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Coat and skin condition is the main indicator of your pet’s health, since most diseases immediately affect their quality and appearance. A change in color is possible for various reasons from genetic predisposition to actual pathologies.
It is a well-known fact that the color of the cat’s coat can be affected by the pet’s nutrition. Changes occur when carrots, beets, pumpkins, sea kale are included in the pet’s diet. The coat color usually darkens in this case. Ready-made feeds of industrial production also affect the color if they contain dyes.
When the pet is regularly playing outside in the open sunshine, the coat color fades, which is normal. We, humans, also slightly change our hair color in the sunny season. The process is directly related to the ultraviolet exposure. Not only it stimulates the elaboration of vitamin D, but also has a detrimental effect on the pigment that colors the skin and hair. For example, in cats with black color, the coat becomes reddish in the sun. Hairless breeds (sphinxes) under the sun’s rays get an ordinary tan. This is a protective mechanism of the skin in response to the exposure to the ultraviolet, when melanin is produced in larger quantities.
If the cat has changed its coat color, this may be caused by thermolabile enzymes that regulate the hair color in some breeds. The mechanism is based on the direct impact of the ambient temperature on the synthesis of melanin. Breeds prone to the change Himalayan, Balinese, Siamese, Burmese, Thai, and others. Their body is warm, so melanin is formed in small quantities. Paws, tail, ears are cooler, so the pigment here is in normal concentration. The color of these cats changes if they regularly go outside. In winter, the cat’s coat often changes color becoming darker than in summer. The darkening of the fur is also observed with age.
Lentigo is a medical term for black spots (spotted melanosis) in young animals. Usually they do not cause discomfort, only a cosmetic defect. They are more often formed on the face and gums. Genetic predisposition should be distinguished from pigmentation caused by various pathologies:
- bacterial and fungal skin diseases;
- chronic allergic conditions;
- exposure to external parasites (fleas, ticks);
- hormonal disruptions.
Darker hairs can also grow on shaved spots (shaving is always done before surgery) or on bald spots caused by inflammatory skin diseases. The usual shade returns after going through a cycle of hair follicles.
Readme!The formation of tumors is a dangerous phenomenon and it often happens that they are confused with pigmentation of the coat and skin. These tumors include melanomas, basal cell carcinomas, mastocytomas and cause not only cat hair changing color but also falling out in patches.
Sometimes the cat simply has no pigment that is responsible for the hair color. These genetic diseases are rare and cannot be eliminated:
- Chediak-Higashi syndrome is often observed in Persian cats with bluish coat color and yellow irises. Hair discoloration is accompanied by photophobia, eye albinism;
- Vitiligo is common among Siamese cats; depigmentation develops on the muzzle and paws.
- Depigmentation can be an acquired characteristic triggered by various factors: burn wounds, frostbites, injuries, dermatitis of various types, certain medications.
Color Change in Kittens
From the moment of birth to the stage of maturation, kittens change coat color. This happens mainly due to changes in the structure of the hair and fur. The color is usually set only by ten months age.
Examples: a kitten with a white coat in its early age may have a bright spot on the head, which subsequently disappears. If the cat has changed coat color, it is usually caused by external factors that do not harm the pet’s health. This be the case, there is no need to worry.
If you observe anxious secondary symptoms (itching, rash in the abdomen area, baldness, skin inflammation) and changes in behavior (constant carding, weakness, inactivity), it is recommended to consult a veterinarian. After the diagnostic procedure, he will give recommendations based on the cause of the pathology.