Beyond its aesthetic appeal, your cat's fur also serves several other functions. It's important to take care of it, whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor animal.
Like humans, your cat's skin is its largest organ. Combine its fur and together they make up approximately 12% of the weight of an adult cat. Compared to other animals, the skin of a cat is characterised by the presence of particularly dense fur, being 800 to 1,600 hairs per square centimetre.
Your cat's hair follicles are organised in groups of 10 to 20, with each one containing two or three primary hairs and several secondary hairs.
Cat's fur - a protective feature
A cat's fur not only plays the part of thermal insulator, it also protects the skin and the body from dehydration. It acts as a physical barrier to exterior agents such as UV.
Sebum secreted by the glands contributes to the lustre of your cat's fur and helps to protect against infections.
Cat's fur tells us about the animal's health
Deterioration or poor appearance of your cat's fur are considered signs of illness or deficiency in your pet.
The majority of endocrine or behavioural disorders, and imbalanced diets can have a near immediate effect on the quality or appearance of your cat's fur. If you begin to notice changes in their fur, it's recommended you visit your vet for an examination.
The colour of your cat's fur
It might sound odd but your cat's fur is also used as a means of communication. You may well have seen your cat's hair stand on end, which is used as a way to communicate specific signals to other animals. Even to humans in some circumstances.
Cats' grooming habits, whether individual or communal, also maintain the fur's hygienic balance, regulate temperature, and contribute to the establishment of social relationships between individuals.
Genes play a large role in the characteristics of your cat's fur. For example, your cat's coat colour and markings are transferred genetically. Additionally, the colour of the fur is also determined by the environment in which they live (temperature, UV and humidity can change the colour of your cat's coat as they have a direct impact on pigment). Food can also influence colour as nutrients are involved in the production of pigment.
For individual hairs, pigment can either be uniform or alternate. The latter qualifies as 'agouti', which can be seen as alternating bands of dark and light pigmentation in an individual hair.