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Lori, Feline Healthcare
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4131
Experience:  16 yrs health care mgmt & issues relating to cats, reproductive issues and multicat environments
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My cat is suddenly greasy! It started yesterday as a ...

Customer Question

My cat is suddenly greasy! It started yesterday as a barely noticable sheen to his coat. Today it has progressed to a very wet look. He is a very large maine coon which I bathe regularly and brush daily. My sister said it is related to something he has eaten, but his diet has remained the same no changes. He has not gotten into anything either, not that I can find anyway. What could be causing this?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Lori replied 11 years ago.
How old is your kitty? Is he neutered?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Lori's Post: He is 5 years old and yes he is neutered. I bathed him today and it did not get rid of the greasy look and feel of his hair.
Expert:  Lori replied 11 years ago.
Some cats, like humans, naturally have oily skin. The Maine Coon is a breed that is known for a somewhat oily skin and coat. Bathing regularly can help this problem. Also, cats with a condition called seborrhea can produce tremendous amounts of skin oil, which can result in sores and patches of missing fur as well as a greasy coat.

Cats will sometimes get greasy coats when they have fleas, mites, or even allergies, all of which can cause the skin's sebaceous glands to work overtime and secrete more oil than usual. Less often, a greasy coat can be a sign of internal problems such as diabetes or a hormonal imbalance. Many times, a cat's coat will even get almost a rancid type of an odor to them. A greasy coat can be more than a cosmetic problem. It is a breeding ground for bacteria and other organisms. As a result, cats with greasy coats are prone to skin infections, which can make their skin itchy and sore.

If your cat is scratching a lot; if his fur has a rancid odor; if he is drinking much more water than usual; if he is shedding or scratching more than usual; if he has scales, bald patches, or a rash; if he has severe dandruff or dry skin; or if his fur is greasy or smelly even after baths, he needs to see the vet.

I know you said you bathed him, but the shampoo you use is very important also. Look for a medicated shampoo that is made specifically for oily-skinned pets. These shampoos usually contain ingredients such as coal tar, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or sulfur, which are very effective at cutting through the oil and for removing built-up scales from the surface of the skin. Pet supply stores carry a variety of shampoos, among them, the medicated type. Don't use shampoos containing coal tar, phenol, or selenium sulfide on cats because they can be toxic.

Depending how greasy your cat's coat is, he may need baths as often as every other day until the problem clears up. More often, once or twice a month will be enough.

Medicated shampoos are much stronger than regular cleansing shampoos, so you don't want to use them too often. Plus, the medications require at least 10 minutes of contact time to do their job. It is a good idea to rinse the skin and hair well to avoid irritation. The switch to a medicated shampoo may have to be permanent, unless you want the condition to come back.

Applying a coat conditioner after shampooing will help restore moisture to the skin that the shampoo took out, but check with your vet before using these products.

You may want to try giving your cat supplements containing fatty acids, such as those containing fish oil. Sometimes the supplements can help calm down the hypersecreting oil glands in the skin. You can call your vet to get supplement recommendations. Since this oilyness is a relatively new development with your cat, discussing the problem with your vet before doing anything may be the smartest move. Maine coons aren't considered "mature" until 4-5 years of age, and this new development may be part of his maturation - but again, I would discuss the possibility with your vet.

I attend cat shows with maine coon breeders a LOT and they all say their cats' coats are VERY hard to keep clean, as coons tend to repel water. A good friend of mine takes plain Dawn dish soap and works it through her boy's dry coat and allows it to sit for several minutes to absorb the excess oil. She then wets him down and lathers him and rinses the Dawn out. After that, she bathes him normally. Maine Coones have beautiful coats, but they can be a but tough to care for. Hopefully, I've given you a few suggestions that will work well for you.

Lori and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Lori's Post: When I read your answer and saw the part about fleas I knew that must be it. About a week ago my daughter brought a stray puppy home and he was covered in fleas! I found a home for the dog because I am not a dog person, but not before our home was infested. I had Colby my cat treated at the vets with capstar and thought that ended the problem. while he was there i had the house fumigated. I just now looked through Colby's hair and did find a few fleas. I'll be taking care of that tomorrow and hopefully the greasy look will be a thing of the past. I would try the Dawn but Colby has alot of hair and I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to get it all out even though he loves a bath. He weighs close to 20 lbs and is quite a handful in the tub. I'll ask my vet about the supplements too. Thanks for the help.
Expert:  Lori replied 11 years ago.
No problem! Glad I could help -- one last thing -- if he had/has fleas, call the vet and ask for tapeworm meds -- believe me - he has them - or at least the makings of them - fleas transmit tapeworms, so you may as well treat him with some Droncit twice so you won't have to mess with that also down the road - he could start with diarrhea next from the tapeworm....
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Lori's Post: He was treated for worms recently at a routine check up. Should I still treat him or is this a different type of worm? I have never heard of Droncit.
Expert:  Lori replied 11 years ago.
It can be called drontyl also - it's specifically for tape worms - most vets deworm for hook and round worms, but don't routinely deworm for tape worms unless the pet has or had fleas or you see the worms - they look like grains of rice sortof.

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