Cats have fur to protect them against the weather and skin damage. Your cat's fur color and type of fur are the result of evolution through the ages. Desert wildcats - the origin of the American Shorthair Cat - evolved fur that provided good camouflage coloring and patterns for them to hide in their environment. Additionally, fur texture evolved to protect the original cats from daytime sun and nighttime cold. After millions of generations of cats, the 21st century evolutionary result is a fur coat that is both artistic and luxurious.
Nearly all cat species depend on a fur coat which evolved from their environments and ways of life. Interestingly, lions have a heavy fur collar to protect their neck when males fight. The thick fur collar provides a survival advantage for fighting males. Some domestic cat breeds show signs of a similar fur collar.
Outdoor cats have adapted to the length of sunshine for determining an effective program of survival and fur management. In the short sunlit days of fall, outdoor cats decrease shedding, and their fur gets thick and ready for winter. In spring, when there are more hours of daylight, outdoor cats start shedding and get ready for warm weather. Seventy-five percent of their total yearly shedding occurs from April to October.
Cats living mostly indoors with electric lights and air conditioning in summer and heaters in winter shed all the time, creating a constant irritant for their owners. This continuous shedding is essential for good cat fur maintenance. The hair follicle sprouts a hair, the hair grows and matures, and after a while it falls out. And the cycle repeats. This provides the indoor cat a lifetime fur coat that is always young, healthy, and luxurious -- if all goes well.
A cat's fur condition depends on the cat's nutrition and living conditions. Cat food specifically designed for your cat's age and life style (indoor or outdoor) is very important for good health and fur maintenance. Frequent brushing and combing help a lot. Long hair cats may need periodic baths in addition to brushing every day. Without this help from a human, long hair cats get matted fur that is unsightly, uncomfortable, and unhealthy.
Most domestic cats have approximately 60,000 hairs per square inch on their backs and twice that many on each inch of their undersides. This means your kitty is a walking "fur bomb," dropping a trail of hairs everywhere. In fact, most cats spend time every day cleaning out the dead hairs from their fur. Most of this removed hair is swallowed but is not digested well, so it ends up in the litter box.
Proper nutrition is doubly important for both health and passage of swallowed hair. Many commercial cat foods provide helpful contents that facilitate the passage of the hair through kitty with no trouble. In a natural environment, cats eat green fresh grass if available, to serve as a laxative. You can do your kitty a great service by providing some fresh growing wheatgrass.
See "How to Grow Wheatgrass for Your Kitty"
"It takes a lot of time and work for us cats to keep our fur clean and looking beautiful. And swallowing all that dead hair isn't that great, either!"
"We are especially grateful when you humans keep our sleeping area clean."
"And please have clean, dry hands when you pick us up and pet us. We hate it when you leave the smell of your lunch on our fur. We are not your napkin!"
Law of Cat Disinterest
A cat's interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him.
© Copyright 2009 by Lawrence Rodrigues
All rights reserved worldwide.