Cats are known as groomers in the animal kingdom. These furry creatures spend up to 50 percent of their time cleaning up their bodies. Cats can maintain such high personal grooming standards because of their tongues which have bristles. The flexibility of the cat also plays a role here.
This act of grooming is a sign of good health, confidence and contentment. The brain releases endorphins when licking movements are repetitive. It is almost like what happens when you pet a cat. Some cats may develop matted fur because they did not learn to care for their coat properly. In other cases, it could mean a more serious illness.
Possible Causes of Matted Fur
Oral disease could lead to matting. Since the mouth is used for grooming, oral disease could prevent the pet from grooming. Some common diseases that affect the cat’s ability to groom include periodontal disease which affects the gum and teeth, stomatitis or oral tumors that inflame the mouth. These conditions are all painful and can reduce grooming.
Loss of spine flexibility is another possible cause. Cats are known for their flexibility and loss of that function can greatly impact grooming. This is the leading cause of matting among cats. Arthritis and obesity are two health issues that can cause loss of flexibility of spine. Overweight cats cannot twist their heads far enough to clean their bodies properly.
Aside from oral disease and loss of spine flexibility, general malaise can affect a cat’s grooming session. The commonest symptom is a feeling of unwellness and the cat may sleep more than usual. The pet may also be less bothered about grooming. When your pet’s fur mats, it could be an indication of anemia, kidney failure, diabetes, cancer or heart disease. Improper breathing can also cause malaise in pets. Matting of hair could be a clear sign that your cat is sick.
Another factor to consider is stress. Stress is known to influence grooming habits. Many cats hypergroom when stressed and this could cause bald spots to appear on the coat. This is done to push their brains to release endorphins to self-medicate the anxiety they feel. This response to stress is not uniform as some other stressed cats may not want to groom at all. Such cats may suffer from anxiety and worry that they need to be on their feet surveying the environment instead of grooming.
Matting can cause other problems especially when it is located at the hind end. Fur matting around the hind quarters of a cat can obstruct defecation as well as urination. This can also cause other serious health issues such as constipation, urinary tract infection, and moist dermatitis.
Take some time to observe you pet to be sure about what is causing the problem for the pet. Allowing it to linger on could spell trouble for your pet especially if it is caused by illness. It is recommended to take your cat to a vet to diagnose the problem and then determine steps to fix matted cat fur and prevent it from happening again.