When my Ragdoll cat, Charlie, went to the emergency vet for nausea, it reminded me of this post. He was being seen by a veterinarian who did not know him, and she was lightly touching him. I told them (veterinarian and vet techs), they needed to grasp him because he has flat hair follicles.
I struggled to title this article as I am still learning more about it. And hope that one of our readers knows more or knows where to send me to learn more.
Some time ago, a reader asked me to do a video comparing the coats of my Ragdoll cats, Charlie and Trigg…and so I did. And that video, posted below, has been up for some time. I love both of their coats – Charlie’s is like he stuck his paw in an electrical outlet (meaning all of his hair sticks directly out and does not lay flat), whereas Trigg’s reminds me of Rags’ coat. But Trigg can get oily – he gets little “caps” on his nipples from oil build-up. Gross. Caymus’ coat is like nothing I’ve ever felt, and my sister’s new Ragdoll cat, Ash, has a freakin’ amazing coat.
Earlier this year, a vet in Scandinavia, Wirina Holstein, commented that Charlie’s coat is a “crépe coat.” I was fascinated. Who knew there were terms for different types of cat hair coats? She mentioned that Charlie’s coat resulted from flat hair follicles, and Trigg’s was from having round hair follicles! I had never thought that much about their hair types. And I greatly appreciate both of their coats – and Charlie’s obsessive nature about his coat.
I have included much of what Wirina wrote in the video’s comments section.
- Fatty Caps – Trigg probably “suffers” from being in a perfectly healthy condition. Most often, the oiliness and clogged glands is not because of an overproduction of sebum and other fats evaporating through the skin but simply because they are in good condition. The fat and the clogged fatty caps are a protection they would benefit from in wildlife. The fat ensures they won’t get as wet in the rain, won’t get dust all the way into their skin, and won’t get their fur mangled and damaged. And it keeps their skin soft and in good shape, just as they often produce a lot of excess ear wax, which would also help them a lot in wildlife but is a hassle for humans keeping them as pets. Since he is well fed with good fatty acid nutritional values, his coat has elasticity and a sleek top layer, making it soft and not mangled without split ends.
- Sebum – Often, there is a correlation between the thickness of the outer skin layer and the amount of sebum in the fur and the texture. In Charlie’s case, he doesn’t have that extra sebum in his coat. It’s seen by how his coat can fluff out in the air and be lighter even though it’s heavier.
- Crépe coat – We’re specifically talking about dense fur, flat hair strands, coat hairs that seem light, can stand out from the body of the animal, are movable, not too heavy, not too oily, don’t have a systematic characteristic of undercoat, usually no undercoat at all, the hair rejects water. Still, the coat is more prone to dryness than being moist. This type of coat rarely causes infections in the skin as the coat is not moist and heavy. The texture of the hair strands is what makes them fluffy and crepe-like, which means they can look puffed up or even frizzed or micro-curled, but they will still be soft to the touch, and some (like Charlie) can still have shine in the coat if the hair strands are similar and not too flat and will lay evenly most of the time. Speaking of evolution and nature, its one of the best kinds of coats because it causes fewer problems than most and can give protection from cold, rain, and even heat as the heat doesn’t reach into the fur because the hair strands are no lying still, totally straight and parallel to each other. But in breed culture, it’s not a favorite coat type as it can seem too bulky, making the animal seem less elegant and more like a little fur ball with legs. Additionally, it’s typically less desired because the fur can stand out more from the skin than regular long-haired coats like those typical of Maine Coons where the long coat lies flat. Crepe coats are also important in rescue work as its the hardest coat to treat because chemicals, dust, mange, and anything is impossible to clean out of a crepe coat, and often full shaving is necessary. Charlie’s fur has about the same level of water shield as a bird – and that’s a lot. But his crepe coat allows his fur to dry faster when wet. Also, because his hairs don’t lie all flat, he can “feel” them more as they are lifted horizontally from his skin. So he can feel the wind more than a cat with a flat coat that covers the skin all the way out to the surface. He can also feel being petted and groomed more. For some cats, it makes them become annoyed when being groomed, so they want to kill the brush or comb. His coat protects him from many skin and fur conditions and infections like flu and cold :-).
What do you know about this topic? Can you please share any insight or terminology you know? I’d like to look into it further.
Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,