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Elderly Cat with Matted Fur

by Florence
(Pleasant Valley, NY USA)

I have an elderly cat (14 years old) who is overweight and is having difficulty grooming herself. She is a semi-long hair cat with some kind of weird condition with her fur. It is matted right down to the skin all over her back, stomach, and back legs. I have tried to untangle the matted fur but it comes out in bunches so she has several bald spots. I tried brushing her fur but the fur continues to be matted.


Vet Suggestion Matted Cat Fur

Hi Florence,

It is not unusual for older cats to develop arthritis, and this, in combination with your cat’s excess weight, may be making it very difficult/painful for her to groom herself and keep the matts at bay.

Your best option is to make an appointment with a groomer who can safely shave away all the matts before skin problems begin to develop underneath. Be aware that many cats need to be sedated for this procedure because the groomer has to pull on the matts to get the clippers underneath and this can be painful.

Once your cat’s current matts are gone, weight loss is the best way to prevent them from returning. Your veterinarian can help you come up with the safest and most effective way for your cat to lose weight and also evaluate her for arthritis and determine if treatment is necessary.

Regards,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Cat Matted Fur

by Miranda
(Orlando)

I found this stray cat and I cant figure out if she is sick. She has matted fur all over her. At first I assumed it was just from being left outside. She was very very matted and under weight. So I waited about 2 weeks to get her a little plumped up to start dealing with the matts.

Now that I have started to try to comb them or cut them out I have noticed that the really bad ones have caused her fur to pull away from her skin. I don't know if maybe the matts got caught on something outside and pulled the fur or if there is something wrong with her. How can I tell?

Editor Suggestion - cat matted fur

Dear Miranda,

Thank you for your question regarding cat matted fur.

Stray cats are more prone to different health issues, and cat skin issues are the most common, since the skin is the most exposed part of the body.

Is possible that your cats fur pulled by something? Even though this might be the case, it is more likely that the problem is related to the self grooming habits of cats.

Cats regularly groom themselves, but this habit is less common in stray cats. They do not do so regularly and thus their coat gets tangled. Therefore, when active self grooming starts later in life, this causes their fur to get pulled and self injuries are noted.

Thus, cats with dense coats and those that are rescued require more attention and help with grooming. This can be accomplished with a quality shampoo for bathing such as Clean-Cat Shampoo with Chamomile, and by regularly combing and removing tangles.

In this case, it is recommended that you should consult a professional groomer to remove the tough matts. For regular use at home, use a quality dematter such as the one offered by Groomax. If you think that you can dematt current tangles yourself without causing damage to the skin, you can try it yourself at home, but only with the help of a quality dematter, which should be safe for the cats skin.

Additionally, as you say your cat is underweight. Try to feed her additional supplements along with regular food that help with cat weight gain such as Nutri-Cal.

If you take good care of her and keep her engaged in indoor activities when you can, the cat matted fur condition will get better over time.

Please keep us up to date on the cat matted fur problem and how it was solved.

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