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Cat Care

“My cat’s fur is dull, greasy, thin, clumping, falling out…why?”

August 17th, 2020 by Justin Vandeberghe

This issue could have many causes: medical, environmental, or even psychological.

Dr. Ivy at Cherished Companions has a special bond with cats—she’s had 10 of them, including her current companion, a Maine Coon mix named Murphy. She says there are several hair/coat-related symptoms you might see in a cat having health issues:

  • Flaky
  • Dandruff along the body
  • Red skin / rashes / scabs / inflamed skin and wound-like areas (cat is scratching a lot)
  • If the cat is losing hair, is the cat losing it in clumps or is it general thinning? Shedding can be normal especially in the spring and summer time.
  • Pay attention if your cat is not grooming as frequently; this can mean they are not feeling well.

Cats can be elusive and it’s often difficult to know when they’re having a problem. One way to stay on top of your pet’s health is to brush your cat regularly so you can familiarize yourself with your companion’s hair and skin. That way, you’ll know when something is “off” or abnormal.

What are the most common health issues you see that cause hair and coat problems in cats?

Parasites and allergies are really the #1 cause. While Colorado is lucky in that our climate is dry and fleas aren’t as severe here, they do exist. Along with mites and lice, these parasites can give your cat an allergic reaction that results in hair loss, itchiness around the head and neck, and inflamed skin. Bacterial and fungal infections are also frequent in cats with allergies.

The second most common issue involving poor skin and coat is when a cat has dry, flaky, or oily skin. Usually a feline with these problems isn’t grooming itself because it is not feeling well. The cause could be an internal systemic illness, such as:

  • kidney disease
  • thyroid issues
  • liver disease
  • autoimmune problems
  • cancer

Cats will often also lick an area that is in pain, causing hair loss or a skin lesion. They may lick at a sore joint, or even their belly as a sign of a bladder infection.

 

What are the psychological issues that could cause a cat to have hair and skin problems?

Licking and hair loss may be due to stress—has there been a change in the home, such as relocation or the addition of a new pet? Cats can be extremely sensitive to alterations in their surroundings.

These symptoms can also be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Many times, OCD is diagnosed through a process of elimination. If nothing else is going on that could cause your pet to be stressed, OCD may be the culprit.

 

What are the treatments for making my cat more comfortable and resolving my cat’s skin and coat problems?

Obviously, treating the underlying condition and making your cat more comfortable are a priority for us and for you. Depending on the cause of the issue, treatments can include:

  • Bathing with medicated shampoos and/or conditioners
  • Eliminating parasites on the pet and in the home
  • Using anti-inflammatory or antimicrobial medications to resolve bacterial and yeast infections
  • E-collars and cones to prevent licking and speed recovery
  • Starting a hypoallergenic diet or medications for allergies

Please talk to your CCAC veterinarian before you use any product on your cat—some cleansing products have ingredients that may be toxic to your pet.

 

Good nutrition is your cat’s first line of defense against skin and coat issues!

A well-balanced diet is the first line of defense for your pet when it comes to overall health as well as coat and skin problems.

Dr. Ivy and all the vets at Cherished Companions Animal Clinic believe that one of the most important nutrients for your cat’s skin is omega-3 fatty acids. They are the building blocks for healthy skin and hair, and you can easily add an omega-3 supplement to your cat’s diet.

The good news is that, regardless of the reason behind the untidy appearance of your cat’s coat, there are solutions that we can work through together so that you can get back to doing what you really want to do: snuggling with your furry friend.

Related article

Help your cat feel better

If your cat is in pain while eating and you live near Castle Rock, Colorado, reach out to our cat veterinarians at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your visit here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic specializes in the care of cats and dogs. Our goal is to help your pet have as many happy, healthy years with you as possible—and to make your experience at our clinic comfortable and as stress-free as possible.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on issues that may cause a cat to have a poor coat. If you live in or around the Castle Rock area and have specific questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 303-688-3757.

© 2020, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved


“My Cat Is in Pain When He Eats”

March 26th, 2020 by Cherished Companions

Two cats eating - one cat is in pain while he eats

Resorptive lesions may be to blame. Here’s what you need to know…

Lately, you’ve noticed that your cat is in pain when he (or she) eats. Maybe:

  • Your cat is eating more slowly.
  • Your cat is taking small bites and dropping the kibble.
  • You’ve noticed big changes in your cat’s eating habits. For example, your normally-picky eater is now gulping food. Or your normally-fast eater is not eating his food.
  • Your cat is drooling, pawing and rubbing at his face, and has bad breath, or…
  • You can hear a clicking or crunching noise when your cat eats.

There are different reasons for changes in your cat’s eating habits, but if your cat appears to be in pain, a common culprit is a “resorptive lesion.”

What are resorptive lesions in cats?

In layman’s terms, a resorptive lesion is like a cavity in human teeth.

It’s a defect in the enamel and tissue of the tooth.

The tooth enamel starts to dissolve. It opens up and exposes the inside of your cat’s tooth (where the nerves and blood supply are).

Ouch!

Resorptive lesions can lead to other issues in your cat’s mouth, like infections.

Cinnamon, the cat, rests on her owner's arms after eating.

Are resorptive lesions painful?

Yes, they expose the pulp cavity of your cat’s teeth.

What causes resorptive lesions in cats?

There are several theories on what causes resorptive lesions, but there’s no known cause yet.

Even cats with fairly clean mouths can get resorptive lesions, so this is one way these lesions are different than human cavities.

Some cats will get a resorptive lesion in one tooth and never have an issue again.

Other cats will get multiple resorptive lesions over their lifetimes.

Every cat is different.

Resorptive lesions tend to be more common in middle-aged to older cats, but our cat veterinarians have seen them in younger cats too.

Resorptive lesions are much more common in cats than dogs.

What is the treatment?

Any time your cat has a resorptive lesion, that tooth needs to be fully removed.

There is no treatment to save that tooth.

If your cat has multiple resorptive lesions, you may want to plan on more frequent dental cleanings. This way, we can catch the lesions before they become problematic and painful for your cat.

Related article

Help your cat feel better

If your cat is in pain while eating and you live near Castle Rock, Colorado, reach out to our cat veterinarians at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your visit here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on resorptive lesions — a possible reason your cat may be in pain while eating. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call: 303-688-3757.)

© 2020, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved


“My Cat Isn’t Eating as Much as Usual. What’s Going on?”

January 30th, 2020 by Cherished Companions

An orange cat feels lethargic because he hasn't been eating as much as usual.

Our cats march to the beat of their own drums (and we love them for it), but you’re smart to be on high alert if you notice: “My cat isn’t eating as much as usual.”

In this article, you’ll find:

  1. Common reasons your cat may not be eating all his or her food
  2. What you can do at home
  3. When to be concerned

Let’s jump into possible reasons your cat is eating less than usual…

Your cat may be finding other food sources

Yep, your cat may be getting meals elsewhere.

It’s worth investigating:

  • Has your cat gotten into a spare bag of cat food — or dog food — without you knowing it?
  • If your cat spends time outside, could your cat be catching mice or having a neighbor feed your cat? (Plenty of people put food out for stray cats.)
  • Do you have a guest staying in your home or a child home from college who may be feeding your cat in-between normal mealtimes without you knowing it?

Miss Maisie, the cat, rubs on her person's legs in the kitchen. She hasn't been eating as much as usual.

Stress-related issues

Some cats eat less (or stop eating) when they get stressed.

If your cat is stressed, you also may notice your cat is hiding more and/or you may see blood in your cat’s urine.

While it can be hard to predict what’s causing the stress, cats can get stressed from things like:

  • A move to a new home
  • A renovation project in your home
  • A house guest who is staying with you
  • A new cat in the neighborhood that’s prowling
  • A new pet in the house
  • Your travel plans

Has anything been going on that could be stressing your cat?

Mouth-related issues

There are a number of things that could be going on in your cat’s mouth:

  • Dental disease (aka, “periodontal disease”). Most adult cats have some stage of dental disease. One of the things you may notice is your cat is still eating… but your cat’s eating habits have changed. For example, your cat doesn’t want to eat wet food anymore (or vice versa with dry food). Some cats will start swallowing their food whole. They stop trying to bite into it.
  • A resorptive lesion. This means there’s a defect in the enamel of one of your cat’s teeth. (It’s similar to having a cavity.) It can be painful for your cat.
  • Trauma to your cat’s mouth or head, such as loose teeth or an injury from a cat fight.
  • Other painful conditions in your cat’s mouth. Not too long ago, our cat veterinarians saw a kitten that had chewed an electrical cord. The kitten got shocked and had sores in its mouth. (Poor lil’ thing!)
  • Cancer of the mouth. This is more common in older cats than younger cats. (Your cat may be drooling and have bad breath too.)

Systematic issues (mainly in older cats)

If your cat isn’t eating as much as he used to, there also could be issues going on in other parts of your cat’s body. Your cat may have:

  • Cat kidney disease (known as “cat renal disease”). As this disease progresses, cats get pickier and don’t want to eat as much as they used to.
  • Liver disease. Your cat may feel nauseous and not want to eat.
  • Gastro Similar to liver disease, your cat may feel nauseous and not want to eat — or be picky with eating.

Of these cat diseases, kidney disease is the most common.

“What should I do if my cat isn’t eating as much as usual?”

If you ever have questions about your cat, we always recommend reaching out to a veterinarian, but…

Let’s say you aren’t ready to contact a veterinarian yet.

Maybe you have multiple pets in your home, and you aren’t exactly sure who’s eating what!

It’s time to put on your detective hat.

You may want to confine your cat to one room (like a bathroom or a small bedroom) for 24 to 48 hours.

Make your cat comfortable with food, water, a litter box and comfortable bedding.

This way, you can observe what’s happening with your cat’s eating habits.

You also can monitor if your cat is having any urinary issues or diarrhea issues.

Joel snuggles with his cat while trying to figure out why she hasn't been eating.

Another option…

You can try to look in your cat’s mouth.

(We know some cats are more on board with this than others!)

You may be able to notice symptoms like:

  • Red gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • A bad smell in your cat’s mouth
  • A lot of tartar build-up, or
  • Loose teeth

These symptoms usually suggest a mouth-related issue.

If your cat isn’t eating and is hiding…

Or, you notice other behavior changes…

That’s usually a sign that your cat is sick and not feeling well.

When to be concerned

If cat doesn’t eat one meal and then returns to normal eating habits, this usually isn’t a concern.

But if your cat is not eating for days, it’s important to reach out to a veterinarian.

Dogs can go much longer than cats without eating. When cats stop eating, they start introducing the risk of different diseases.

Soon, you may find yourself needing to address multiple issues, rather than just the original reason your cat wasn’t eating!

Not to mention, your cat is likely is not feeling well and may be in some discomfort.

Help your cat feel better

If your cat isn’t eating as much as usual and you live near Castle Rock, Colorado, we welcome your call. Reach out to our cat veterinarians at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your visit here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on why your cat may not be eating as much as usual. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, Colorado, we welcome your call: 303-688-3757.)

© 2020, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved


What to Do If Your Cat Is Peeing Blood & How Fast to Act

September 24th, 2019 by Cherished Companions

A beautiful cat sits next to a red litter box. This cat has been peeing blood lately.

What to Do If Your Cat Is Peeing Blood

It can make your heart race a little faster when you discover your cat is peeing blood. (We totally get it!)

(more…)


Blood in Your Cat’s Urine | 4 Possible Causes

August 13th, 2019 by Cherished Companions

Sophie, the cat, sits in a litter box. She's been leaving blood in her urine in the litter box.

You’ve noticed your cat is leaving blood spots around the house…

Or perhaps, you’ve seeing blood in your cat’s urine in the litter box.

We know this can be unsettling! (more…)


Have a Diabetic Cat? Tips for Feeding, Insulin Shots, and Glucose Checks

April 16th, 2019 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Bandit, a diabetic cat, happily rolls on the ground. He has been able to lead a normal life since getting on a consistent feeding, insulin and glucose check schedule.

If you recently learned your cat has diabetes, take heart…

A diabetic cat can have a fairly normal life, particularly if:

  • Your cat regulates glucose well and
  • You’re committed to your kitty’s care

And yes, your cat may be able to live a fairly normal life expectancy!

(more…)


How to Keep Your Cat Safe Outdoors

October 28th, 2018 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

This family let their cat outside to play with their daughter.

“The backyard is calling, and I must go.” – Cat mantra

The best way to keep your cat safe… is to keep your cat indoors.

But that’s not always possible or desired. (We get it!)

Here are 10 tips from our veterinarians on how to keep your cat safe outdoors.

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How to Introduce a Second Cat or Kitten (With as Little Drama as Possible)

October 2nd, 2018 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Jasmine is not excited to learn that her family is getting a second cat.

So, you’re getting ready to bring a second cat or kitten into your home…

Everyone is delighted about the new addition to your family… except your cat that already lives there.

Hiss, hiss, me-ooooow!

We know that feline World War III is not your idea of a good time. That’s why we’ve asked Dr. Ivy, one of our cat veterinarians, for guidance.

Here are her tips to help you bring a second cat or kitten into your home, so you can introduce your cats with as little drama as possible.

(more…)


Cat Lymphoma: What You Need to Know About This Feline Cancer

April 25th, 2018 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Madeline, a young girl, hugs on Maisie, her beloved cat with lymphoma.

Cat lymphoma is one of the most common types of feline cancers.

In our Castle Rock veterinary clinic, we see a handful of cases every year.

(more…)


How to Slow – or Help Prevent – Arthritis in Cats

April 5th, 2018 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

A cute cat pauses from playing. Staying active is a good way to slow down arthritis in cats.

While you can’t cure arthritis in cats, you can slow its progression

Our veterinarians are often asked: “Can my cat recover from arthritis?”

At this time, there is no cure for arthritis in cats.

However, there are things you can do to reduce pain and inflammation, so your furry friend feels better.

(more…)


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