The Cats Fur

Please tell me how to care for my cat’s fur? 

Healthy cats have glossy fur, which, when parted, shows clean smooth skin.  A staring, rough and unkempt coat is a sign of poor health – poor diet, worms, illness, mouth problems or old age. 

Cats have three types of hair.  A thick weatherproof topcoat, an insulating downy coat, and sparse coarse guard hairs. 

In the winter the coat thickens when muscles at the roots contract to fluff out the fur and trap a warming layer of air. 

How to take care of my Cats Fur?

Moulting is triggered by the longer days of spring and hair thins.  If a cat is stressed, ill or old, it will moult at any time.  The barbs on a cat’s tongue act as very efficient combs.  The face is washed with the side of a licked front paw. 

Every time a cat grooms itself, the cat’s fur is swallowed.   

How to avoid fur balls – fur balls form in the throat or gut, these are coughed up or passed in faeces.  A blockage of furballs may collect in the bowel, requiring surgical removal.  This can be avoided by regular grooming.

To help the cat’s fur pass quickly through the body, feed oily fish such as sardines or mackerel once a week.  Be sure to remove any fish bones.  Commercial hairball remedies such as those based on malt, are ideal and taste attractive to cats.   


Grooming is mutually beneficial and enjoyable to the owner and cat.  Kittens are first groomed by the mother when they are too young to groom themselves.  The cat regards this as a comforting routine, and reminds it that the owner is the ‘mother cat’.

Start and finish each grooming session with a pleasurable area, such as under the chin or behind the ears.   A bristle brush has a soothing feel similar to a massage on the cat’s fur and skin.

Orange Cats Fur

For a longhaired cat, a wide-toothed comb can be used on small sections at a time, to avoid tugging and hurting the cat.  Matted hair should be cut out gently, a few strands at a time, cutting away from the cats’ skin to avoid nicks.  Elderly cats and even shorthairs will benefit from combing once or twice weekly. 

Long hairs need combing more frequently and Persians every day.  This is more important in a multi-cat household, as cats grooming each other can end up with twice the amount of swallowed fur.

It will also enable any fleas to be spotted before they cause a major problem.  Any reluctance to have the stomach area groomed is quite normal, as this is a vulnerable area to the cat and can make it feel threatened. 

Is it cruel to wash a cat?

Usually, it is not necessary to bathe a cat.  A particularly dirty cat can be given a dry shampoo. Bran warmed in the oven and allowed to cool, can be rubbed into the cat’s fur and combed out.

cat in washing machine

A commercial cat shampoo can be used for problem dirt.  In a warm bathroom or kitchen, place several inches of hand warm water in the sink, add a little shampoo.

Have ready prepared hand warm rinsing water nearby.  Place towelling at the bottom of the sink to avoid the cat slipping and put a collar on the cat to help grip (not a flea collar). Place the cat in the water while talking reassuringly to it, and carefully pour water over it.

Lather with shampoo, avoiding the head and ears, and rinse thoroughly.  Wrap it in the towel, dry and then wrap another dry towel around it, and keep it in a warm draught free room until completely dry. 

Cat Fleas 

Cat fleas are tiny red-brown insects, that leave black specks of droppings in the fur.  Fleas are the most common ectoparasites of cats. A flea named Ctenocephalides Felis is quite notorious and is present in cats as well as dogs. When a flea sucks blood, it can cause an irritating itch, leading to an allergy-causing “flea allergic dermatitis.”

The allergy appears as multiple dots of red colour on the skin surface of cats.  If the cat is scratching, it may already have fleas, which must be treated immediately.  Fleas can transmit diseases to cats.

Cat fleas lay their eggs in carpeting and furnishings.  It is important to treat the cat’s environment as well as the cat.  Environment anti-flea sprays kill fleas in the area and those containing Methoprene inhibit the development of flea larvae.  Never use the environmental spray on an animal, and remove fish tanks and food and water bowls, which could become poisoned.   

cat scratching

It is necessary to wash bedding regularly, to break the flea cycle, and in Summer it is advisable to wash bedding every few weeks. 

Combing the cat with a fine-tooth comb every day can help prevent fleas.  Commercial flea powders can be puffed on, and brushed out and also cat shampoos can be used.  Brushes with hollow spikes are available, which can be filled with flea powder and act when brushing the cat.  Alternatively, liquid treatments can be applied to the neck.

Most flea products also dispose of lice, mites and ticks.  Sprays are not ideal as they frighten the cat, and damage the environment.  However, if these are used, spray outdoors and downwind.

Spray the back and belly, and the fleas will die as they move around the cat.  Avoid spraying the cat within several days of worming, as the combination can prove toxic.  Kittens require specific flea treatment. 

Conventional flea collars – these work by releasing powdered insecticide gradually over a cats coat.  They require a couple of days to take effect, the collar should be replaced every two to three months, and the neck checked for inflammation.  The collar should be removed if it or the cat gets wet, and not replaced until dry.  Remove the flea collar if the cat goes outside, as it may be dangerous if it catches and entraps the cat. 


The cat can contract ticks from the tall grass.  These feed on the blood of the cat burying their heads into the skin. This causes itchiness and inflammation. Ticks are also responsible for the transmission of an infectious disease called Lyme disease. 


Several species of mites can affect cats. Demodex is a common type of mites that is present in the hair follicles of a cat. It can be transmitted from cat to kitten. It mostly affects animals with a weaker immune system, so young kitten is at greater risk of getting infected. 


Although lice are less common, kittens are at a higher risk of infection. 

Common symptoms of external parasites (Ectoparasites) are: 

  • Itching, Irritation 
  • Red dots, patches on the skin 
  • Flakes in hair 
  • Hair loss 

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