Why do we wash Cats?

You say: 'I have never bathed my cat before, my cat is fine just licking itself clean?'

"Cat coats secrete oils naturally for both protection from elements and survival in the wild. Some cats can oversecrete oils due to skin issues, breed, and age. A build up of oils can cause matting, smell and skin issues.

Coats also produce dander and dandruff naturally, this is what humans are usually allergic to.

Cats produce undercoat, which is guided by the temperature, age, coat type and amount of daylight. If this undercoat is not brushed out, it can be stuck in the oils, and subsequently shed all year around. Cats are meant to lick and remove this themselves, which can cause hairballs, and in worse case scenarios, hair masses in the stomach.

Washing properly removes excess oils, dander, dandruff and undercoat.

There is a lot more to the cat coat than meets the eye.

The fur of a cat also includes items such as dander, dead skin, salivary crystals, faecal matter, released undercoat, skin oils, flea dirt, bacteria and fungi.

Cats secrete oils to avoid the skin getting wet. These oils can build up causing the undercoat and dander to get stuck, causing matting. A cat licks itself to move these oils around and remove the dandruff and dander. They spread around the saliva, faecal matter and debris.

The main debris that people are allergic to is the dander and saliva of the cat, and so to prevent allergies thorough bathing is essential.

Drying is also important to separate the hairs letting in air, releasing the undercoat and any left-over dander. If you do not dry your cat, the cat will then need to lick itself dry, causing the allergens to spread again. This undercoat will instead go into the stomach."

- Extract from Bathing the feline for professionals.

In summary, cat's shed seasonally, bathing, blow-drying and combing helps reduce matting, as when the new coat grows, it will not become stuck causing knots and compaction. Bathing also reduces the allergen Fel-D.

Read about just one case of hair compaction: Hero's big hairball - Fur balls in Cats - Perth Cat Hospital

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