Cats changing colors, is this a myth, or could it actually happen? It happens, and if you know what to look for, it just may save your cats life.
Color changes happen, but they are not normal. Other than slight changes with age, if your cat’s skin or fur starts to change there may be something very seriously wrong with your cat.
Cat’s hair color, just like ours, will dull slightly as they age, but not very much. Sudden changes of your cat’s skin or hair color is something you should take very seriously.
There are several colors of cat’s fur, and if it is anything other than white, it is referred to as pigmented or in some cases hyper-pigmented.
A cats color will depend entirely on the presence of this pigmentation in the epidermis. All cats, is does not matter what breed they are, have only two pigments, black and red; regardless of what actual color they are. If they are female, they have a combination of the two colors.
The various colors that do exist in cats are all the result of genetic factors. They will have what is referred to as modifiers which affect the pigments that are produced in your cat’s cells.
These cells than distribute these pigments and pass the color onto your cat’s hair, skin, and lips, as well as creating patterns and colors.
This is all very normal. What is not normal is your cat changing colors. There are several potential causes of your cat’s hair to change colors, and none of them are good. Some are extremely rare, others quite common.
Causes of Cats Changing Colors:
Basel Cell Tumors:
This is the most common tumor that is found in cats, and there is currently no known cause for these tumors. Like most all tumors, they will be either benign or malignant, although in the majority of cases in cats, they are benign.
The symptoms that your cat may have this condition will first start as a very firm and well-formed hairless growth that could affect your cats head neck, and shoulders. They should be surgically removed, even if benign, but this is a reason for cats changing colors.
This is a rare type of cell disease that can develop into multiple lesions and generally affects cats older than ten years and be could be a cause of cats changing colors. The lesions will be black or brown and take the form of plaques or papules.
These lesions may develop over time and progress into ulcers as well as crusting formations that will bleed very easily.
They can also come and go frequently and are found predominately on the head, the neck, the shoulders, as well as your cat’s forelegs.
This is a serious condition that can cause a lot more than color changes in your cat, and treatment from both drugs and radiation have been only moderately successful.
Chronic Irritation or Inflammations:
This is generally a condition that involves either allergies or some type of bacterial infections. The symptoms will be darkening of your cat’s skin as well as thickening, resulting in color changes.
They only way to effective treat this condition from becoming worse is to identify and treat the underlying cause, and perhaps prevent cats changing colors.
This is a very serious threat to your cat and noticing the change in color might just save your cats life. It is most always caused by a pituitary brain tumor or an adrenal gland tumor. It is very difficult to diagnosis in cats, unlike in dogs, simply because it may take so long to develop.
Symptoms you can watch for with this disease are hair loss, thinning of your cat’s skin, and bruising very easily. They may also develop black heads on their chins as well as a potbellied type of appearance.
This is the most common of cysts found in cats and is often referred to as sebaceous cysts, which is basically the retention of both water and skin materials and they can become infected very easily.
It most often appears as just a single nodule underneath the skin and will contain a very thick yellowish type of material.
It is usually found on the head, the neck, or your cats back. Do not squeeze this cyst as it could cause a very severe skin reaction in your cat.
This very serious condition is almost always a result of liver disease. With this condition, there will be a yellow discoloration of your cat’s skin, their coat, and the whites of their eyes.
This is caused by an excess amount of a substance referred to as bilirubin that has entered into your cat’s bloodstream, and definitely one of the causes of cats changing colors.
It results from an orange-yellow pigment that is coming from the breakdown of hemoglobin in your cat. This must be treated as soon as possible, as it could take your cats life.
This is a circular tan or brown area of discoloration that is most common in orange cats, and is almost always found on their lips or their nose.
It is very similar to melanoma in humans, and an example would be that of people with red hair and sun exposure.
Orange cats are very susceptible to this condition when exposed to too much sun. It is very dangerous for cats as there is no current treatment for this condition other than prevention.
This is a yeast infection, and yeast infections are commonly found on the skin in cats. However, if it spreads and grows, it will cause brownish black areas of discoloration in your cat.
The cause is most always from an underlying condition that may be more serious.
Symptoms will be itching, redness of the skin, and then hair loss. It can become serious if it turns chronic, and contributes to cats changing colors.
There are several other diseases that could be the cause for your cat’s hair to change colors, but these are the most common.
There are several preventive steps you could take, but the biggest step is in their diet. Making sure they have enough Vitamin C and E, as well as the minerals zinc and selenium, will help to prevent most skin and hair conditions.
Watching for the causes of cats changing colors, especially if caused by a serious condition, may save their lives
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