Does Your Cat Have a Grooming Problem?

Does Your Cat Have a Grooming Problem?

Good grooming comes naturally to most cats. They diligently lick their fur multiple times per day, ensuring that their coats look sleek and healthy no matter what the season. When your normally well-groomed pet suddenly looks greasy and disheveled, it's only normal to be concerned. Although most short-term changes in grooming aren't serious, over- or under-grooming can be a sign of a health problem.

Why Do Cats Groom Themselves?

Grooming removes loose hair and distributes natural oils along the coat, but it also offers several other benefits. Have you ever noticed that your cat spends more time grooming on hot, humid summer days? Grooming offers a natural cooling effect that can help your feline feel more comfortable when the temperature soars. Grooming also helps cats get rid of irritating substances and invaders, such as allergens and insects that may have hitched a ride on your pet's body. Many cats find grooming soothing and will settle down for a long licking session if they feel a little anxious.

Why is Over-Grooming a Problem?

Although it might seem as if your cat could never be too clean, over-grooming isn't good for your pet's skin. Excessive grooming can lead to hair loss and bald patches on the skin. If your pet's rough tongue breaks the surface of the skin, infected sores may form.

Cats over-groom for several reasons, including:

  • Creepy, Crawly Bugs. If your cat has fleas or other parasites, he or she will try to get rid of the irritating pests by licking them away.
  • Itching. Frequent grooming may be your pet's way of handling itchy skin, due to allergies or parasites.
  • Pain. In your cat's mind, grooming is a natural pain reliever. If your pet has developed arthritis or another painful condition, he or she may spend more time than usual licking one particular area.
  • Stress. Has your pet's normal routine changed lately? Any change can cause stress and anxiety, such as the addition of a new person or pet, a move to a new home or the death of a family member or pet.
  • Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS). The skin becomes extremely sensitive in cats who have FHS. The syndrome can be caused by allergies, fleas, ringworm, neurological conditions that affect the spine or tail, or compulsive behavior. If your cat has FHS, he or she may frantically lick or bite the skin in an attempt to calm the uncomfortable sensations.

Why Do Some Cats Stop Grooming?

Infrequent grooming is also a cause for concern. Lack of interest in grooming may occur if your cat has:

  • Arthritis. Painful joints make it difficult to reach all areas of the body easily.
  • Illness. Grooming may require too much energy if your pet doesn't feel well.
  • Obesity. Packing on a few pounds isn't just bad for your pet's health, but can also make grooming harder.
  • Dementia. Older pets who have dementia may simply forget to clean themselves.
  • Mouth Pain. Your cat may have stopped grooming due to a dental issue or even a tumor in the mouth.
  • Anxiety. Although stress and anxiety can cause excessive grooming, some cats react to stressors by avoiding grooming.

Why Can I Do to Help My Cat?

It's a good idea to schedule a visit with your pet's veterinarian if grooming changes last more than a few days. If the visit reveals a health issue, your pet will receive the appropriate treatment for his or her condition, such as flea or allergy medications, special shampoos that soothe the skin and reduce allergens, or dental treatment.

When grooming issues are caused by weight gain, your pet's vet can provide information on weight loss and recommend foods that will help your cat stay slim. Older pets who have arthritis or dementia may need a little help with grooming. Daily brushing will help your cat's coat look its best and also give you the perfect opportunity to spend a little quality time with your favorite feline.

Anxious pets may benefit from natural pheromones or even prescription anti-anxiety medication in severe cases. Maintaining a consistent routine and spending more time than usual with your pet can help him or her feel more secure and relaxed.

Are you concerned about your cat's grooming habits? We can help. Call us to schedule a convenient appointment for your furry friend.

Sources:

Hill’s Pet Nutrition: How Your Cat Uses Its Tongue for Grooming

https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/behavior-appearance/why-cats-groom-and-lick-themselves

Cornell Feline Health: Cats That Lick Too Much

https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/cats-lick-too-much

Animal Planet: Why Is Your Cat Not Grooming Himself

http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/healthy-pets/cat-not-grooming-itself/

Dr. Ken Fletcher Honored With Animal Welfare Award

OVMA Newsletter 2004

award.gifHonors this year were bestowed upon Dr. Ken Fletcher, Albany, for demonstrating outstanding professionalism, compassion and dedication with respect to the care and treatment of animals in a volunteer capacity.

You might say that Dr. Fletcher practices volunteerism full time and when he has a moment or two left in the day he practices veterinary medicine. This is stretching reality some, but it is an indication of his dedication as a volunteer.

For starters, Dr. Fletcher works with the City of Albany Police Department in regard to abandoned or sick animals, and he assists animal control--at no cost. As a solo practitioner, he continues to be active with the Chintinimi Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, where for the past seven years he has routinely provided veterinary care for and his assistance with the animals. He also is a member of their board of directors. And since 1996, Dr. Fletcher has found homes for more then 600 dogs and cats--and most often after he has given them necessary medical care and surgical attention at his own expense.
 

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Albany Officce

Monday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

See below*

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonial

  • "You guys are the nicest people. After we had to put my cat whiskers down you sent us a condolence card. Then when my dog ate grapes you took her in and saved her life. Even going so far as to give me a glass of water and putting a note on my account to never put me in the same room that I last saw my cat alive after I had a panic attack from just looking at the door. Thank you guys so much for taking great care of my pets."
    Megan V.