Kitten Coat and Skin Care: Tips for Purrfect Coat Condition
From healthy kitten to happy cat
A healthy, shiny coat on your kitten is a good indicator of healthy skin and overall wellbeing. Providing the right diet, clean and comfortable living conditions, and regular gentle grooming should all help to keep your kitten’s coat and skin in tip-top condition as they grow into a happy adult cat.
However, kittens can develop skin conditions caused by food sensitivities, allergies, parasites, mites or over-grooming.
Pay attention to the condition of your kitten’s fur and skin, and watch out for these common warning signs:
Nutrition for coat and skin health
Good nutrition is the root of good health. Your kitten needs a proper balance of nutrients to keep their skin and coat in good condition.
The cat food you choose should be appropriate for your kitten’s age range and activity level, as well as any special health requirements. It should provide a mix of digestible proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins. Skin-friendly nutrients like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are especially important for skin and coat maintenance.
Speak to your vet about the best nutritional support for your kitten.
Grooming promotes a healthy coat
While kittens and cats groom themselves daily, giving them some extra help can boost their skin health and coat condition.
Brushing your kitten gently and regularly helps to remove dirt, dust and excess dead hair. This prevents troublesome hairballs and knots. It also gives you a chance to check for fleas, ticks, lumps, rashes or any kind of skin problem.
Here are some tips for grooming your kitten:
Short-haired kittens and cats typically require brushing no more than once a week. Long-haired breeds may require more regular grooming. Speak to your vet for detailed grooming advice.
Itchy flea bites will cause your kitten to scratch and lick, which can lead to broken skin, bald patches and even infections. Some kittens also develop an allergy to flea saliva. This is called flea-bite hypersensitivity or flea allergy, and it causes itchy crusty spots on the skin.
Make sure you use a regular flea prevention treatment made specifically for felines, especially if your kitten often spends time outdoors.
If you notice any bites or signs of excessive scratching or licking in your kitten, contact your vet for a check-up. Your vet can prescribe a remedy to relieve the irritation and treatment to get rid of the fleas. Make sure you also treat your kitten’s bedding and your home environment, to stop flea bites from becoming a recurring problem.
Your kitten’s ears and eyes
The condition of your kitten’s ears and eyes can also give you clues to their overall health. Be sure to gently inspect them for anything unusual when you play with your kitten.
Scratching, head-shaking and lowered ears are all signs of ear irritation. Waxy grey or dark brown deposits in the ears may be a sign of mites, which should be treated by your vet.
Your kitten’s eyes should be clear and bright, with no discharge. Stickiness or discharge could be a sign of allergies or an infection. Contact your vet if you notice unusual discharge around your kitten’s eyes. You can remove sticky or crusty build-up by bathing your kitten’s face very gently, using warm water and a soft cotton pad.
Problems like hair loss, skin irritation and behaviours like excessive licking can be caused by heightened stress or anxiety. Stress also increases the risk of more serious health conditions.
Make sure your home is a safe, stress-free environment for your kitten, and provide them with plenty of quiet, secluded spaces where they can hide if they feel anxious. If you have a stressful event coming up – like moving house, or bringing home a new baby or pet – ask your vet what they recommend to help manage and reduce your kitten’s stress levels.
Follow the guidance of a caring professional vet to help your kitten grow up into a happy, healthy cat with a coat to be proud of.