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ERAnimalNurse, Emergency Critical Care Nurse
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 2302
Experience:  16+ years of veterinary experience
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My older cats fur has suddenly matted on her

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My older cat''s fur has suddenly matted on her back and chest. She''s developing a bald spot near her tail (and it looks sore) probably from over-grooming. The mats are quite dense and close to her skin (it''s as if she matted up over night!). Sometimes her long fur becomes tangled when warm weather arrives in the spring and it''s handled gently with combing -- she loves it. But she''s never matted so intensely and suddenly. She''s got a few years on her (16), but she''s active, eats and drinks well, and doesn''t stray far from me. She does go outside but we live in a low-populated area. I rarely see her leave the yard area to nose around in the forest, especially if it''s below 45 or above 75 degrees. We have two other cats, one from her same litter (a sister) with no symptoms and an older cat who''s about 19 -- she gets this every year because of her fur-type. The vet treats that cat and she''s fine. Any ideas what''s wrong with my sweet Thelma?

HI there,

I am sorry Thelma is having trouble with her fur. She is considered geriatric now (8+ years old) and elderly cats can experience many natural changes and disease processes that can affect their skin and hair coats. The 3 major illnesses to afflict older kitties are Diabetes, Kidney Disease and Hyperthyroidism. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption, increased urination, weight loss, changes in behavior, changes in appetite, vocalizations, muscle wasting, dehydration, weakness and poor hair coat. I understand that it is a regular occurance for Thelma to have some trouble with her coat, but one of the above illnesses can be responsible for making the usual trouble much worse. Miss Thelma will need to see the vet for some careful clipping and de-matting. If you are able it would also be a good idea to have a comprehensive blood and thyroid panel and a urinalysis run to screen for disease, and to evaluate organ function and hydration status. Older kitties have very thin skin, so get the matts removed as soon as you can. I have seen cats with badly torn skin from catching matts on objects. This is painful and can require antibiotics and pain medicines.

You are doing a great job with your kitties, it sounds like they are flourishing under your care. Your 2 other kitties would also benefit from some blood work as cats are masters at hiding illness.

I hope that Miss Thelma does well, and that your other kitties are happy and healthy. Let me know if I can be of further assistance, and good luck. If this has been helpful, please hit the green accept button.

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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I'll call the vet tomorrow; thanks for the reminder of serious repercussions due to matts. I also need to take my dog in (and yes we have kids, but they're healthy and MUCH younger!) but that's a whole 'nother bill.... Our cats have maintained their health well and the possibilities you mentioned I hadn't even considered. Sorry!- I should have! I will absolutely have her status checked; and hope to maintain her comfort. Thank you so very much for the "nudge" in the vet's direction. Mostly, thank you for your time and thoughtful response. --Sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX

You have alot going on in your life, and you are doing a great job caring for and meeting the needs of all that depend on you. It is the job of your veterinary staff to educate you and remind you of the possibilities concerning your pets conditions, so there is no need to apologize!

Vet care is expensive, particularly when you have older pets. Do the best you can, I know you work hard to care for your babies. Thanks for being such a good pet owner!