Meet Ruby, or Lily, or some name yet undetermined. She's a 12 year old who came to us from Lollypop Farm, the local Humane Society. Right now, she's on the overweight side, and her fur is in terrible condition, but both of those problems can be fixed with proper nutrition.
I think she's going to fit right in. When I put her in her quarantine bedroom, she didn't cower under the bed, she set right about exploring, and talking. She LOVES treats and isn't hesitant about accepting them from strange me. By the time I left her alone to settle in alone for a while, she was sitting by my side, purring away. Not a shy bone in this girl's body. And, it seems, she is fond of sucking her tongue. http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL72.../405907797.jpg
Looks like Lily is going to be my new cat's name. She's a love, and seems to be everything I thought she would be, calm, secure and confident. She's a bit of a pain to medicate (she had a couple of teeth pulled and a benign cyst removed from her side before they would release her to me.) I thought that was pretty good of them. That way, I didn't have to pay anything for having it all done. She was much better about the medication this morning, which I am very grateful for.
She has, however, a truly terrible coat. It's dull, greasy and loaded with dandruff. I gave her a good grooming this morning, which she loved, and I will continue to do that. Am I correct in assuming that a proper diet will go a long way towards correcting that?
Right now, I still have her on the Hills, which is what the shelter feeds. I don't want to start switching her until she has had a few days to settle in, though, with this one, it may not take a few days, as she looks pretty settled already. I'll switch her to a low carb, high protein diet, mostly wet, gradually.
Is there anything else that I can do to help the condition of that coat improve?
What a great face! and a very sweet, knowing expression. Looks like she'll be very happy with you. Agree that the coat is almost certainly the result of a grain-heavy dry food diet.
I volunteer at a pet refuge where they feed the cats this type of food. Not optimal, but a concession to economy. The majority of the long-term residents have exactly the type of greasy, dandruffy, lack-luster coat you're talking about. Volunteering there made me a believer in the importance of a relatively high-quality diet.
Brushing won't help (although if makes Mrs. Cat happy you should of course totally continue to do it!) The good news is her condition will improve quickly with a new diet and perhaps a more active regime. Wet food with no or minimal grain content is the way to go. I bet in 3 months' time you'll see improvement, and in 6 months she'll look completely different.
I would give her a good bath. Lots of cats don't object as much as you would think they would but the easiest way to do it is to put a window screen in the sink and stand them on that. They will dig all their claws into the screen and stay put for the most part. She didn't really look that fat to me but the tubby ones tend to have trouble doing a good job of self grooming their hind end, especially in front of their tail on the croup area if they were a horse. Not sure what it is called in a cat!
I got a kitten one time (flame point Siamese) that had a gray, dull coat. After two baths I finally realized that he wasn't dirty and that is was his poor coat quality. After some deworming and better food and he was good as gold.
No bath until after the stitches come out. She went to my vet today and got a clean bill of health. Vet said the same thing you are all saying, lots of time and tlc for that coat. Luckily, she loves to be groomed, so I have been spending quite a bit of time going over her with the furminator. Slowly but surely, there is at least some improvement, as that dead hair is pulled out.
No, not the new cat, Lily. She has settled right in, and taken over. She's put my sometimes obnoxious male cat, Leon, in his place and the ladies have decided that she is top cat. This may change as they become more used to her. My young girl, Rachael, is pretty self-confident herself, and she just may issue a challenge at some time.
The problem is feeding time. For years, it's been a case of, everyone in their own place when fed. Lily has upset that apple cart big time. It's especially bad for my timid little Becky. She is very worried and scared of Lily and Lily doesn't know her place. She, therefore, invades the space of everyone else. That chases Becky off, and gets her upset. Once she's upset, she won't eat at all. The others grab a bite, here and there, but they're definitely not eating as well as they did before Lily came. Except for Leon, who has always been shut in a bedroom to eat because he eats his own food, then goes after everyone elses and he has no "I'm full" button so he eats himself to the point of sickness.
I'm not quite sure how to handle this. Should I isolate Lily, first, so that she can't bother the others while they're eating? I get their food ready by shutting myself in the bathroom and doing the mixing (adding water and supplements, which are different for each cat). I suppose I could bring Lily into the bathroom with me and just feed her there. Or, should I just ignore it, and let them sort themselves out? Is there something else I should do, or just ignore the whole thing and figure that they'll figure it all out, in time?
I think you all would be helped by separating Lily while you feed.... just for a bit.
They already have to negotiate power without the added stakes of food involved. If you take this out of the equation for a while, it will make it easier and faster.
Once the pecking order has been settled and everyone knows his/her catty place in it, then you can feed them without the separation and expect them to work it out. They'll have an established "context" of the solidified pecking order to help them.
I think separate dining for a while would be a great idea. And are you sure the people you got her from didn't use some kind of flea dip or something similar? That stuff can be very greasy looking too. Of course, I think you're right about a proper diet helping the coat problems also.
Separate dining it is! And, since she was a stray and I got her from our local humane society, they probably did use some kind of flea treatment. I checked when I got her and she had been listed about a month. They don't list them until they are ready for adoption, so I am assuming that her flea treatment came before she was put up.
I'm brushing her every day, for as long as she will tolerate it. Her coat is marginally better. The greatest improvement is in the "petting zone." It's a pity that cats don't like their belly fussed with, but, it will get better with time.
Tomorrow, she goes in to have her stitches from the cyst removal taken out, and to have a big glob of wax that is making her shake her head extracted. Poor thing, she has to be put under for that, so I have to leave her there. She's going to think that she was abandoned again.