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Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 31925
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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why do cats quit cleaning themselves.

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My cat has quit cleaning herself and doesn't eat or drink much, like she used to. what's wrong?

how old is she?

How long is she acting this way?

is she spayed and indoor?

what is her usual food?





Customer: replied 9 years ago.
She is 12 or 13 years old.
She has been acting this way for about 2 months.
She is spayed
She is an indoor cat but goes out the doggy door all day, our yard is fenced.
I used to feed her Nine Lives but I have been trying to give her other food and she will eat some.
I don't know if she is drinking from the dog's water or not drinking much at all because her water bowl seems to never go down much.


Please stand by while I type detailed answer.

do you offer her dry food only?
when was her last checkup?




Dear friend,

Cats do not have whims like people. Whenever they stop eating they are either ill or in pain. If her blood work was unremarkable and she has no other symptoms like fever, diarrhea, constipation, infection, etc then there is something going on that is difficult to ascertain - but it exists nevertheless. Sometimes a cat can have an abscessed tooth or root that is in the gum.In a cat her age that is very possible. They can ingest a piece of plastic that in not perceivable in an xray. They can be mildly dehydrated or have a metabolic or organic imbalance that is too slight to read on a test. She may also feel nauseated.

Usually when a cat stops gooming it is because she is not feeling well. Changes in the coat or a reduction of appetite is the first clue that someting is amiss because cats try to hide their illness from you as long as possible.

Besides a bad tooth, she could have a hormone imbalance or be underhydrated.

So lets start there:

If your cat is not diabetic begin by giving her two droppers (cc size) of unflavored pedialyte every ten minutes for an hour. Next water down(plain water) canned cat food or baby food chicken or turkey with no onion or garlic and give only one dropper every ten minutes for another hour. Wait two hours and repeat both. When she feels hydrated she will lick up the gruel on her own.If she is happy to eat the soft food it is likely her teeth.

Boil chicken or fish as the scent of food cooking awakens the appetite sensor in the brain.

Please get started ASAP and let me know how things are going. I will stand by to hear from you and help further.

Very sincerely,


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Terri Riba's Post: I give her dry food almost always.
She has not had a checkup in several years.


I think your girl either has an abscessed tooth or a thyroid issue. Of course only an in person exam can say for sure.However, not grooming and a lack of desire to eat dry food are indications of one of these issues. It could also be dabetes, a renal problem or underhdration.

Try her on wet food or baby food and see if she is more motivated to eat.She can also have the pedilyte.

If she eats the canned, it is likely her teeth.

Please let me know what happens. If you still have questions, I will always be here for both of you.

Sincerest best wishes,


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
She stopped grooming probably 2 months before she stopped eating. She has matts now, and she has never had them before. Her coat is not at all like it used to be and I know she is dirty, but she is a very big cat 15lbs (maine coon & manx) and she fights me and gets away. What do you recommend for the matts and what kind of food do I need to buy her from now on? But, why doesn't she want water?? After this is answered I should be satisified unless I forgot to mention something else.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Why will she not drink water?

Dear friend,

Ask all the questions you like. I do not mind at all as I am here to help.

My cat (17) Maine coon too - gets the same type of mats once a year. I get them off with a mens beard trimmer.

I would begin feeding her canned food and add water as that will increase her hydration.. Also drip oil like from tuna once a day. You can also give her tuna water. Cats are not big drinkers - sometimes you have to fool them.

If you still have questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I am happy to help someone as lovely as you and your sweet girl.

Very sincerely,


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
She loves tuna and small strip of chicken but not shrimp for some reason.
One more thing. How do you shave your cat? I have a beard trimmer but she wiggles, hisses and tries to claw me with her back claws. Is your cat like this? I have some tape that I got from the vet to tie her feet for something else that she went through but can't remember what it was for,is that a good idea? I think I'm through now. Thanks for your patience with me.

Dear friend,

By all means let her eat tuna once a day if she loves it. At her age she deserves a bit of indugence.She can have boiled chicken as well.

My cat, Tabitha, also does not apprecite mat removal and she even has front claws LOLI have a second person (hubby) hold her while I do it and I always give her a treat after so she puts up with it. She loves tuna and chicken too.

I think I would try wrapping her in a towel before the feet taping.That is likely to stress her out, don't you think? Also wait til she is sleepy and just do one or two at a time.

If you still have questions just let me know and I will always be here for you.

Very sincerely.


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