Cat Hair Type

by Heidi Clayton
(Portland, Oregon, United States)

I have 2 cats. One has a very shiny, smooth coat and the other has a very greasy coat. Just out of curiosity, what is the reason behind these cat hair differences?

Cat Hair Differences Editor Comment:

Dear Heidi,

Thank you for your question. There are number of reasons why a cat coat is greasy or oily. In some cats, this is normal, with their sebaceous glands secreting extra oily matter. This relates to the genetic makeup of that particular cat.

In other cases, a cat greasy coat can be a symptom of a health issue. Several infectious (parasitic & bacterial) and non infectious (endocrinal, metabolic) diseases can cause a greasy coat as a primary symptom in cats.

If you want to probe the exact cause of the greasy coat in your cat, you should consider the following,

1. Whether or not your cat has had a greasy coat since it was born, or has the condition developed over recent months or years. If your cat has congenitally more active sebaceous glands, it might be the reason for the cat coat problem.

2. Cats usually need more fat in their diet. Commercial diets for cats normally contain 20% fats. If your cat gets too much fat, it could lead to a greasy coat.

3. Has your cat exhibited
some extraordinary clinical features, such as polydipsia (increased thirst), weight loss, lethargy, intolerance, alopecia, polyuria (increased urination), eating excessively, metabolic disorder, allergy, parasitic infestations (mites, fleas etc), skin infections (bacterial, fungal) etc?

4. Age is another factor; many cats develop endocrinal diseases as they grow older. Similarly, some cats with even mild hyperthyroidism, diabetes etc (non – infectious diseases) can exhibit signs of a greasy cat coat.

If you haven’t noticed any extraordinary symptoms in your cat or if your cat hasn’t been infested or infected recently, then it is possible that your cat has genetically more active sebaceous glands in the base of the hair follicles.

Though it's normal, but you should control extra oily content over the skin, as it can cause some cat skin problems including allergies, infectious and reactions to environmental factors.

To help with the problem you can consider using a special herbal cleansing shampoo for bathing such as clean cat shampoo and revise your cat's feeding plan with reduced fat content.

In addition, you can use a natural tonic such as Skin and Coat Tonic, so that skin health is maintained and to reduce the chance of any secondary complications.

If you note any extraordinary symptoms, you must consult a veterinarian for a proper clinical examination and laboratory tests such as a blood test.

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