Red and yellow leaves crunching underfoot, jacket and scarf weather… fall is a beautiful time of year. It’s also a period of transition between the heat of summer and the frigid cold of winter.
This fleeting period of change is a good time to help your cats ease from one type of weather into another. Autumn brings with it a number of health concerns for our feline friends, which you can help them get through.
Three of the most common health issues for transitioning to fall are:
If you’ve ever experienced the stuffy nose and runny eyes associated with fall allergies, you know how miserable it can feel. Guess what - cats get fall allergies too! Instead of just taking the form of the usual stuffiness that you might have felt, cat seasonal allergies often take the form of skin irritation, or inflammation.
As your cat gets itchier, his scratching can lead to more severe inflammation, hot and bald spots in his fur, and even open sores.
If your cat is acting unusually itchy or develops any skin or fur problems, your vet will be able to help you determine if it’s an allergy, and if so, what’s causing the reaction. If fall allergies are to blame, you might have to remove the allergen if possible, give your cat more frequent baths, or give him certain medication.
Every fall, trees shed their leaves and cats shed their fur. Shedding on its own is not a sign of a health problem: cats have natural growth and shedding cycles (which are more pronounced in outdoor cats). There really is just no way to avoid having those hairs attach themselves to you and your clothes instead of your cat.
You can, however, reduce the problem by brushing your cat regularly. This will help you keep the shedding under control, and give you and your cat a chance to spend some quality time together.
Shedding does become a problem if you notice bald spots, skin irritation, or excessive hair loss. These symptoms can signify a bigger health problem like stress or a bacterial infection. As always, consult your veterinarian if you notice anything out of the ordinary about your cat’s shedding.
Autumn is the time to start bundling up and keeping warm, both for yourself and your cat. Now is the time to start transitioning your outdoor cats to being more comfortable staying at home more often, or better yet, all the time. If your cat is a free spirit and can’t be contained for the fall and winter, make sure she has a warm, sheltered place to sleep that is elevated and away from drafts.
Studies have shown that cats also eat more in the colder months, to help them keep warm. Speak to your veterinarian about increasing the amount of food you give your cat during the colder fall and winter months to keep up with kitty’s needs.
Fall will be over before you know it, so take your time to enjoy the season, and stay safe!
- by Yuliya