Perhaps to most naïve observers outside animal science and veterinary medicine, it is just enough to say that the distinction between hair and fur occurs between man and cat or dog pet. For them, man has hair on his, and the cat has fur all over its body. In fact for some; you can use the terms cat fur and cat hair interchangeably.
Outside of this, you may not likely get any other useful information. While fur coat means thick or long hair, cat hair refers to sparse layers of hair on pets. It is generally believed that cat fur has a growth limit while the hair continues to grow as long as the pet lives.
Genetics Of Mammals
Generally, all mammals have hair. Whether they are humans, whales, pigs, elephants or cats or dogs, to mention a few, they possess in their body some strands of hair. The appearance, feel and use of the hair differs from one mammal to another based on development and species. Only mammals with very thick body hair have fur. And fur is a reserved term for any hair on mammals with thick body hair. In humans, it is often not called fur because the hair is sparsely located on the body. This is unlike the cat which has its entire body covered with hair. However, the Sphinx is a hairless breed and so has almost the same of less volume of hair like humans
Varying Breeds Of Cat
Essentially, we have three main breeds of cat, namely, the long-haired breeds, the short-haired breeds, and the hairless breeds. There are a number of genetic factors that determine the length of fur on their body. The hairless does not grow into haired, and vice versa. In the same vein, cats may lose their fur due to diseases and skin infections. Hairless breeds have a fine layer of hair that surrounds the entire body. Plus, the length and volume of hair on the body has a long way to determine whether a cat will be a double coated or triple coated pet.
Types And Functions Of Cat Hair
- Awn hair
This refers to the intermediate hairs in short, thick and bristly strands of hair that is present under the top coat of hair in cats. They are usually shorter than the guard hair but longer than the down hair. They function primarily to help protect the down hairs underneath and are great for insulation and sensory purposes. Its length is often determined by the cat’s breed. Most of the visible coat is made of this kind of hair.
- Down hair
Down hair appears as the thin and fine hair and it functions as protection against harsh weather, usually cold. Just like its own counterpart, down hair serves a great role for an insulating material for the cat’s body. To avoid crimping and hair matting which is a common infection cat is prone to, pet owners should ensure proper grooming.
- Guard Hair
The guard hair as it is called stays on top of the other layers. It is the topmost coat of cat hair. It is usually long and gives color to the cat skin. The function of the cat’s guard hair is to protect it from external contamination from the environment.
Conspicuously located around the cat’s chin, cheeks and eyes, the whiskers are also found on the cat’s front and back legs. These strands of hair serve sensory functions, helping the pet to carry on in the midst of harsh or favorable environment. The cat with the aid of the whiskers receives a lot of sensory signals from the environment especially when they’re making inroad to their prey.
Protecting Cat Hair
It is important to ensure that cat fur is properly groomed and maintained as they serve a great protective role in the life of the pet. And one great way to keep pets healthy is to give them a regular good bath. This doesn’t have to be often, but the grooming procedures must be maintained at intervals. Some of the common infections fro which cat has to be groomed against include: skin inflammation, hair matting, crimping, hair loss, flea infections, and hairballs.
- Give the cat a good bath on a regular basis, even though they have a way of keeping themselves clean.
- Use a wide-toothed comb for long-haired pets to penetrate deeper into the hair. This will help prevent hair matting. You comb the hair and brush the fur during grooming.
- Examine the cat for any form of flea infections. This is important as it helps to prevent hair loss and skin inflammation.
- Regular combing also gets rid of loose or dead hair; thus preventing pets from excessive self-grooming.
- Prompt and regular medical treatment should be given.
Development of Cat Hair and Coats
Usually, cat hair begins from beneath the skin, called the epidermis, possessing a muscle that is sensitive to weather. This muscle contracts when the cat is frightened or in cold temperature, causing the hair to stand straight up. From here develop the different layered structures of hairs which can come in the form of the double coat, triple coat, and the whiskers. In this sense, the cat hair will refer to as the individual strand while the cat fur is regarded as the collective. The overall appearance of cat’s fur is often described as the coat.
Cat Allergies And Control Measure
Cat’s saliva carries allergen which comes in the form of a tiny protein particle called ‘’Fel d 1’’. The allergen is In the process f grooming cats will send the allergen to their hair to cause it to dry into what is generally referred to as dander, some sort of microscopic flakes. Thick or long hair of the cat will hold more dander, making people to believe the hair is the dander. While this dander can be found in many places around the house, including in bedding, air, carpets, and drapes, it can be controlled.