Cats are notorious for being neat freaks. They are constantly cleaning and grooming themselves; in fact, on average, cats clean themselves during half of their waking hours. So if your cat has suddenly stopped grooming herself, this can be a sign that something is very wrong and she needs to go to the vet right away.
There are quite a few telltale signs that your cat isn’t grooming properly, according to Village Gate Animal Hospital. First, you may notice matted fur or a greasier, harsher-feeling coat. She may have food on her cheeks or her feet may have litter stuck to them because she’s stopped cleaning her paws. She may even smell a little if she’s not keeping her bum properly cleaned.
One of the leading reasons why cats stop grooming is pain. Pain can limit a cat’s movements or flexibility, making it harder to groom herself. A lot of things can cause this type of pain, ranging from arthritis in older cats to a sprained joint or a broken bone. Cats can start showing signs of their age between 7 and 10 years, and most cats have elderly cat issues by the time they’re 12.
If your cat is having dental problems, this can also have a serious impact on her grooming ability. If her jaw hurts, she’s not going to want to lick her fur to clean herself. She may also be drooling or eating less if she has dental problems. You can get her teeth checked out at your vet.
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An overweight cat might simply be too chubby to be able to reach all the parts of her body that need grooming. If this is the problem, you’ll need to help your cat lose weight and brush her in the meantime. Some pet stores sell specialty wipes that are made to use on your cat to help keep her clean if she’s having trouble grooming.
This isn’t exactly the most pleasant topic to talk about, but sometimes a cat may appear to stop grooming the fur around her bum. This means it can get matted and really gross. Sometimes, a cat who’s a little chubbier just can’t reach her bum to clean it. Cats with long fur are also in danger of getting tangles and mats more easily, so she just may not be able to undo the matting herself. If the fur around your cat’s bum is matted, don’t take scissors to her because you might cut her skin if she reacts! Instead, see if you can get the fur shaved safely the next time you’re at the vet. But don’t delay taking care of the problem; a matted bum can cause sanitary issues and health issues if not shaved.
Whatever you may think is causing your cat to stop grooming herself, you should definitely get her checked out by a veterinarian right away. Lack of grooming can be a sign of a bigger health issue, so don’t delay taking your kitty to the vet. Once you find out the source of the problem, your vet may recommend that you start brushing your cat regularly to help her get back in the habit of grooming. Many cats love being brushed, so this can help build a stronger bond between you and your cat.