Questions Answered about Skin Problems in Cats

The cats skin is a fairly amazing part of their body – it makes hair, has specialised parts like whiskers, produces waxes to keep their hair healthy, helps regulate their temperature, and can change hair position to make them look bigger in a fight. Such a special organ can also get some very special problems and skin problems in cats are quite common and varied.

Abscesses – Cats that meet other cats often fight, this is normal cat behavior. In the wild, they are not pack animals and defend their territory defensively.

Ringworm – Ringworm is NOT a worm/parasite infection. It is a fungal disease that often causes circular lesions that expand outwards. Ringworm is more common in kittens, especially sick ones, and in long haired breeds.

Allergies – Cats do get allergies and just like people, can get allergic dermatitis. Some cats will be allergic to fleas, plants, pollen’s, wool, and even foods. Allergies can develop as cats get older and can become more serious as they age.

My recommendations to people with allergic pets are:

  1. Flea control – this must be year round and effective…..
  2. Diary – keep a diary of when your cat has skin problems, what is happening in their life and what they are eating.
  3. Omega 3 fatty acids can be added to the cats diet.
  4. There are skin specialists for cats and dogs – do not be afraid to ask your vet for a referral.

NB. Flea allergies are incredibly common. You will not see fleas on most flea allergic animals because they will eat the fleas when grooming. One flea bite every 2 weeks is enough to cause a problem in these pets.

Overgrooming – After a cat has been nervous, they will groom themselves. This makes them calm. For some cats this becomes excessive and they “overgroom”. Often these cats have bald bellies or flanks or sometimes forelegs

Cancers – Skin cancers are common and vary in size, appearance and location. Cancers will not always look nasty initially.

Dandruff – Cats, like people, can get dandruff. A little dandruff can be acceptable.

Shedding and Knots – As vets, we are often asked what we can give to stop hair falling out.

  1. Stay on top of brushing! ……
  2. Slicker brushes are fabulous. ….[Click below to read full newsletter]…
  3. Combs should be used for long haired cats. These also brush right down to skin level to remove dead fur.
  4. Stay away from products like furminator and rubber mits. These products cut the coat and only skim the surface.
  5. Conditioner – conditioner is far more important than shampoo. ….[Click below to read full newsletter]…
  6. Get your cat clipped if you are in a tick area or you do not have time to groom

Hello Pet Parents,

Well winter certainly arrived! And with these chilly nights our pets feel the cold too. Many people assume that because our pets have a fur coat, they will feel the cold less although forget to assess their fur is no match for a 3degree night and wind chill factor. So please give your fur family an extra blanket, raised bed and bring them inside at night.

June was a great month for us! Divine Creatures had an article written written about us in the North Shore Times! It was our second year reaching the finals for the Telstra Business Awards. Unfortunately we did not win, although it’s such an honor to be recognized as one of the top 25 Businesses in NSW, two years in a row! Leading names in Australian Business have recognized our level of excellence, with Divine Creatures being the only finalist in the boarding industry to reach the finals nation wide.  We will keep doing what we love doing – serving you and our gorgeous resort guests with the highest level of care.
Thank you so much for those of you who left messages of support. It was overwhelming how many messages we received. Our guests are a part of our family, we all develop a bond with our guests that goes deeper than a carer. We don’t just feed, we love and we thank our guests for loving us back. It should be us Thank You for providing us the privilege of being in the company of so many gorgeous felines.

From left to right:  Shaun & Jules;   Jackie, Sefa, Sharon, Steve – Family.
Bree, Robyn and Emma – Divine Creatures Cat Carers

Jules and Dr Katie receive Finalist Plague

All the best,
Jules, Dr Katie and the cat caring team at Divine Creatures

Questions Answered about Skin Problems in Cats

The cats skin is a fairly amazing part of their body – it makes hair, has specialised parts like whiskers, produces waxes to keep their hair healthy, helps regulate their temperature, and can change hair position to make them look bigger in a fight. Such a special organ can also get some very special problems and skin problems in cats are quite common and varied.

Abscesses

Cats that meet other cats often fight, this is normal cat behaviour. In the wild, they are not pack animals and defend their territory defensively. During a cat fight your cat may be bitten. Cat’s long canine teeth can very effectively inject bacteria under your cat’s skin and this lovely moist air free environment is perfect for bacteria to proliferate. The body responds by sending special white cells to eat the bacteria “aka pus” and a lump often develops. Eventually the skin over this lump will rot and the abscess bursts. This will smell bad -like rotten fish.

If you think your cat has an abscess, get veterinary attention – they are painful and if treated early are less painful for the cat and less expensive for you. Abscesses are very common. They can be avoided by keeping your cat inside (see article ‘Outdoor v Indoor Cats) as much as possible.

Ringworm

Ringworm is NOT a worm/parasite infection. It is a fungal disease that often causes circular lesions that expand outwards. Ringworm is more common in kittens, especially sick ones, and in long haired breeds.

If you think your kitten has ringworm it needs veterinary attention because it is contagious to people and other pets, and the fungal spores can be attached to the cats hair – as the hair sheds, the environment is contaminated and the infection just keeps spreading.

Allergies

Cats do get allergies and just like people, can get allergic dermatitis. Some cats will be allergic to fleas, plants, pollens, wool, and even foods. Allergies can develop as cats get older and can become more serious as they age.

Allergic skin disease can vary from small bumps on the skin, military dermatitis, to moist angry wounds that we often call “hot spots”. Paws Calming Gel can be used to sooth these angry wounds until veterinary treatment is seeked.

Allergies are often not cured but managed so you need a good relationship with your vet because you may see them frequently.

My recommendations to people with allergic pets are:

  1. Flea control – this must be year round and effective. Super market products are useless. Flea shampoos are more likely to kill your cat than the fleas – avoid them. Frontline, Advantage, and Revolution are all great products. Remember that they only work if they are on the cat. NEVER USE DOG PRODUCTS ON A CAT – pyrethrins in dog flea products very effectively kill cats.
  2. Diary – keep a diary of when your cat has skin problems, what is happening in their life and what they are eating. This will be very useful information. If your cat gets dermatitis every September then it is likely to be a problem with a plant. This can be further investigated by a cat skin specialist. If your cat eats fish variety foods and gets itchy then moist skin wounds a few days later, we have an allergy to foods. If the problem occurs after there have been changes in the environment like house guests, emotional overgrooming may be the problem.
  3. Omega 3 fatty acids can be added to the cats diet. These will not stop the problem but they will decrease the severity and frequency of “flare ups”. They may take some time to start working (some take 120days!) so do not give up too soon – give these products a trial for a year. These products include Dermega omega 3 & 6 and Essential 6 Top Spot.
  4. There are skin specialists for cats and dogs – do not be afraid to ask your vet for a referral. Remember, though, that the first thing the specialist will ask about  is flea control. If you have not got year round prefect flea control, you will waste your money.

NB. Flea allergies are incredibly common. You will not see fleas on most flea allergic animals because they will eat the fleas when grooming. One flea bite every 2 weeks is enough to cause a problem in these pets.

Overgrooming

After a cat has been nervous, they will groom themselves. This makes them calm. For some cats this becomes excessive and they “overgroom”. Often these cats have bald bellies or flanks or sometimes forelegs.

If you have an overgroomer you first need to make sure the problem is not allergic. A lot of flea allergic cats are called overgroomers. Year round optimum flea control is essential. Then look at what may be stressing the cat and see if you can make changes. This may include telling the kids to leave the cat alone, not having 3 plus cats, keeping the dogs away from the cat etc.

There are good and bad veterinary treatments for overgroomers. Pheremone sprays like Feliway and Pet Calmer are fantastic and safe. Sometimes a cat antidepressant, such as Clomicalm, is necessary.  Ovarid, a hormone tablet, should be avoided.

Cancers

Skin cancers are commen and vary in size, appearance and location. Cancers will not always look nasty initially. Squamous Cell Carcinomas are the cancer you tend to see on cats noses and ears especially if these areas are white. Initially they can just look like a scab. Other cancers can just look like lumps or wounds that do not heal. Seek veterinary attention early. Early intervention has the best chance of success.

Dandruff

Cats, like people, can get dandruff. A little dandruff can be acceptable. If your cat has lots of dandruff, they need veterinary attention. This can be a sign of other problems and can vary widely. Some arthritic cats and cats with back pain stop grooming because they are painful – these cats need pain relief. Interestingly, diabetic Burmese cats tend to get terrible dandruff.

This may also be an absorbency problem or due to poor diet. Some supermarket brand foods simply do not contain enough omega 3 to maintain a health coat or your cat is unable to absorb omega 3. Essential 6 topical treatment has remarkable results provided all medical conditions have been ruled out.

Shedding and Knots

As vets, we are often asked what we can give to stop hair falling out. The answer “nothing” – hair is designed to fall out and be replaced every six months.

Daily brushing is the key to maintaining a great coat and reducing hair in your home. If you do not have time to invest in grooming your long hair cat daily, please do not get a long haired cat! They are pretty when they are nicely groomed. However, as vets we see the cats that have hair knotted from their chin to bum and can hardly move. This is cruel.

My tips for owners with long haired cats

  1. Stay on top of brushing! Number one prevention of knotting, it is that simple. When having lap cuddles at night, pick up your grooming tool and have a nightly groom. This also acts as bonding, your cats Mum would have groomed your cat from birth, it is very nurturing.
  2. Slicker brushes are fabulous. You need to brush right down to skin level. Often people use soft brushes that just smooth over the surface – these are useless.
  3. Combs should be used for long haired cats. These also brush right down to skin level to remove dead fur.
  4. Stay away from products like furminator and rubber mits. These products cut the coat and only skim the surface.
  5. Conditioner – conditioner is far more important than shampoo. This will help detangle your cat’s hair and aid brushing. Try Aloveen or Spa conditioner – it’s very mild and fabulous. You can make up a leave in conditioner – 1 part conditioner to 20 parts water. Spray in on the knots, then brush or comb out gently.
  6. Get your cat clipped if you are in a tick area or you do not have time to groom

Cancer    22 June – 22 July

Cancer cats are the ultimate in homeloving cats. A real family member who always wants to join in. A Cancer cat will be constantly by your side in all you do. They love the family and especially children. They will often accompany the kids at play, supervising their activities. Cancer cats are very sensitive and can be easily offended, so don’t shout at your Cancer cat.

Compatible Owners: Scorpio, Aquarius
Favourite Food: Whatever you are eating
Best Attribute: Devotion
Worst Attribute: Sulky

July Specials

  • SAVE *15% OFF EVERYTHING ONLINE!New to Divine Creatures and only valid for our newsletter Subscribers!                       Use Coupon Code: Divine0714  *Valid until 7th August 2014

Winter must haves

  • Improves Coat Shine: In international trials over 70% of cat owners saw an improvement in coat shine (an indicator of healthy skin) when using Essential 6® spot-on.
  • Reduces dry scaly skin: Essential 6® spot on moisturises the coat and skin, particularly replenishing dry skin.
  • Reduces non seasonal hair loss:  Avoids bathing the cat

Eskimo is perfectly practical, comfortable and sure to keep your four-legged family member warm on the coldest night.
Made entirely from our softest plush yet, Eskimo features a lift-out cushion with removable cover and securely bagged feather-soft filling
Fully Machine Washable

It serves as your pet’s own personal sanctuary – a perfect place for curling up to snooze, hide, or reign supreme. Plus it looks great in your home!

Green or Grey Pod with Silver Frame

The Oilskin Black coat is extremely waterproof and yet unlike traditional oilskin is fully hand washable and never needs re coating.
Lined with Sherpa, these coats are sure to keep your dog or cat warm in the coldest of nights.

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