Frito Feet and Stanky Pet Pits: A Cornish Rex Conundrum
April 22, 2016 4:50 PM   Subscribe

I need advice from short hair cat breeds. I have a lovely Cornish Rex, Louise, who is white (and pink where her skin shows through). She gets dirty quickly, and I don't want to bathe her too frequently, because a) she doesn't like it, b) even though I towel her off, her little short curls and damp fur make her miserable and cold, and she's afraid of the hairdryer, and c) I don't want to dry her skin out, because it's so exposed... see inside for more fun Cornish Rex Facts!!!

Louise has very short whispy white curly fur, like marcel waves. Her belly, butt and ears are bare, and her legs are pretty bare-ish. She gives off a pinkish glow with her skin showing through the fur.

... except she gets dirtay. Oils that would normally collect and be carried off by longer fur, gets sort of stuck in the hard-to-reach-places of Louise's wrinkles and folds. She has blotches of brown "stained" skin all through her underbelly and thighs. Her bum... well it's stained too. Her armpits are hilariously brown and they smell like corn chips. The blackish residue builds between her little pink toe-beans. I love her but she's a little gross.

I have bathed her with sensitive-skin shampoo, and while it helps a little, It really doesn't lift the stain.

Does anyone have a Cornish Rex, Devon Rex or Sphynx or maybe a dog breed that has the same problems? Is there a good brand of shampoo that would work?

Thanks!! (and thanks from stinky Louise)
posted by Dressed to Kill to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are the stains rust colored? That can be a sign of a yeast infection in dogs and shows in areas they lick a lot. Maybe begin with a vet visit?
posted by cecic at 5:01 PM on April 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

With dogs, "frito feet" is definitely a thing -- it's a particular couple bacterial strains that are nearly universal and generally harmless unless they get out of control.

If the smell is strong and the skin is discolored, it's vet time -- might need a safe-for-animals antibacterial cream to help bring things back into balance. Your vet may have other suggestions for helping keep your Cornish Rex clean as well; there are plenty of skin-friendly cleansing wipes, both medicated and unmedicated, and scented or unscented, that your vet can likely recommend.
posted by erst at 5:15 PM on April 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

There are definitely waterless bath options that could be of use for your little stinko, nthing ask the vet, as cats are crazy sensitive to a lot of even the "gentle natural oatmeal based blah blah essential oil" type things, essential oils especially. Still, they'd be easier than a water bath and are usually in a sort of foam based format that could be worked into them pits and feet with one of those nubbly rubber mitts so it feels like cuddle time.

My family used to have a dachshund who smelled strongly of Fritos and I mocked her endlessly for it - same basic idea, skin on skin rubbing in the pits, stanky corn chip paws. That was just her way though.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:46 PM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thank you for the answers so far :)

Vet has seen the stains. He says they are oil mostly and some dirt (like on her saggy belly where it creases and she can't lick). He said it's not pretty but not unsafe either .
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:00 PM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Like a Sphinx, some Cornish Rex cats need frequent bathing as their lack of a complete coat makes them prone to getting greasy, dirty, and stinky. Weekly baths are not unusual for these breeds. Pick a gentle shampoo formulated for cats (no essential oils!) and get the cat used to bathing. There's no need to use a hair dryer as their thin, downy coats dry quickly. Make sure they have access to blankets when they're damp so that they can burrow in if they want. There are special products to remove staining, but those are generally used if you have a show cat and are competing. Regular baths should cut down on staining over time. These breeds rarely get dry skin; they tend to have the opposite problem.
posted by quince at 9:32 PM on April 22, 2016

Have you tried using baby wipes on her occasionally, so that you can clean her a bit more frequently without the hassle of shampooing?
posted by kinddieserzeit at 5:32 AM on April 23, 2016

Thank you, quince - so once a week won't be too much for her skin? You're right, it is always dry! I was worried that weekly would be way too harsh, but I'll look for a super duper sensitive shampoo and start her on a gentle regime.

(those Instagram Rexes are so damn clean!)

So a gentle shampoo with no essential oils?....I'll start my research. Currently I've been bathing her maybe once every couple of *months* (!!) with a brand called "Earthbath Tea Tree and Aloe" - tea tree oil (!!)

Thank you for your help all!
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:51 AM on April 23, 2016

Oh, and she hates baby wipes more than bathing (think looks of absolute broken-hearted betrayal)
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:53 AM on April 23, 2016

I've had multiple Devon Rex, but only one needed frequent bathing (he was also white, and I don't know if that just made the gunk show up better or if he was just a dirty little man). He came from a show family and had gotten used to weekly baths before I ever adopted him; neither of us used any special shampoo, besides an off the shelf brand marketed to brighten silver hair. So I agree with "he'll get used to it".

The black toe stuff is the worst, ugh. Sometimes I'd just take a warm washcloth and clean his toes.
posted by lilnublet at 8:47 AM on April 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

For drying, perhaps she could wear a fleece jacket or sweater.
posted by jamaro at 10:41 AM on April 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I use a shampoo for white dogs on my silver dog once a week and her skin is fine. That brand doesn't appear to make shampoo for cats, so I can't speak to that. As she has gotten older, the stains around her eyes, muzzle and butt have become more permanent regardless of shampooing.

My dog also gets cold and miserable and hates the hair dryer. I swaddle her in a thick towel, then cover the towel with a wool blanket. She will stay in there for hours.
posted by kamikazegopher at 2:28 PM on April 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

We've had good results toweling off our Greyhound with a damp (just warm water) microfiber cloth. In the seven years we've had her, she's had a bath maybe ... three times? (skunkings and rolling in mud) Greys have short, sparse fur with little-to-no undercoat. The cloth grabs any sheddy fur, skin flakes, or dirt without getting her all wet. It might feel more like getting petted to your cat than the baby wipes do?
posted by mon-ma-tron at 12:04 PM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

If there's any way to warm up the room where you bathe her first, that would be nice. A space heater in the bathroom perhaps? You could also warm up the towels you'll dry her off with in the dryer before hand. You might invest in a heated cat bed as a place for her to retreat afterwards.
posted by purple_bird at 1:33 PM on April 25, 2016

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