One common problem that Siamese cats face is that they have more sensitive skin than other cat breeds. These skin conditions can be a real nuisance for your feline friend, so it’s important to learn what you can do to alleviate the discomfort they feel and treat their skin problems.
In this article we will help you understand what causes these problematic skin conditions and how you can spot them in Siamese cats.
Siamese Cats and Their Special Skin
All cats, and not just the Siamese cat, are meticulous groomers that want to keep their fur (and skin) as clean as possible. In fact, cats spend about half of their waking time simply just cleaning themselves.
Your Siamese cat will likely be seen grooming itself often and this shouldn’t immediately mean that your cat has a skin condition as much as it just wants to feel clean. You might begin to suspect a skin condition if you notice problems underneath your cat’s fur, thinning fur, and excessive grooming.
Siamese Cats Shedding
Keep in mind that if you see fur around the house, it may just be attributed to natural shedding that the Siamese cat goes through. While
Siamese cats are sometimes hailed as having limited shedding due to their shorter coats, they still shed seasonally, so during autumn and spring, you may find more fur around the house without there being an actual problem with your Siamese cat.
Can You Get Skin Disease From Your Cat?
One thing to note when caring for cats, not just the Siamese cat, is that there are very few skin-related problems that your cat can transfer from itself to you. However, there are still one or two that you should know about and recognize the signs of.
Diseases that you can get from another species that transfer to humans are known as zoonotic diseases, and when relating toward a Siamese cat’s skin, the main condition you could develop is known as Scabies which is a parasitic infection.
If you develop Scabies, then there’s a good chance your Siamese cat also has Scabies.
Aside from Scabies, most skin conditions your Siamese can develop will not transfer to you, so you don’t have to worry about handling the cat and contracting something.
Are Siamese Cats More Likely to Develop Skin Diseases?
As a whole, Siamese cats are not more prone to skin conditions than other cats are, but all cats are prone to these conditions if they are not cared for properly.
A Siamese cat has a delicate coat that needs to be groomed by both the cat and their caretaker to provide optimal health, and if you have a tendency to ignore the grooming that your vet suggests because the cat can just groom itself, you may end up with a cat that develops a number of skin conditions.
Why Siamese Cats Develop Skin Conditions
Siamese cats are notorious for having sensitive stomachs. Because of this, they may not eat the foods that they need to have a full and healthy immune system.
When this happens, your Siamese cat is far more likely to pick up an infection or an irritant because its body doesn’t have the resources it needs to fight off infections or other problems.
In addition to this, Siamese cats are far more prone to respiratory and heart conditions, both of which can lower a cat’s ability to care for itself through grooming.
This also increases the risk that the Siamese cat develops a skin condition, and some of the illnesses that it is more prone to may have symptoms relating to sensitive skin.
However, Siamese cats have relatively healthy skin. It’s just that they sometimes do not have the resources their bodies need to fight off skin infections and problems because they may not always have a balanced diet tuned to their needs, or their bodies might be more preoccupied with fighting off another infection in a more vital area of the body.
How to Stop Your Siamese Cat from Developing a Skin Condition
As a Siamese cat owner, you should take special precautions to keep your cat’s skin healthy.
This usually means being equally meticulous about grooming as your cats are, providing extra resources for the skin if you take your cat outside, and taking more time out of the day to inspect your cat’s skin for potential problems so that you can stop them before they cause major issues.
To do this, you will need to have a good sense of what the symptoms of sensitive and irritated skin look like in Siamese cats, since it can be hard to tell in creatures that have as much fur as cats do.
Gauging the Health of Your Siamese Cat’s Skin
It can be understandably difficult to try and determine the health of your Siamese cat’s skin, especially when its skin is broadly covered by the fur that Siamese cats are so well-known for. Thankfully, there are some areas of your cat’s fur that are much thinner than others, allowing you to get a good sense of your cat’s overall skin health.
Siamese Cat Skin Appearance
Typically, the appearance of your cat’s skin and fur will go hand-in-hand. As your cat’s health deteriorates, it will be less interested in grooming itself, leading to matted and dull fur. These are the first signs that something is wrong.
Other signs of skin disease in Siamese cats include scabs, scaly skin, dandruff in a cat that doesn’t normally have dandruff, excessive itchiness, redness in areas where you can see the skin more, visible sores and ulcers, hair loss, a greasier coat, dull coats, and more shedding than you would expect.
All of these problems are symptoms and do not normally indicate specifically what is wrong with your cat. That will be up to the vet to decide, as they have the tools to be able to see into your Siamese cat’s skin to determine what is going on.
Some of these symptoms can be harder to spot than others, such as excessive itchiness. All cats will itch at some point and will want to scratch that itch, so it can be hard to determine when this is indicative of a problem and not just a simple passing itch.
Usually, a symptom that is denoted as being excessive will mean that your cat is engaging in that behavior to the point of otherwise harming itself, such as scratching so much that you can see scabs forming on the skin.
This is a good indicator of when a symptom such as an itch has crossed into the threshold of being problematic compared to just being a transient itch we all experience.
Other symptoms can be indicative of multiple problems, such as hair loss. Siamese cats are prone to anxious conditions, such as licking out their fur to the point of bald patches when there is no physical reason to, which can present in a way very similar to when cats might experience hair loss from a skin condition.
This is another reason why it is important for you to let a vet determine what is going on with your cat’s fur, as they will have a better sense of whether your Siamese’s hair loss is caused by a nervous condition or if there is another underlying problem, or if the distress of diseased skin is causing your cat to stress out so much that it tears out its own fur.
When to See a Veterinarian
Knowing these symptoms is the first step in making sure that you keep your Siamese cat as healthy as possible, as then you will have a good sense of when you should be going to the vet to ask about the cat’s condition.
Now that you know what to look for, you should also learn about what factors can contribute to your Siamese cat developing skin problems.
What Causes Skin Disease in Siamese Cats?
There are four main categories of skin-related problems in all cats, not just Siamese cats specifically.
These conditions include parasitic skin diseases, allergic skin diseases, skin infections, and skin cancers.
Keep in mind that skin cancers are rare and that there’s a good chance it could be an infection or something far more easily treatable.
Some of these categories also overlap. For instance, skin diseases that are parasitic in origin will usually also have traits of an allergic skin disease, as just about all cats have an allergic reaction to the presence of a parasite, but parasitic infections still require a different course of treatment to fully eliminate the parasite.
This is, again, why you should always leave the details of the diagnosis to the vet, as they can make the most informed decision about how to handle your Siamese cat’s skin.
Parasitic Skin Diseases
Parasitic skin diseases are exactly what they sound like. They are skin diseases that originate from a parasite irritating your cat’s skin and often triggering an immune reaction of some sort.
Cats will sometimes inadvertently worsen their condition by trying to scratch at an itch to the point where they bleed, risking even more infection.
Parasitic skin diseases will usually come from common parasites including fleas, lice, mites, and so on.
More often than not, the course of treatment is to rid the pests and the symptoms clear up on their own, though if it is severe enough, there may also be some treatment for the symptoms as well.
Allergic Skin Conditions
Allergic skin conditions occur when your cat has encountered something that it is allergic to. This can be anything from pollen to their food, and it can be a case of trial and error to try and figure out the allergen that your Siamese cat is affected by.
Siamese cats have a tendency to be affected by food more often than other breeds are because of their predisposition to having a sensitive stomach.
Common allergies that can cause skin conditions in cats include pollen, dust, certain fragrances, and foods.
The way that these conditions are treated is usually with a combination of eliminating the allergen as much as possible from the cat’s environment and also medicine to keep the cat from experiencing the allergic symptoms as much, though the latter tends to be for severe cases or cases where the allergen cannot be avoided (such as pollen).
Skin infections often happen from prior irritation from parasitic or allergic skin conditions, though it can happen without them as well.
Infections can only occur when there is an opening in the outer layers of skin that allow for the bacteria to infiltrate your Siamese cat’s body, causing widespread issues.
Naturally, if your cat has been excessively scratching because of one of the other conditions, then this puts your cat at greater risk for developing an infection, though even otherwise healthy cats can develop an infection as well.
Infections will have symptoms relating to the skin, but will often include more systemic symptoms as well since the whole body is working to fight off the bacteria.
Treatment typically involves special medicine (often antifungals or antibiotics, depending on the infection), which can either be in the form of a shampoo or a medicine your cat has to ingest.
Skin cancer is slightly more prevalent in Siamese cats because of their albinism. This makes their skin much more sensitive to damage from sunlight, which is why it is important that Siamese cats be kept inside.
Skin cancer, while rare, tends to be aggressive in cats and is often seen as ulceration at first.
Treatment can range from chemotherapy to surgical removal of precancerous tissue, and preventative measures include monitoring your Siamese’s time in the sun and applying sunscreen to the cat if it is allowed outside on a sunny day.
What Can You Do for Your Cat’s Skin?
Your first step should be to seek treatment from a qualified veterinarian so that they can determine the origin of the cat’s distress and offer guidance toward altering your lifestyle to accommodate your cat, especially if the skin problems are allergic in nature.
There are a few ways that you can help your cat out at home as well, including feeding it a special Siamese-focused diet, knowing what ointments are safe to apply to your cat’s skin, and so on.
Improve Their Diet
To make sure that your Siamese cat’s diet isn’t part of its skin problems, you will want to make sure to purchase a low-allergen food to minimize the chances that your cat has an allergic reaction.
Because of how sensitive their stomachs tend to be, you should be even more focused on making sure your Siamese cat’s diet is predominantly meat.
All cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they do not have the digestive enzymes to tackle carbs and most plant matter.
A low-allergen, meat-focused meal should be your starting point for your Siamese’s health, although you should always confirm with the vet before making major changes to your cat’s diet.
You should only use antibiotic ointments that are meant for cats.
Antibiotic ointments that are made for people are made with the general consensus that they should not be ingested. Cats, on the other hand, don’t understand this concept.
If you try to apply a human antibiotic ointment to your cat’s skin, there’s a significant chance it could go into anaphylactic shock because of one of the ingredients.
It is a cat’s natural thought not only to groom itself regularly and to groom areas that are irritated even more often, but also to remove “contaminants” from its fur, and your cat is not going to understand that the ointment is for its own benefit.
In addition to this, cats that are sensitive will be even more irritated by some of the ingredients in human antibiotic ointments and may even have an allergic reaction from it just being on its skin, which is not what you want when you are trying to treat an irritation.
Use Antibiotic Ointments Designed for Pets!
There are antibiotic ointments that are designed for pets and their tendency to try and lick strange substances off their skin. These ointments are made with ingredients that are meant to soothe the irritation, while not irritating it further.
They are also made so that if your cat does try to lick it, which it inevitably will, it will not be nearly as toxic for it, although you should be mindful to only apply a little bit at a time for this reason.