat frequently.
Long-haired cats living indoors can shed all year round. During the main shedding season (springtime) when the weather turns warmer, the undercoat will loosen. The loose hairs if not removed by a rake or long-toothed comb will become entwined with the guard hairs. This process is the beginning of a mat. The mat then becomes a cat hair magnet-inviting other hair to join it. By the time all the invitations are issued, the mat can be quite large.
For stray or feral cats it’s common for these mats to accumulate under the tail and on the back legs. The reason is moisture (urine and feces) acting like glue, holding the hair together. Mattie’s rescue was critical because one of her mats effectively covered her rectum. She was unable to poop and pee until it was removed.
Never bathe your cat first before trying to remove matted furs. Instead, wait until after kitty has eaten, or after an intensive session of interactive play and kitty is tuckered out, then grab the box of cornstarch from your pantry, a pair of bandage scissors, a seam ripper, a fine tooth comb and a large pair of toenail clippers and sit by your cat.
Put a pinch of cornstarch on the mat and gently work it down into the hairs with your fingers. Pull the mat upward, without pulling the skin and using either the comb or your fingers, grasp the base of the mat above the skin. Helen suggests if the mat is starting to get out of control, to not use scissors, but instead use the seam ripper. Work from side to side (not up and down) to avoid accidentally stabbing kitty and begin to work the hair loose. Once the hair is loosened, use the comb and gently comb the hairs apart. If the mat is stubborn, use the toenail clippers to cut the mat. For smaller mats use a flea comb or a baby comb. Leave your wire bristle brushes in the drawer for mat removal.
To keep kitty calm during this process, play classical music for her. Talk to her in a soothing voice, and work carefully. Remember, her skin is going to be tender underneath all that matted hair. If she wants to take off on you, let her go. She comes prepared for battle her claws and teeth are formidable weapons. Try again later when she is once again relaxed.
Helen offers a great suggestion: “I alternate between combing Mattie’s hair with a comb and brushing her with a Zoom Groom. Because the Zoom Groom also delivers a massage, she lays still longer when I use both these tools on her. If I have to use scissors, I spray the scissors first with Feliway Spray. This helps keep her calm.”
The Dangers of Mats
Cat hair matting can cause skin infections, skin lesions and other pyodermas. The hair clumped together cuts off the oxygen to the skin creating a hot bed for bacteria. The dead hair traps dirt and debris. If the matted hair gets wet, this can be an open invitation for a maggot invasion. Lice and fleas can also take up residence at the Mat Motel making the host kitty quite miserable. If the mats are too large, too many or obstructing the rectum, kitty needs a vet now. A professional groomer can also remove mats. Some groomers work alongside vets so sedation if needed can be acquired. If the mats accumulate on the legs, over time, kitty will be unable to walk properly. If this occurs kitty needs to go to the vet, to be sedated, shaved and medicated. This is why you should start grooming your long-hair cat/kitten from the first day she arrives at your home.
Prevention means brushing your kitty daily. Although short-haired cats do not get mats, brushing them daily will help stop hairballs from occurring. If you own a long-hair cat, you should have on hand at all times- hairball medicine. There are also various quality dry foods for cats that help control hairballs and cat hair matting.
Helen, when she feeds her cats in the morning lays down a wide strip of Lax-atone on a separate plate. Her cats eat it up without a problem. “I stumbled on this technique quite by accident,” she said. “If I put it on their paws and smear it in, they either don’t eat it, or shake it all over the house. But giving it to them like this, they love it and it moves hair through their system. They also don’t try to paint my walls with it either!”
Daily grooming is the key to stopping mats from taking hold in long-haired cats. Brushing the hair helps prevent hairballs from occurring in both long and short-haired cats. Regular grooming sessions will also allow you a unique opportunity to bond.
Here are the five essential cat grooming tools according to caster.com, that will help prevent most cat hair matting issues.
“I love cats because I enjoy my home, and little by little they become its visible soul.” –Jean Cocteau One would hope that visible soul Mr. Cocteau is referencing would not include loose balls of cat hair, rolling around your floor like so many furry tumbleweeds. A groomed cat will yield a fur-free home and a contented pet. To achieve that goal, you need the proper tools.
There are more than five cat grooming tools, but the items that should be essential to any cat owner’s home include:
•Fine tooth comb
You might also consider purchasing a flea comb, but most cat owners today rely on monthly anti-flea control products such as Advantage or Revolution, or they keep their cats indoors permanently so they have no chance to encounter fleas.
Why Nail Clippers?
Nail clippers are inexpensive (usually under $10), easy to use and the quickest way to make sure your cat’s natural scratching tendencies don’t result in shredded upholstery or screen doors. A scratching post or platform will not be enough to keep the sharp tips from forming on your cat’s claws. The surgical procedure of removing the cat’s claws is never recommended and in many locations no longer allowed.
There are a variety of clippers to choose from but most fall into the “guillotine” safety tool bucket, where the nail is inserted into a small opening and a slight squeeze cuts the tip. Cat claw scissors are also available, and they generally have blunted ends to prevent cutting accidents for both pet and owner.
Types Of Brushes And Combs
There are dozens of brush types to choose from. Some are designed to groom specific types of cats (long hair vs. short hair for example) or to accomplish specific goals (remove dander or under coat). The bristles on a cat brush can be hard, soft, wire or pin type. A slicker brush is a flat rectangular platform covered with slender steel bristles. It can be used on all cat types and most cats love it. Cats groomed in the same place every day with this tool learn to seek for it and they practically beg to be brushed. If cats were dogs, they would fetch this tool and bring it to you while you are watching Animal Planet.
Rubber grooming pads and grooming gloves that fit over the hand are also available. These provide a chance to massage your cat’s skin and they are effective at removing dead hair from cats with short coats. Combs are effective too. They are either fine-toothed (sometimes known as a flea comb) or wide tooth. It may be necessary to work slowly with a comb and sprinkle talcum powder to gently work hair mats out of a long-haired cat’s coat.
Time To Start Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth
Many owners who faithfully brush their kitties’ teeth several times a week may not know that cats require dental care, just like humans. Here’s a great wake-up call: cats that have heavy deposits of tartar, tooth decay and possible gum disease will need a trip to the vet for professional cleaning and dental procedures. This will require general anesthesia, pain killers and antibiotics. Afterwards the owner will be presented with a bill for approximately $500 or more. A toothbrush and paste kit will cost you less than ten dollars and will help kitty’s dental health if used a few times a week. You do the math.
Alternative Grooming Products And Tools
•Soft claw nail products: Caps that humanely fit over your cat’s claws. Labor intensive to install, especially if the cat is not cooperating, but they come in a variety of colors and could be fun for holidays.
•”Peticure” type electric nail trimmers: You’ve probably seen these demonstrated on TV. The product works, but it is difficult to learn proper usage. Some cats can’t tolerate the electronic noise.
•Pet wipes and sprays: These are moist disposable towels and sprays that can be used for a quick touch up or in place of a full bath. They help reduce dander and some contain Aloe Vera and/or Vitamin E to keep you cat’s coat soft and shiny. They are always non-toxic and safe for kitty.
Sometimes you purchase all the right grooming tools and use them faithfully on your beloved cat, yet still find yourself heading off to work covered in cat hair. When that happens it’s time to invest in the sixth most essential cat grooming tool: a lint roller for the owner!
Many people wonder about cutting cat hair, especially if their cat has long hair, and especially in the summer time when it’s hot out. It’s generally not necessary to cut your cat’s hair, though. Your cat’s hair can actually help keep her cool. It protects her skin from the sun. Cats don’t sweat, so they need that protection. It keeps her from getting sunburned, as well.
We do not recommend using anything sharp near the skin of your cat. A cat’s hair is like tissue paper. Many owners have actually cut their cats skin without knowing it, particularly when grooming mats.
Cat Hair Matting Home Remedy
If your cat’s fur gets matted and you can’t untangle it, or she gets something stuck in it, you might have to do a little trim. If you need to use scissors, use blunt scissors (so you don’t accidentally cut her if she doesn’t cooperate and hold still for you) and cut the affected fur away. Regular grooming should prevent matting from becoming a regular problem. One home remedy for matting is to rub a good amount of corn starch (bakery kind is fine from supermarket)) on the mat. Keep the corn starch on the area for fifteen minutes. Then comb it out.
A helpful aide is the Oster Home Grooming Kit which comes with an instructional DVD. It should not be used for first time grooming, but good for maintaining the groomed look after you had a professional cut your cat’s hair.
Cat Hair Clippers
Some long-haired cats have problems with their bottoms. They may get feces caught in their fur. If this is the case, you may want to cut the hair on your cat’s bottom. You shouldn’t have to worry about her getting sunburned there, and you don’t need to cut a large area. You’ll use electric clippers for this job, not scissors. Read on to find out how to do it, but if you can use a professional groomer since cats in general do not like sitting still for grooming.
If you are going to be cutting cat hair, use electric clippers that are especially designed for use on pets. Turn them on and let your cat get used to the sound. Let her sniff them. You can also buy scissors made specifically for cat trimming such as Millers Forge pet trimming shears or a cordless electric trimmer for head and face such as the Wahl Stylique® Designer/Liner Pet Trimmer.
How to Cut Cat Hair
Sit with your cat in the crook of your arm and use your arm to pin her to your side. Hopefully she’ll stay put, and you’ll be less likely to get scratched this way. Realize, though, that your cat may not want a hair cut and may be less than cooperative.
Use the cat hair clipper to cut your cat’s hair, moving them in the direction that the hair grows. This is important, as you’ll be less likely to nick your cat’s skin this way.
If for some reason you are cutting cat hair on a large portion of your cat’s body, you may find it helpful to stop partway through to give both of you a break, then resume again a short time later.
Of course, you can always take your cat to a professional groomer for a hair cut, if one is necessary. Ask your vet to recommend a qualified cat groomer in your area.
You might also want to consider the appearance of your cat’s coat. One approach would be to try a natural dietary supplement made for this purpose.
Cutting cat hair shouldn’t be necessary if you are combing and grooming your cat regularly. A cat’s skin is very delicate so using anything sharp to cut hair can be dangerous. Consider using blunt scissors or a professional groomer, if cat hair matting becomes an issue.
Cat shedding is an unpleasant aspect of owning a feline. All cats shed hair, even if there are certain breeds that have longer hair or shed more. To prevent excessive accumulation of cat hair in your house, there are a few grooming techniques that you can use. Using these grooming techniques can also prevent cat hair matting and maintain your pet’s healthy condition.
Increase Grooming Frequency
The grooming frequency should be increased if you are bothered by the amount of hair in your home. If you groom your cat once per week, you should try grooming him twice or 3 times per week.
Cats perform a regular cleaning, which will reduce the number of hairs he will shed, but if your cat is sick or he is obese, he will not be able to perform the grooming himself.
When grooming your cat, make sure you cover all areas of the body and collect the dead hairs in a single area, making sure to dump the get rid of the hair afterwards.
A bath may also eliminate a lot of loose hair, so that the cat won’t shed in your home. Consult your vet to see how often you can bathe him. The cat will shed less if he is clean and his skin is healthier.
Use Only Suitable Supplies
Your cat may need supplies that are suitable for his coat and hair length.
The brushes, comb and gloves you use when you groom your cat shouldn’t irritate the cat’s skin, as this can result in dry skin and excessive shedding.
Using a grooming glove can quickly eliminate dead hairs and will massage the cat’s skin, improving the blood flow, resulting in less shedding.
You may also use a shedding blade if the cat has matted fur or a lot of dirt in his coat. Use this tool prior to brushing.
Get natural shampoos, as shampoos that contain too many chemicals may make your cat shed more.
The Direction of Brushing
When brushing your cat, you may brush starting with the tail and progressing to the head. In this manner, you will remove more loose hairs and there will be fewer loose hairs remaining on the cat, so he won’t shed these in your home.
The brushing and grooming should be performed outdoors, as this will make sure that the dead hairs won’t land on your carpets and furniture.
Improve the Cat’s Diet
Many cats may shed due to a poor diet, which makes the skin dry. You should get informed on the cat’s nutritional needs and make sure you provide the proteins, fats and fibers he needs.
Don’t forget about some essential nutrients that will improve the skin and coat’s quality:
•Omega 3 and 9 fatty acids
In some cases, your cat may be affected by a medical condition causing excessive shedding. Visit the vet regularly and perform routine tests to make sure your pet is in good health.
As a veterinarian, I know that keeping your pet well groomed helps to keep them healthy.
In between visits to the groomer, pet owners should brush their long-haired cat or dog; otherwise mats appear. Ignore the mats and they start to hold moisture and grime against your pet’s delicate skin which can result in a skin infection under the mat. Pets’ nails must be trimmed on a regular basis, otherwise an overgrown nail can tear into the paw pad, causing pain and infection.
Recently, several of my clients have expressed concern over several tragic stories in the news about dogs being injured while at the groomer. While I have no personal knowledge of these particular cases, I do have some suggestions for pet owners to help ensure a safe and beautifully groomed pet:
1. Do your homework
Ask friends and colleagues who grooms their pets. Visit the grooming salon. Is it clean or does it have a bad odor? Do the dogs look beautiful and their owners look happy as they are leaving? One person I talked to choose a salon with a glass viewing panel which allows owners to unobtrusively watch grooming as it happens. Not all groomers are willing to have you watch. Not because they are hiding something, but because your little darling behaves better on the grooming table when you are not there to distract him.
2. Talk to your groomer
Has it been a long time since the last pedicure or doggy up-do? Warn the groomer your dog may be out of practice on the grooming table or her nails maybe need limited trimming since the nail quick lengthens when the nails are untrimmed and a full trimming may cause bleeding. Does your dog have warts or little skin tags? Point them out to your groomer in advance to prevent them from being nicked by the clippers. Maybe your dog is anxious at the groomer. If so, be prepared to cut the session short. In some cases, your veterinarian can prescribe medication to help your pet cope better.
3. Listen to your veterinarian
Is your dog a “fraidy cat?” Some veterinarians offer grooming as a service to their clients. For the frightened dog, this facilitates sedation and a quick comb-out. Sedation is safest in the veterinarian’s office, where the medical staff can monitor the pet while it is being groomed.
Some medical conditions impact grooming. Does your pet have diabetes? If so ask your veterinarian how to advise the groomer to be prepared in case a hypoglycemic attack occurs during the salon session. Hairy small breed dogs are those commonly in need of professional grooming and are also breeds commonly affected by a collapsing trachea. These dogs should not be placed in a heated dog dryer. The same is true for dogs and cats with squashed faces like Bulldogs and Persians.
4. Maintain a regular grooming schedule
Professional grooming can transform your underdog to a wonder-dog, but without some maintenance work at home, your dog will quickly become shabby. Daily brushing will keep long-coated dogs and cats from matting, but short-coated pets benefit from the use of a deshedding tool like the FURminator®. These professional quality tools help remove hair, which decreases the accumulation on your sofa and helps prevent nasty, soggy cat hairballs on your floor or bed. Frequent deshedding helps decrease cat hair matting and in turn helps those with allergies to pets. If you have a new puppy or kitten, start early, teaching them good grooming habits by trimming their nails one paw at a time and brushing them daily.
Use a mat comb if a regular rake or brush doesn’t remove cat mats. Learn how to use a mat comb from a veterinarian in this free pet care video.
Cat Grooming: Removing Mats — by ehow.com
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Using a cat brush can promote healthy skin and hair growth. However, sometimes a cat refuses to allow himself to be brushed and may even lick the brushing locations immediately after the brush is removed. Brushing a cat can prevent cat hair matting of the fur and promote the natural oils of the skin to flow giving the coat a shine. It also gives a cat owner an opportunity to inspect the skin and fur up close for any parasites, lumps or open wounds.
Cats naturally groom themselves, licking the coat and licking their paws first and then rubbing the paw against the coat they cannot reach. The process is disrupted with a cat having de-claw surgery since the claws have been removed and he is unable to “rake” the fur clean.
Step #1: Getting The Cat Used To Brushing
Some cats will try to play with the brush as they are being brushed or they will nip at the brush in annoyance. By starting a brushing routine when they are kittens will get them used to the routine of brushing and they have learned to enjoy brushing. Introduce the brush to the cat by allowing the cat to sniff it and perhaps paw it.
Cat hair or fur protects the cat’s skin from foreign objects, insects and temperature and enhances the sense of touch. There are four types of hair. The thin awn hairs within the coat, protects and insulates the body. The secondary hairs of the undercoat control temperature. Guard hairs are longer and coarser and insulate and act as a sense of touch. Whiskers act as sensors on the cat’s face.
Since there are different types of hair, there are different types of brushes. Use a comb style brush first to rid the fur of insects and dirt that may have accumulated in the fur. This will also allow you to inspect the skin for any abnormalities.
Step #2: Removing Loose Hair And Dander
Use a brush next to capture the loose hair and dander. Brushing promotes the flow of natural oils in the skin to permeate the coat to bring out its shine and to promote healthier skin. It also reduces the incidence of hairballs since the hairs loosened by the cat’s grooming are deposited into the brush rather than into the cat’s stomach. This will keep shedding to a minimum as well. Brushing also reduces the amount of dander (airborne particles) by “capturing” them in the brush rather than allowing dander to be thrown into the air for people to breathe in and possibly causing an allergic reaction.
Step #3: Get Down To The Skin
Use a slicker brush to “grab” the dense coat loose hair and to stimulate the natural oils process. Cats have two types of hair, which are made of protein: a fine coat lies closer to the skin for insulation from the cold and for waterproofing and a longer outer coat, which is indicative of his breed. Two or three hairs grow from the same hair follicle, giving density to the coat, a characteristic unique to cats. Shedding is a healthy way the coat rids itself of loose or dead hair, which regrows. Longhair cats need more extensive grooming to prevent their hair from getting mated, which can then attract bacteria, parasites and dirt. Brushing will keep the coat healthy and prevent cat dermatitis.
Since sunlight and artificial lights affect shedding, indoor cats shed throughout the year while outdoor cats shed in the spring and fall. Shedding is caused by the new hairs pushing the old hairs out of the hair follicle. If a cat sheds too much or too often, it is best to consult a veterinarian.
Do you have a long-haired cat as your pet? There are many people that love these cats but have to constantly contend with cat hair matting issues. There’s no doubt that to groom your long-hair cat on a daily basis is indeed a good idea.
Having a cat with long hair is definitely a challenge for any pet owner. Not only does your cat have long hair but the textures of the fur can be different also.
That is why it is imperative that you learn some important cat grooming tips to help you. This will make the grooming experience more enjoyable for you and your cat. Here are the most important tips you need to know.
1. Groom your cat on a daily basis because this will help to keep your pet’s coat tangle free. Not only will they feel better of course they will look better as well.
2. Always start grooming with a soft brush and work your way from their head to their tail only brushing in the direction that their fur is laying. Be very gentle when brushing their belly and tail.
3. After brushing with a soft brush it is a good idea to use a wide toothed comb to groom them. This will help to loosen any knots or get out matted hair.
4. Some breeds of long-haired cats also need to have their eyes kept clean. Some cats have fluid that will not drain through their tear ducts properly and this will cause what is known as weeping. Always check their eyes and clean them if needed.
5. When your pet is showing signs that they have had enough grooming then stop. Don’t try and force them to finish it. Instead you want to stop for now and try later when you and your pet are more relaxed.
6. To prevent fleas it is a good idea to finish the grooming by using a narrow toothed comb to brush your cat.
7. When first starting grooming sessions it is a good idea to start with short sessions. This will let your cat keep them from getting bored and let your cat get used to being groomed.
These are the most important tips that you need to know to groom long hair cats. In order to keep them healthy and looking good always remember that your cat needs to be groomed on a regular basis. These cat grooming tips will make it more enjoyable for both you and your pet.
By Anna Oftedal