There are up to 130,000 hairs per square inch in a cat’s coat, and they all have a job to do. Long, coarse hairs, known as guard hairs, help insulate a cat’s body and aid with the sense of touch; thin awn hairs within the coat help insulate and protect and fine secondary hairs in the undercoat help control temperature. The old saying that “Beauty is only skin deep” pertains to your cat as well. A cat’s shiny hair is a sign of good health.
Feed your cat a quality pet food. It should have the proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Avoid generic or store-brand cat food; it often contains inferior ingredients. Cats are true carnivores and need a high proportion of protein as well as complex carbohydrates and healthy fats in order to have a shiny coat.
Put your cat on a diet if it is overweight. Besides being bad for its health, obesity can make it difficult for a cat to groom itself and its coat will suffer. Consult your veterinarian to choose the best course of action.
Watch for signs of parasites, such as fleas and worms. Worms draw nutrients from the cat and can cause the coat to lose its shine.
Bathe your cat only when necessary. Too much bathing will dry out a cat’s coat. Use a shampoo specifically formulated for use on cats. There are color shampoos designed to enhance the shine of black, white and brown cats. Rinse all products out thoroughly. Soap residue can dull the coat and make the cat’s skin itch.
Groom your cat regularly with the appropriate tools. Use a comb or rake to remove mats and detangle long hair. Brush to remove dead surface hair and dander and to distribute oil throughout the coat. Use a cat pin brush on long-haired cats daily to help prevent mats.
Try a fish oil supplement devised for cats. It may take four to six weeks to see results. However, consult your veterinarian first before you give your cat any supplement.