As a cat lover, you would have noticed how your cat can spend hours grooming her lovely coat. Nature intended it that way by supplying her with all the right equipment to take care of her coat – from a flexible spine to manoeuvre herself to reach just about anywhere, to a barbed tongue to clean her fur. Teeth remove sticky dirt and her front paws complete the task where her tongue can’t reach.
But all that relentless grooming will help nothing to ensure that her coat is healthy if she doesn’t receive nutritional food. “Food plays an important role in coat condition as most of the required elements for a healthy coat are consumed through the diet, thus nourishing from within,” explains Suretha van Breda, technical manager – Premix, Trouw Nutrition.
So it is crucial that your cat consumes important nutrients, and all of the essential supplements should be contained in her food. “A balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is essential, as well as vitamins and trace minerals with biotin, zinc, copper and selenium playing a major role,” says Suretha.
She adds that there are various supplements, mainly in oil form, on the market that can assist with a healthy coat. “All of these mainly contribute to the omega-6 and omega-3 requirement. Oils high in omega-3 are especially helpful in giving a healthy, shiny coat. However, a scientifically balanced and complete commercial diet should not need any further supplementation – especially if you feed your cat a diet designed to promote a healthy coat,” advises Suretha.
It can take anywhere between four to eight weeks into supplementation to see a difference in your cat’s coat, but in some cases, it can take a bit longer, depending on the coat condition prior to supplementation.
One factor that influences your cat’s coat condition is stress. If she stresses too much, she might lick herself excessively, which causes hair loss. See your vet for professional help.
Nobody likes creepy-crawlies like ticks and fleas, and neither does your cat. The constant itching might drive you both up the wall. Have her on a good tick and flea prevention programme and remember to deworm her regularly as well.
Another source of constant itching is allergies. Consult your vet for an allergy test to determine the source of your cat’s allergies, so that she can be treated accordingly.
Some longhaired breeds need extra help in the grooming department with regular brushing. Don’t allow your cat’s fur to become matted, as brushing will be very painful for her. But even if her hair is shorter, regular brushing will help her coat to shine, as the natural oils in her coat will be redistributed