Cats are notoriously good groomers. In fact, if you pay attention you may notice your cat giving herself a bath several times a day. Grooming is your cat’s way of eliminating loose fur, dead skin cells, and debris. Grooming also helps your cat regulate her temperature. Healthy cats will go out of their way to maintain well-kept coats. Therefore, a neglected coat can be a sign that something is wrong with your cat and warrants a visit with your veterinarian.
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1. Arthritis or achey joints
Arthritis is most common in elderly cats but achey joints can be caused by a variety of problems and can effect cats of any age. If your cat has painful joints you may notice that, in addition to a negelcted coat, she is avoiding jumping or climbing to her favorite perches.
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Overweight cats can have a hard time accessing certain areas of their body due to mobility and flexibility issues. If your cat is overweight you may notice that she’s having a particularly hard time grooming hard-t0-reach areas such as her back or belly.
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3. Mouth pain
If your cat is neglecting her coat because of mouth pain, it may be accompanied by drooling, inflamed gums, or a change in eating habits. Dental problems can become very serious, particularly if your cat isn’t eating well, and should be addressed immediately.
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Any changes in your cat’s normal behavior, eating habits, or grooming habits can be a red flag that something is amiss with your cat’s health and wellness such as kidney failure or thyroid problems. Cats are great at hiding illnesses and a health problem can be fairly advanced by the time she starts showing symptoms. Take any changes seriously and see your veterinarian right away to rule out (or begin treating) a larger health issue.
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5. Inaccessible long hair
Cats with long hair or thick coats can have a hard time accessing their undercoat and skin and may be more prone to mats and messes. If your cat is having a hard time grooming, it’s your responsibility as her caretaker to help her out with a daily brushing session.