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Need help with older cat that does not groom herself

Started 1297946884.047 in Pet Lovers | Last reply 1301368464.08 by catwhisperer

I would really love any suggestions for an older cat that does groom herself. We just recently adopted her (Annie) a few days ago. She was at the rescue for almost a year. She is just a sweet soul. They are not real sure about her age, but think 12-15 years old. She has the most unique coat color I have seen. Her coat is a blackish and frosted color. She has long hair. But because she does not groom herself, her coat appears to look greasy and mats easily. At the rescue they would comb and brush her very often and remove the mats as needed. They said they had her groomed once, but it did not make a difference. I have always had many cats, but this is the first one with the grooming problem. She is eating and drinking just fine and litter box deposits seem normal. She will be going to the vet on Monday to make sure everything is ok. I have been combing and brushing her gently. Is there something else we can do for her and help with her coat. I feel so sorry for her and want to do everything I can for her. Any suggestions, ideas or previous experience with this would be so much appreciated! Thank you so much!

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savetheani­mals1297953830.18128 PostsRegistered 8/23/2007

Please, anyone?

hyacinth0031297954066.486629 PostsRegistered 11/8/2005

Congratulations on your new kitty, Annie.

I think it's pretty unusual for a cat not to groom herself. The only time any of my kitties didn't groom was when they weren't well. The fact that she is eating and drinking well is good though.

It's good that you're seeing the vet with her. Then they can check out if there is anything physical going on there. If not, I foresee kitty bathing wipes and a lot of combing and brushing for you!

Hyacinth

StartingOv­er1297954127.143141 PostsRegistered 5/4/2008Dixie

I'm a new/first time cat mom, so take this for what it worth (nothing really). But, when our cat first adopted us, he was an outdoor cat. He would come home filthy sometimes. I bought this stuff - Hartz Waterless 3-in-1 solution (cleanses, freshens and deodorizes skin and coat). I would wet a wash cloth with warm water and then put a few sprays of the waterless shampoo on it and rub him down. He actually loved it. Mostly because of the rub down he got in the process. I bought the waterless shampoo at Walmart.

As I said though, I'm still learning! Good luck.

Last edited on 2/17/2011

Last edited on 2/17/2011

" Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength." -- Author Unknown


beach-mom1297954214.2939705 PostsRegistered 8/1/2007Mid-Atlantic

I would ask your veterinarian (my husband is one), but here's what I think. At her age you can probably get away with giving her a gentle bath. Just be sure and dry her thoroughly, even with a hair dryer set on gentle. Confine her to one room and stay with her until she's completely dry. If you don't want to go that route, they have wipes you can use in the pet stores. They're made for cats, but resemble baby wipes! We have an almost 20 year old who doesn't groom himself like he used to and that's what we use for him. He still loves to be brushed though! You will probably have to brush her regularly, and be on the lookout for mats under her coat. If that happens, don't try to get them out yourself. Take her to a professional groomer. Good luck, and thanks for giving her a wonderful home! Smile

lovemyboys1297955722.057535 PostsRegistered 4/29/2009

Look on the bright side, you won't have to put up with hairballs.Smile It's really nice of you to take in an older cat.{#emotions_dlg.tt1}

Shogirl1297956449.171992 PostsRegistered 12/6/2010

We keep our longhaired cat's fur trimmed into a modified lion's cut (short body hair with a mane of fur, tail and legs kept long.) I would suggest taking her to a cat groomer and having this done because it would alleviate any issues you're speaking of.

Best of luck with your new kitty!

Last edited on 2/17/2011

Last edited on 2/17/2011

sometimesQ­VCjunkie1297962986.9572740 PostsRegistered 5/12/2008
On 2/17/2011 Shogirl said:

We keep our longhaired cat's fur trimmed into a modified lion's cut (short body hair with a mane of fur, tail and legs kept long.) I would suggest taking her to a cat groomer and having this done because it would alleviate any issues you're speaking of.

Best of luck with your new kitty!

Last edited on 2/17/2011

I've actually heard this is not good for cats because they need their fur for 'protection' from the elements,either hot or cold. Also, being groomed like this can cause stress for cats which you'd want to avoid w/an older cat. In extreme situations when fur is matted all over down to the skin, that might be a ONE TIME OPTION but I would agree with the above posters on giving the cat a bath and trying to be more regular in YOUR grooming of the kitty. :) Also, check w/the vet when you take her in for a visit and see what they suggest as THEY are the TRUE experts! Thanks for taking in an older cat! How sweet! Sure kitty has several more years of happiness, and now in a loving home to boot! :)

AnikaBrodie1297964847.85715238 PostsRegistered 1/29/2008The NE state of mountains and valleys
On 2/17/2011 Shogirl said:

We keep our longhaired cat's fur trimmed into a modified lion's cut (short body hair with a mane of fur, tail and legs kept long.) I would suggest taking her to a cat groomer and having this done because it would alleviate any issues you're speaking of.

Best of luck with your new kitty!

Last edited on 2/17/2011

I'd try this route but would not shave her body hair really short, at least not the first time. Since she does not groom herself this would alleviate the matting and the hairballs.

~~~The Silver Fox ~~~
“... We don't meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason..." (Anonymous)

Sammycat11297965192.1279793 PostsRegistered 9/30/2005

She may have kidney or thyroid problems, or perhaps some arthritis, or the beginnnings of diabetes. All cause coat changes and/or cause the kitty no longer to groom. Sometimes elderly kitties just slow down or stop grooming (and she is geriatric at 12-15 years old; forgot all the hooey about a lot of cats living to 19 or 20. They are VERY rare, the exception not the rule.)

Before you go shampooing, take her to the vet in her current state so he/she can see what's happening. In the absence of medical problems, you can sponge bath her rather than immerse her. We have an ill geriatric cat and I've had to do this. I use some microfiber cloths with very warm water--which kind of mimics their tongue--to wipe him down, then use the same dry cloth to absorb any dampness afterward.

Good luck!

Jeanne R1297965195.974788 PostsRegistered 7/5/2010

congratz for new beauty


ChynaGirl1297970046.2733895 PostsRegistered 12/2/2005

Hi savetheanimals, what you're experiencing is very typical for an older cat, and one who may have some health problems, kidney problems in particular. As cats get older, they do stop grooming, especially long-haired cats, and those long-haired cats with kidney diseases tend to have problems with matting.

I suggest a good brush, and something to help with the matting. A furminator works great. And as some posters suggested, maybe some wipes. Unless you know the cat will tolerate a bath, and depending on if she's declawed or not, I'd hesitate to try it for fear of shredded arms and hands. A professional groomer might be in order, in that case, just to get the mats out. It's probably better to try to get the mats out yourself first, professional grooming puts a lot of stress on an older animal if they're not accustomed to it.

My kitty is almost 21, and she has Chronic Renal Failure (CRF). In addition, she has ulcers in her mouth and on her chin. She does not groom herself, at all. I can give her a bath, but it takes a long time to dry her and she does not tolerate a blow dryer. So, I clean her with wipes, I use the same wipes that I take off eye-makeup with, brush her daily and use a furminator whenever there are mats. I have taken her to a profi-groomer a few times, but like I said, it's stressful for cats and just better to do it yourself on a daily basis.

Noel71297970642.49734868 PostsRegistered 8/8/2007

Hi there, save!

One of our kitties is about to turn 17 years old and she basically stopped grooming herself awhile back.

She's a Persian, so it would be a big job for her. Every once in awhile she gives herself a lick or two, but that does pretty much nothing.

My daughter said she just heard about a dry bath product for cats, and the other day a lady on this board mentioned there are wipes for kitty baths. I'm going to look for those.

Our vet said it's OK in that it can and does happen with elderly cats, which means daily grooming if she will put up with it.

"Oh, mother country, I do love you."
John Stewart

violann1297973312.2412701 PostsRegistered 12/12/2004

Weeble had a skin condition that caused him to mat and develop a sort of cell residue on his skin. Combing them out was sometimes painful for him, but he always seemed to feel better when his skin was residue free.

I think the wipes and dry baths are a great idea.

He actually enjoyed grooming himself until he was quite elderly, but he couldn't reach the part of his back that had the problem, so we helped him!




I didn't come here to argue.- Peg Bracken

kitkom1297975565.7375646 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

My goodness DON'T do anything suggested here until you visit the vet and ask THEM what to do. {#emotions_dlg.thumbup1}

"Happiness is Lake Charlevoix!"

savetheani­mals1297975783.05128 PostsRegistered 8/23/2007

I truly appreciate everyone's suggestions! I will brush her daily, but am going to wait on the other things until her vet appointment which is on Monday. I am worried for some reason it will not be good news, I sure hope I am wrong. She is a sweetie and I will do everything I can for her. I will give an update after her appointment on Monday. Thank you so much to everyone!

BellaA1297984686.56312 PostsRegistered 7/21/2010

I rescued my long haired cat when she was around 2 years old--she's now 8. She's never groomed herself, except around her face and paws. (Her daughter will occasionally help with the face...so cute.) She also dislikes being brushed and will tolerate limited combing with a comb on some part of her body, but not others. Vet says she is very healthy, just lazy.

My solution is to take her to a groomer every 4 months or so (when she starts to smell), and we shave her stomach (it develops painful matting if we don't and she will not let me touch her stomach with a brush/comb) and rearend, shampoo/dry her and really brush her out good. Groomer says she tolerates this very well. I make sure that she is the first pet up for the day and I pick her up as soon as she is finished drying. She comes home from the groomer preening, rolling around over and over on floor and just purring and begging for attention.

I hope you find a good solution for your new kitty. Bless you for taking in an older cat!

Noel71297990787.82734868 PostsRegistered 8/8/2007
On 2/17/2011 savetheanimals said:

I truly appreciate everyone's suggestions! I will brush her daily, but am going to wait on the other things until her vet appointment which is on Monday. I am worried for some reason it will not be good news, I sure hope I am wrong. She is a sweetie and I will do everything I can for her. I will give an update after her appointment on Monday. Thank you so much to everyone!

I'd love to hear what your vet says since we have the same issue Smile

"Oh, mother country, I do love you."
John Stewart

dr_donna1297991301.037271 PostsRegistered 6/21/2007

I have a 12 year old tabby who had never really groomed herself. I adopted her when she was just six weeks old. She had been found with a litter of kittens at about three days old and their mother was missing so she was hand fed and raised.

I think she just never learned to clean herself because she had no mother to teach her. She didn't clean at all when I first got her. I had an older cat too at the time and eventually she did pick up a bit from her about grooming, but she never did very much. I had to have her washed and groomed regularly when she was little becuase she didn't clean herself.

Now that she is older, I notice she isn't cleaning much at all and she often doesn't smell clean like my other two cats do. I wouldn't dream of trying to wash her now though. She can be quite testy. We can't even really take her to the vet without sedation. She won't allow me to brush her.

I might try some of the new dry shampoos with her eventually and maybe you could try those if your cat has odor or dirt. For mats, I think all you could do is brush her yourself regularly like you have been.

Rooney11297993157.4235837 PostsRegistered 9/5/2007White Mountains - Northeastern Arizona

I do think cats are like people in that some have better grooming habits than others. However, my Cora, when she got really old - probably about 2 to 3 months before she died, stopped grooming herself. I took a soft, damp wash cloth and gave her a gentle rub down. She really appeared to enjoy it. Didn't have to brush her as she was short haired.

That may help. She may also have a skin issues if her fur is very oily...

Good luck!

colson1297993353.3077438 PostsRegistered 10/23/2007East Coast
On 2/17/2011 Sammycat1 said:

She may have kidney or thyroid problems, or perhaps some arthritis, or the beginnnings of diabetes. All cause coat changes and/or cause the kitty no longer to groom. Sometimes elderly kitties just slow down or stop grooming (and she is geriatric at 12-15 years old; forgot all the hooey about a lot of cats living to 19 or 20. They are VERY rare, the exception not the rule.)

Before you go shampooing, take her to the vet in her current state so he/she can see what's happening. In the absence of medical problems, you can sponge bath her rather than immerse her. We have an ill geriatric cat and I've had to do this. I use some microfiber cloths with very warm water--which kind of mimics their tongue--to wipe him down, then use the same dry cloth to absorb any dampness afterward.

Good luck!

This makes the most sense to me, particularly the last paragraph!!!

Bianca1297994055.027249 PostsRegistered 10/19/2004

My 14 year old kitty would get matted all the time (long haired Persian) & she did not want me to brush her. I can't tell you how many different brushes I bought. She also had a thyroid issue & it was so hard just to keep her at 5 lbs.

She was so matted by her belly & between her back paws & I just couldn't do anything. I asked the vet if maybe we can sedate her and shave her. Unfortunately, since she was to tiny, they said it couldn't be done because she might not come out of it. They suggested I leave her there overnight & they will slowly trim her fur. Picked her up the next day & couldn't believe how tiny she was. She just passed away on Oct. 7th & I'm still heartbroken.

I would speak with the vet & see if they would buzz her. I did purchase a product from QVC that I would spray on a cloth & just wipe her down & that she had no problem with. You can go to a pet store & ask for a dry shampoo or maybe a spray product.

Good Luck!

LemonKitti1297998000.16783 PostsRegistered 5/10/2010

Sounds like a pain issue to me. At my clinic we see a lot of cases such as this. The clinic used to be traditional veterinary medicine only, but since we have gotten into a more alternative/holistic approach, we now know of a way to help with this problem.

Most of the time a food change and a chiropractic adjustment is what works best. Obviously we rule out underlying infection that may be causing the pain in the first place. Once you fix things such as bladder infections (which are a lot more common than you think, and less common in folks who feed GOOD food) and get the cat on a good diet, you can usually alleviate pain with VSMT(animal chiropractic)

{Guys, when I say GOOD food, I do not mean expensive food necessarily. I mean look at the label, if you must use a commercial food, and see what the ingredients actually are. Cats are meat eaters, so all of the corn that is in your Iams, Science Diet, Eukanuba, ect... are not actually good for cats. Honestly, real food (people food) is the only thing you can really trust to know what you are actually feeding. You would just be sick if you knew what you may actually be feeding your pet once you look into the label.}

When a cat does not feel well they may lose their drive to function normally, as well as just the ability to do so. Cats want to be clean, it is in their nature. Sometimes tehy have to be talked back into it though.

Take your cat to a vet who is at least open minded to these things, or just find a vet who practices both traditional and alternative medicine, so you have the choice yourself.

I hope this was helpful

JBinRWC1297998850.5038593 PostsRegistered 1/26/2008Northern CA

savetheanimals, bless you for taking in an older cat. I am hoping that your vet has suggestions about the grooming situation. And hoping that your new kitty will let you comb/brush her which should help a lot. I have one cat who is a compulsive groomer. The other who was dumped without her Mom at about 4 weeks seems to have never learned much about grooming. My last cat did stop grooming when he got older and was not really well. Good luck with your sweet new kitty.

savetheani­mals1298402128.43128 PostsRegistered 8/23/2007

Just wanted to update everyone on Annie. She went to the vet and he said she is just fine. Blood work was ok. He said it is probably her age for the lack of grooming. I want to thank everyone for the suggestions. I have started using a wet microfiber cloth and then drying her with a microfiber cloth (she seemed to like it) and then brushing her very gently. Let me tell you it has already made a huge difference. I will do this a couple times a week and hopefully I can get her looking and feeling much better. I probably will pick up some cat bath wipes also to try, but so far the microfiber cloths and the brushing is working. Thanks again everyone!

Keli131301360185.8637516 PostsRegistered 1/24/2006
On 2/17/2011 Shogirl said:

We keep our longhaired cat's fur trimmed into a modified lion's cut (short body hair with a mane of fur, tail and legs kept long.) I would suggest taking her to a cat groomer and having this done because it would alleviate any issues you're speaking of.

Best of luck with your new kitty!

Last edited on 2/17/2011

I get my longhaired cat the Lion cut every summer and she loves it !!

I don't do a modified Lion cut, I do the whole shebang.

She doesn't mat very much anymore but is a complete baby when I brush or comb her. She doesn't mind me brushing her upper body but she does not like when I do her lower body especially near her back legs or her butt.

Now that I get her hair cut once a year she does not mat at all. It also helped when I switched her to canned food and she lost a little weight which helped her to groom herself better.

She is 18 years old.

She looks so cute with most of her fur shaved off and it feels good for her during the summer.

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