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My cat's fur is turning red?!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My cat, Thumper, is a mixed Maine Coon cat, about 7 years old. She is mostly black and white and gray. But over the past year or two the fur on her back (which should be black) seems to be turning red. Could it be caused from the sun?
post #2 of 13
Q: Dear Dr. Richards,
Have you ever heard of a cat's fur changing colors in isolated areas due to a medication, treatment or test being administered???

My grandmother is extremely concerned that her cat Eloise's fur has changed from black on her back to a reddish brown. This happened after a visit to UC Davis to determine if she might have inflammatory bowel disease. Eloise's brother - Peter - died a year ago, and my grandmother is quite distraught at the prospect of losing her other "child". She asked me to find out anything I could about it using the internet. Can you help?

Thank you,
Sincereley, Rene

A: Rene-

It might be a good idea to have the cat's serum protein value checked. Inflammatory bowel disease can lead to difficulty absorbing protein or vitamins and low serum protein can cause a reddish discoloration of the haircoat.

It wouldn't surprise me if some medications can do this, too. I just don't know of any, offhand.

Mike Richards, DVM
post #3 of 13
Sometimes as black cats get older their black fur tends to rust. You often see this in cats that are bathed too often ot like to sit outdoors in the sun.

I have Persians and we see this quite often with them.
post #4 of 13
My black bicolour persian goes rusty on his back if he is allowed into the sun, but if I keep him out of the sun, his hair soon returns to a nice solid black.
post #5 of 13
I have an out side black cat and she gets reddish looking too but when her new coat comes in she is black again
But if you are worried I'd check with tha vet
post #6 of 13
I'm glad you asked because i just noticed this on my male tuxedo cat. His neck fur is turning a rusty red. He seems healthy, but it's so strange! Could it be diet?
post #7 of 13
Definitely because of the sun... My parents have a poodle, and though he's gray, if they don't groom him the ends get reddish -- vet blamed it on the sun!
post #8 of 13
I have never heard of black fur turning red being a symptom of a problem. It makes no sense to me, because most of the black animals I have had, did turn reddish when out in the sun alot, and it is where the sun hits them. Just like a blond person's hair lightens in the summer!

For a show cat, you need to keep them looking black, otherwise don't worry about it IMO!
post #9 of 13
i have a maine coon about 15 mos old. shes a mackerel brown tabby; when i got her, she was all tabby with a white belly and throat. everytime the seasons change, her colors do too. now shes got a dk beige belly and is mostly dk orange and brown with just a trace of stripes. her orange is becoming quite prominent. i realize shes not grown but it may be a MC thing
post #10 of 13
heh, my british blue;s fur is turning to a lighter shade of grey after some time... areas that are licked and groomed more often is also turning slightly brownish.. i was wondering if it;s cos of the dry and wet food they she ate and immediately groomed herself after every meal... anyone care to shed some light on this?
post #11 of 13
Black with a lot of sitting in the sun will tend to "rust out". I had a black smoke rex (with a chocolate father) who used to become a chocolate smoke in the summer. She always seems to have a slight chocolate shade in her coat all year round and she didn't sit in the sun that much.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by Sofie1006 View Post

I'm glad you asked because i just noticed this on my male tuxedo cat. His neck fur is turning a rusty red. He seems healthy, but it's so strange! Could it be diet?

I notice Frost has a bit of a reddish/brownish tint to his fur. Not sure if it's new or I just noticed it. He's an indoor kitty and only 6 months old. His undercoat is grey, but he use to have a lot of grey hair on his back which is why they named him Frost at the shelter. He turned a brilliant black and white after we took him home, but now I notice some reddening of his black hair.
post #13 of 13

Apart from bleaching from the sun it could also be a lack of Tyrosine in his diet, particularly in a longhaired cat. This is a non-essential amino acid that helps a cat to produce melanin which is essential to make black hair. Tyrosine can be found in healthfood stores, about $10 for 100 capsules. I've been feeding this to my all-black medium haired cat who had turned an ugly rusty orange on his tail, pantaloons and ruff, his belly is now almost white. The Tyrosine has apparently made a difference as the orange is almost gone but the belly stayed white. I feed him 1 capsule (broken open and put on his wet food) twice a day.

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