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Old 09-02-2008, 05:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat won't/can't groom himself

We have a quality preloved cat (we rescued him from a couple who were moving overseas and were going to have him put down) who has been living with us since late last year. He is a very large medium haired white moggy.

His previous owners had been told by the vet that he had depression, and he had previously been on antidepressants but had come off them by the time we got him. He took a while to settle in with us as was and is very timid (only goes outside at night and rarely leaves our bedroom).

Despite this, he has settled in well with us and is very affectionate towards me. He eats well (quality food) and drinks well, and definitely has no problems with his bowels.

But our problem? He doesn't clean himself. His fur gets quite greasy, and because of the length it gets pretty matted and clumpy. We had to go away on vacation for 6 weeks and leave him with a housesitter, and when we came back his fur is matted into one big lump on his back which looks very uncomfortable and painful for him

I'm going to groom him and cut the clumps and matts out, but am hoping there is something I can do to encourage him to groom himself? Someone suggested spraying him with chicken stock so he licks himself? Or could it be symptomatic of something else perhaps?

If anyone could help I'd really appreciate it. I'm going to take him to the vet when I have the money but was hoping there is a simple solution for us
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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When you say 'very large' do you mean very fat? If yes, then he probably can't reach to groom himself. The solution would be to get him to lose weight. And most med/longhaired cats do need help with regular brushing to keep the mats away, even if they can generally groom themselves...
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodlebug
When you say 'very large' do you mean very fat? If yes, then he probably can't reach to groom himself. The solution would be to get him to lose weight. And most med/longhaired cats do need help with regular brushing to keep the mats away, even if they can generally groom themselves...
He's really just a big cat, though he has definitely put on weight since we went away (I think he was eating because he didn't have company during the day and most evenings). He's about twice the size of a regular cat, but that's mostly just length and height. I should post a photo of him with something for size comparison!

Is it unusual to have a cat just not interested in grooming? I mean, I don't ever even see him licking bits which he can reach and he's just so greasy!
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have three long-hairs, with one being overweight. The normal weight ones keep themselves clean, though they can get snarls and mats. S-Jo, my 'big girl' finds it difficult to groom along her back/loins and potty-area. I keep her brushed and will shave a 'potty-patch' to help keep things nice for her.
I think she also doesn't care to lick all her long fur...
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default grooming...

Hi,
My brother's elderly cat recently gave up grooming herself.
We took her for a professional grooming (not a vet, as they're needlessly expensive for that kind of job). The groomer had a pile of hair/fur as big as the cat. Amazing.
The cat was so happy, purring etc.
My brother has continued grooming her a little each day, and the cat now does the rest, and looks so much better, younger, and is so much happier!

Hope this works for yours!
Richard
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Pixel, it's unusual, but it does happen... when I got Tom from a shelter situation - he'd spent nine months being bounced around from pet store to humane society to pet store in a small cage with his sister - he wouldn't groom himself. His coat isn't all that great to begin with, but it gets downright greasy and grimy when it's not groomed. I think it could have had soemthing to do with him being depressed/stressed/scared. I really don't know. It DID come back to him, though, after maybe a year with me. He always grooms me and the other two cats, but he seemed to have forgotten all about grooming himself.

If I were you, I would give him regular baths and grooming. You can use dawn soap as a de-greaser, but I wouldn't use it regularly. I love anything by Earhtbath, the mango tango smells especially good and keeps white coats quite white. He'll probably need a once-a-month or more bath depending upon how dirty he gets himself, and I would do a brushing every couple of days. Buy a few different combs and keep them where the two of you cuddle most, and catch him while he's relaxed to brush out problem areas. You can also get kitty wipes if he needs to get clean but you don't have time for a bath. A kitty companion, if he's friendly towards other cats, might be nice for him, too.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If he gets greasy mats, water will make them tighten up and be impossible to remove without shaving. For mats, if you are going to comb them out (or try to) use cornstarch (small amount) to help loosen the mats while you comb.

Honestly, if he got that bad, I'd take him to a groomer and have him done professionally, then just use a very soft baby hair brush on him every day while his hair is going in, and switch to a comb as it gets long enough to need it.
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks guys for all the great info. I think we're going to try to get him on a diet and a bit more exercise to get his weight down.

I went and got a new brush yesterday and it's made grooming him a lot easier. I spent a decent length of time last night brushing and cutting out the knots so will try to keep it maintained from now on (and not leave him for any length of time again, bad Mummy!)
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