Common Skin Conditions in Cats

The feline skin is made up of flat cells that have membranes composed of protein and fats while the coat of the feline is composed almost entirely of protein. Many cat owners know all too well that felines are prone to skin disorders since skin conditions is the most common health problem affecting cats.

There are some common skin problems in felines that can be controlled, cured and even prevented.

Allergies
Felines are susceptible to allergies just like humans. Airborne particles irritate the sinuses which can cause skin and coat problems. Common causes of feline allergies are household cleaners, air and carpet fresheners, dust and some medications. Symptoms include skin irritations on different parts of the body including the ears and chin or changes in the pigment of the skin.

Felines can also suffer from food allergies. Some food allergies take time to develop so an allergy created from that trusted cat food or treat may take time to show itself before being discovered.

Fleas
The most common cause of skin problems in felines is fleas. While fleas can affect cats of any age, the effects are more severe in older cats.

Feline Acne
Small blackheads that form on the cat’s chin and face is an example of feline acne. A cat will rub the face on objects or on the ground as a form of marking. This marking is one cause of feline acne.

Ringworm
Ringworm is a fungus that can be transmitted to humans. It lives in the keratin in the cat’s hair, claws and skin. Contracted from spores in the soil, a cat can become infected when coming in contact with this infected soil. The cat can develop crusting and redness at the infection site.

These spores can spread and live in carpeting, bedding, furniture and air filters for up to 18 months. Only cleansing with bleach will disinfect these areas and avert future outbreaks of skin problems.

Nutrition
A deficiency in vitamin A and zinc can result in skin changes. Cats cannot convert beta carotene into vitamin A so other sources need to be provided in a feline’s diet. Sources of vitamin A include liver, fish liver oils and other animal tissues.

Stress
Cats can suffer from stress and anxiety just as humans. New additions to the family including new pets or a move to a new environment are factors that can contribute to stress in our pets. When felines suffer from stress they can exhibit hair loss sometimes due to excessive grooming. The opposite can even happen where a cat loses interest in grooming.

Cats normally care for their own skin by self-grooming. There are some things that we as pet owners can do to help our pet have clean and healthy skin. Bathing and grooming our felines can remove excess dead skin. Using proper parasite control to prevent fleas, ticks and mites is imperative for a cat’s overall health. Trimming the claws can help prevent scratches that could later become infected. Taking preventative measures will help prevent skin conditions in our cats which can save time and money and our feline friends will appreciate the extra attention.

Sources:
http://www.vetinfo4cats.com/catskin.html
http://www.peteducation.com/category_summary.cfm?cls=1&cat=2023
http://marylandpet.com/pet-scoops-animal-news/publish/cat-skin-conditions.shtml
http://www.manhattancats.com/Articles/Skin_Disorders_in_Cats.html
http://www.catcustomer.com/care/cat_skin.htm