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Black Cat's Whiskers Turning Orange

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by nahui, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. nahui

    nahui Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Dec 8, 2016
    Recently I have been noticing that my three year old neutered cat's whiskers are turning a shade of orange/copper/(they were black). I wonder if this could be a sign of a dietary deficiency (he is a *very* picky eater). He also spends some time sunbathing, so I also wonder if it might be due to sun exposure.

    I've tried taking a picture of him, but I can't get the color to show as it is. I'll keep trying and post it if I'm successful. He is otherwise active and seemingly healthy. I've read about tyrosine deficiency and I'm afraid this could be it, but the strange thing is that it's just his whiskers, not his coat.

    Still, just to be safe, could I supplement with tyrosine? If so, any recommendations on a tyrosine supplement that could pass undetected by his Highness Mr. Gato?
     

  2. terestrife

    terestrife TCS Member Top Cat

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    how old is your cat? it might be old age. lol
    here
    here
    here

    edit: just reread your question 3 does seem young to be getting gray hairs. if you are concerned the best person to ask is a vet.
     

  3. nansiludie

    nansiludie TCS Member Top Cat

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    I wouldn't advise you to supplement him with anything without consulting a Vet first. I do want to ask, does he spend a lot of time in the sun? And also is it just his whiskers that are turning that color? Does he have any other signs besides his whiskers?
     

  4. Antonio65

    Antonio65 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Cats have whiskers also above their eyes and on the back side of front paws.
    Are they changing their color too, or just the whiskers around his nose?

    I second @nansiludie's advice, do not give any supplement without asking your vet first.
     

  5. nahui

    nahui Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Dec 8, 2016
    Thanks everyone for their input. It's just the whiskers around his nose. His coat is shiny and solid black. The vet checked him and said he seems healthy, but didn't do any tests (I don't know if any are needed). I'm afraid the vet is not very knowledgeable about nutrition. He recommended feeding dry kibble, but I have a hard time getting my cat to eat it, this is why I was thinking about adding a supplement to his food.

    My cat has recently been spending more time out in the sun, so could it just be something as simple as sun exposure?
     

  6. nansiludie

    nansiludie TCS Member Top Cat

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    Mar 14, 2014
    It very well could be, some of my outside community kitties are black and their fur turns auburn kind of like burnt orange in the summer, never the whiskers, but the tail and fur around their legs especially. I find this to be true for people as well, the sun lightens the ends.
     

  7. nahui

    nahui Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Dec 8, 2016
    I've been comparing my cat to my kitten, she is also black and does not spend as much time in the sun as him, although she also likes to sunbathe. Both eat the same diet, but only the one who spends more time in the sun has reddish-orange whiskers, so I'm leaning towards thinking that it might be the sun exposure after all. Either that, or he is getting grays from putting up with a rambunctious kitten! :lol:
     

  8. margd

    margd Chula and Paul's roommate Veteran

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    The coats of black cats do sometimes show a reddish/orange tint to them in summer called "rusting." I've never heard of whiskers rusting but I don't see why it's not possible. If this is what's going on with Mr. Gato, his whiskers should revert to their normal shade in winter.

    I wouldn't discount a nutritional deficiency just yet, though. I understand that your vet isn't that knowledgeable about nutrition but you might ask him if you can try supplementing with tyrosine, anyway. Since it's "only" an amino acid, he probably won't have any problem with you trying it. If the orange whiskers turn black again, there is your answer.

    Instead of adding supplements, you can also try resolving a deficiency (if it exists) by changing his food. You don't mention what dried food you're feeding Mr. Gato and your kitten but you might try comparing the protein levels in it to those in other kibble and switch to a kibble with higher protein levels. While you're at it, consider switching to a moist diet rather than a dried one. Check out this article for some good information on the pros and cons of dried vs moist food: Feeding Your Cat All cat food is nutritionally complete, (based on minimum daily standards developed by the Feline Nutrition Expert (FNE) Subcommittee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials) but every cat is different and you might find that changing the food you give to Mr. Gato and his little friend will result in black whiskers again. :purr::dancingblackcat:
     
    Antonio65 and 1CatOverTheLine purraised this.

  9. nahui

    nahui Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Dec 8, 2016
    @margd, Thank you for your reply! I feed both of them a homemade recipe from catinfo.org. I follow the recipe exactly as written, except for the bones, since I don't have a grinder just yet. I add all the recommended supplements, including bone meal to replace the fresh bones for now.

    The problem with Gato is that sometimes he refuses to eat his food or will eat only very little, so I give in and give him what I know he will eat... beef spleen (cooked). Can eating just beef spleen for two or three days in a row cause deficiencies in his diet? He usually will do this about once a month, two or three days in a row he refuses to eat anything, but beef spleen and then goes back to eating his normal homemade food.

    I have been reading about tyrosine and would like to give it a try, but would it be safe to add it to homemade food?
     

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