Why did my old cat stop grooming?

  • I have a 15 year old female cat who has not been able to groom like she use to, maybe because of teeth being removed maybe not. But she is so matted that it is causing her pain. Would have her shaved but worried she is to old for the drugs to out her to sleep while they shave her. Any ideas

  • ( I would take her to the vet and ask them ), or ask a groomer what you should do 

  •   I would take her to the vet and ask them, or ask a groomer 

  •  Also, they stop grooming themselves when they get sick or too old 

  • Hi Joanne,

    I agree with Linda, this could be the result of being sick (such as Hyperthyroidism  or Feline Leukaemia) and elderly and a trip to the veterinarian can be beneficial. 

    In addition, often when older cats stop grooming themselves; it could also be because the task is somewhat painful in the joints. There could be arthritis involved and the movement causes discomfort. This can also lead to them feeling depressed, thinking by licking their front paws only is good enough and not worth more effort. 

    To help your old girl, consider investing in a soft bristled brush and give her a gentle brushing everyday. This may not get the really bad matted areas out (a trip to a vet or groomer will help there) but it will help in new ones from forming. You can also use unscented cat-friendly wipes to keep her coat and skin moisturized and clean.This will help her physically feel better too. 

  • Hey Joanne, this is Linda, one of the vets.

    In addition to Nicole's comments, I'd add that we often de-mat elderly cats with no sedation, or just very mild sedation. Those who are in good health are good candidates for sedation and complications are rare.

    The benefot of removing the mats generally outweight the risks as the cat has less pain, more mobility and there is less risk of skin infection.


    The vet must examine her mouth. If she has had teeth removed before, she may need a further dental and lack of grooming is a common indication of oral pain.

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