Three types of hair

Whether short or long, a cat’s coat, or fur, is of great appeal to humans, especially those of us who like to touch. Nature made cats touchable but also provided them with three different types of hair to protect them against the elements. The longest are the guard hairs, which form the topcoat, along with the shorter, bristly awn hairs.

Underneath these is the undercoat, which insulates and is composed of short, soft down hairs. (Some hot-climate breeds, such as the Siamese, lack down hair, while cold-climate breeds, like the Maine Coons, have thicker down.) A cat’s skin, like human skin, has erector muscles that raise or lower the hairs in response to emotions or temperature.

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