What to Do if Your Cat Isn’t Grooming Herself

Everyone knows cats are meticulous self-groomers. They preen, lick, and comb their own fur constantly. As such, something’s definitely wrong if your cat has stopped grooming herself. Read more below as a Grandview veterinarian advises you on how to recognize and treat a lack of grooming.

Signs of Ceased Grooming

It shouldn’t be too hard to tell when a cat has stopped grooming herself—the coat will look greasy and feel harsh instead of smooth and shiny. The cat may have mats of fur on its body or tail. The feet may look stained from the litterbox. In some cases, a cat will have particles of food around her face, indicating she isn’t cleaning herself up after meals.

Ask your veterinarian about more telltale signs that a cat isn’t grooming properly.


Improper grooming can stem from a variety of causes. Pain may restrict a cat’s movements, preventing them from reaching spots they once could. Arthritis is a common contributor—some elderly cats just can’t twirl and twist the way they once could, resulting in poor grooming.

Other causes of pain, like illness or strained joints and broken bones, could also be to blame. Dental disease could make grooming itself painful, since the teeth and gums hurt.

Overweight cats often have a tough time grooming themselves, because their body mass restricts movement. Ask your vet if your cat’s weight could be contributing to poor hygiene.

What to Do

The remedy for a cat that isn’t grooming herself depends on the cause. If your cat is overweight, you’ll need to begin a diet and exercise program to get the pounds under control. If your cat has arthritis, you may look into ways to help alleviate pain, as well as periodically grooming your cat yourself. Contact your veterinarian to hear about these options.

If arthritis or weight gain isn’t present and your cat still isn’t grooming herself, an illness or disease might be the cause. Set up an appointment with your Grandview veterinarian’s office as soon as possible to get your cat examined.