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Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. If she is not grooming and not allowing you to groom her it is very likely she has low grade pain such as from arthritis in hips or pelvis. There are medications and diets which can help to increase her mobility and comfort levels; given her age a routine blood or urine test could rule out any complicating factors such as kidney disease before she starts any medications

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Speak in calm, soothing tones and reward them for their hard work with a treat or some catnip. Remember- cats love routine, and the best time to attempt brushing would be when it would be in their natural routine. This would come after play then eat, so if you brush after a meal your cat may be more receptive.
It`s essential for you to make sure your older cat stays well-groomed because an ungroomed coat could lead to painful mats in their fur. Matts are even more painful for cats that don`t have as much excess muscle or fat, which is relatively common in senior cats.
If your cat gets really stressed out with the brush, bring her favorite treats with you. Initially reward her for every stroke she takes, then gradually reduce the frequency of giving treats. Also, you want to reward her every time after you finish grooming. Soon she will realize that brushing is a positive experience.
Just like people, cats have issues as they age, and their grooming is affected by it. They have physical changes, like arthritis and overgrown claws and are more prone to dental disease. Senior cats often clean themselves less often or even completely stop, which results in odor, hair matting, and other issues.
Cats have few ways in which they let us know they`re experiencing discomfort, illness, or pain. Neglecting to groom is one clear sign. Whether the cause is age, weight, illness, or distress, if you notice your cat isn`t keeping up their appearance, consult your veterinarian to work on a treatment.
If you notice your senior cat not grooming themselves as often as they used to and their fur is becoming matted, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Cats not grooming themselves sufficiently can be a sign of an underlying medical issue that has to be addressed quickly.
Since most cats enjoy being brushed, this is a great time to bond with your feline friend. Some cats really enjoy the way it feels too. Helps spread natural oils over your cat`s skin and coat. Brushing your cat will help spread the oils that their skin produces.
The most common signs of overgrooming are hair loss and irritation of the skin. The areas usually affected are the abdomen, legs, flank, and chest, as these are the most easily reached areas. You may also notice: Grooming when it`s no longer functional or when it interrupts your cat`s other activities.
Seek Help From A Behaviorist

If your cat has been overgrooming for a considerable amount of time then it may have become a habit for them. Just as humans have a hard time kicking certain habits, it may be difficult for your cat to stop grooming even once they`re no longer stressed.

A change in grooming habits can be an indicator of depression. Some depressed cats will stop grooming altogether, while some start over grooming themselves, leaving irritated skin and even open wounds.
You`ll be the proud owner of a senior cat by the time it hit about 11 years old. If a cat lives beyond 15 years of age, it`d be a “super-senior”. When caring for older cats, it sometimes helps to think of their age in human terms.
Indoor cats generally live from 12-18 years of age. Many may live to be in their early 20s. The oldest reported cat, Creme Puff lived to be an amazing 38 years old. Outdoor cats generally live shorter lives due to being more likely to be involved in traumas such as motor vehicle accidents or dog attacks.
Feline hyperesthesia is a condition in which your cat has increased sensitivity in parts of their skin. Your cat may react when you try to pet this area. The word hyperesthesia means increased sensitivity. When you pet your cat, they will react as if in pain. Their skin may even twitch when touched.
Diabetic neuropathy is an uncommon complication of diabetes seen more often in cats than in dogs. Signs include weakness, loss of motor control, and muscle wasting. Affected animals often have nerve dysfunction in their lower legs, which results in a flat-footed stance.
“While it`s true that senior cats are more likely to get different conditions, some older cats are perfectly normal and don`t change at all.” Older cats tend to be less active and playful, they may sleep more, gain or lose weight, and have trouble reaching their favorite places.
In recent years, feline ages and life-stages have been redefined, cats are considered to be elderly once they reach 11 years with senior cats defined as those aged between 11-14 years and super-senior cats 15 years and upwards.
Average cat lifespan

Neutered cats tend to live longer because neutering prevents reproductive diseases and neutered cats are less likely to roam. While dependent on many things, including luck, some domestic cats can live to up to 20 years old.

Fear/defense: A fearful cat may exhibit dilated pupils, ears turning back, or a twitching tail. In this situation, your cat may growl, hiss or swat at the person brushing or grooming. Pain/discomfort: A painful cat may be uncomfortable when brushing certain areas of their body and respond aggressively.
Cats can become irritated with the grooming process if the sessions are always long and include tedious work picking out matted areas from their fur. Mats in the fur can be painful which can easily cause your cat to dislike grooming sessions.
Trazodone offers both sedative effects and anxiety relief. This makes it a good choice for many situations, including grooming, vet visits, travel, storms, or fireworks.
Form a positive association with grooming

To help negate any fear or negative association to grooming, work on changing your cat`s attitude to the activity in general. In the beginning, that can look like gently encouraging her to interact with the grooming brush, then rewarding her when she sniffs or rubs against it.

Thanks to the placement of your cat`s belly and underside, it`s a prime area for gunk and dirt to accumulate. Some cats may need help grooming this area, especially if they`re older and can`t move as easily.
Answer: It may seem convenient to use your own hairbrush on your cat, but it probably won`t be very effective. Human hair brushes brush only the top coat; they don`t reach the undercoat. This is especially important for long-haired cats, who can develop mats if their dead undercoats aren`t brushed away.
Do cats feel better after a bath? Most cats feel anxious and stressed by baths because they dislike water. If you do need to bathe your cat, it`s essential to follow our advice regarding how to wash your cat safely and with minimal stress.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Why do cats meow?
ANSWER : A. Cat parents often wish they could better understand what their favorite feline friends want or desire. A cat’s meow can be interpreted in many different ways and can indicate an array of feelings and needs. Here are some of the most common reasons for your cat’s vocalizations:

1. Greeting- Many cats will meow as a greeting when you enter your home or walk into a room. Cats will also meow at another cat or animal in the household to extend a hello and acknowledge the other animal’s presence.

2. Attention – An exuberant meow followed by leg rubbing or another attention seeking behavior may indicate your cat is looking for some quality time spent together. Some petting or rubbing behind the ears may be in order.

3. Hunger – A meowing cat is often a hungry cat. This is one of the most common reasons for a cat to vocalize to their owners. A cat will meow to get your attention at feeding times or even when they want extra food.

4. Sickness – A sick or hurt cat may begin to meow excessively, warranting a visit to the veterinarian. There are numerous reasons for a cat in distress to meow—whether it is related to an upset stomach, an injured leg or a urinary blockage. These meows should be carefully investigated.

5. Entering or leaving – Most cats will vocalize when they want to be let in or out of a room. You may notice when you are in the bathroom or behind the closed door of a room that your cat begins to meow, scratches at the door, and often reaches its paw under the door. This is a clear indication that the cat wants to be where you are.

6. Angry – An agitated cat may meow to warn their owner or another household pet that they are upset and would like to be left alone. This angry meow may increase in sound volume as the cat becomes more stressed or agitated. Often a cat will exhibit this type of meow at the veterinary office when they are unhappy with their examination or restraint.

Each feline is different and so are their vocalizations. Learn to understand the variety of meows your cat uses on a daily basis. This will help you develop a better relationship with your cat and help them live a more trusting and happier life.

Q. I have a 17 year old cat and he has been shedding a lot the past 3 years. Is there anything I can do. I brush him but he doesn’t like it.
ANSWER : A. Brushing or providing objects that your cat can use to brush himself on (such as a scratching post with a brush attachment) are often the best ways to remove excess hair. If your cat doesn’t like the particular brush you use, you may want to try a different kind, or even use a warm wet washcloth to wipe your cat down with instead. This will help get rid of some loosened hairs without being as “annoying” to your cat. If he is grooming himself a lot, adding in a hairball paste to his food or placing some on his paw will help keep the hair from forming into a ball or becoming problematic as he removes the excess hair himself.

If you are seeing patches of hair loss, or any other signs of illness in addition to excessive shedding, then scheduling a senior wellness exam with your local vet is always best to check for aging-related issues which may be causing hair loss or other symptoms.

Q. My 21 year old cat won’t let us brush er any more and now has developed hair locks I am starting to get worried even though she is still comfortable
ANSWER : A. If she is not grooming and not allowing you to groom her it is very likely she has low grade pain such as from arthritis in hips or pelvis. There are medications and diets which can help to increase her mobility and comfort levels; given her age a routine blood or urine test could rule out any complicating factors such as kidney disease before she starts any medications

Q. My cat is pooping outside of the litter bix. He is 2 1/2. He did this as a kitten. It stopped then started about 3 months ago. Litterbox is clean.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination or house soiling can be a frustrating problem but with a bit of detective work on your part, there is hope. First, before deciding that this is a behavioral issue, any medical problems (diarrhea, constipation, fecal incontinence, pain on defecation, etc.) need to be ruled out and/or treated. If your cat receives a clean bill of health from your vet but is still eliminating outside the litterbox, then we need to consider that something about the box itself might be aversive to your cat. Cats can be quite finicky about their litterbox and toileting habits. Below I have listed common recommendations and cat preferences for litterbox use. Review the list and make any changes that could account for your cat’s aversion to defecating in the litterbox:
* Soft, fine-grained clumping litter (vs, coarse-grained, non-clumping litter)
* Unscented
* 1 – 1 1/2 inch depth (especially older cats or cats with hip problems)
* Larger pans (especially for large cats) – want to get whole body inside – poop just outside the box might mean the box is too small
* Open, non-hooded
* At least one shallow side to get in and out easily
* Easy to get to – not hidden away, preferably in areas they spend time in or near – and not near appliances that make scary, unpredictable noises (washers, dryers, refrigerators)
* Scoop minimum 1X/day – preferably 2
* Clean the litterbox with soap and water and put in fresh scoopable litter at least once/month (instead of just continuously adding)
* Some cats prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in a separate box, so you may need 2 boxes even if you just have 1 cat. Multi-cat households should have 1 box/cat plus 1 extra.

Q. My cat continues to scratch on furniture and carpets. He has plenty of scratching posts around the house. Please help!
ANSWER : A. Scratching is a natural behavior in cats that can be frequently frustrating for pet owners who want to keep their furniture from being shredded on a constant basis. The texture of furniture and carpet is very appealing to cats and this why they frequently choose to spend their time on this activity as opposed to playing with their own cat toys. Here are some suggestions to help curb this unwanted behavior:

1. Purchase a cat scratching post or cat tree that is covered in carpeted or textured material. Place it in an appealing spot that your cat would be inclined to spend time (eg. in the sun). You can also place catnip on the scratching post or cat tree to make your cat even more interested in the new object.

2. You can utilize double sided tape on the ends of the furniture because you cat will not like the sticky feeling and will learn to not scratch in that region. Use the tape that has a lighter adhesive in order to prevent any permanent damage. Other materials, such as aluminum foil or bubble wrap can also be placed on the furniture to discourage the scratching.

3. Keep nails trimmed short by either learning to do this on your own at home or using a veterinary technician, or groomer. Nails can usually be trimmed every 6-8 weeks.

4. Redirect the unwanted behavior. If your cat begins scratching, use a favorite or new toy to distract the cat from the scratching. Give your cat positive praise for not scratching.

5. As a last resort you can use a spray bottle full of water to spritz your cat when he or she is scratching inappropriately at your furniture. Generally, cats do not like water and this will discourage them from continuing the behavior.

Have patience with your cat because it can takes time to understand this is an unwanted behavior and that furniture is not another toy for them to use. You can always consult your veterinary or veterinary behaviorist to help with ideas or further solutions to this problem.

Read Full Q/A … : I found Pickle on

Q. Want a pet cat companion for my dog Lucky, who is 5. The problem is that I’m somewhat alergic to cats. So, not sure what to do!
ANSWER : A. Dogs can make friends with lots of species, including cats! If you are heart-set on a cat, allergenic breeds are available such as hairless or lesser haired Sphinx and Devon-Rexes. However these breeds can be rare and hard to find at times. A short-haired cat that is brushed regularly may also cause less allergies. Many people with allergies are also able to take medications such as a daily allergy medication or spray like Nasocrom which can make living with a cat much easier.

If your dog is very friendly with other dogs, then getting him a dog friend may be an option! That would keep you from needing to get a cat and having an allergic reaction. Looking at your local animal shelter may help you to find a dog for adoption that is similar in personality and play style to your current dog. Many shelters will also let you introduce your dog to the one you are interested in adopting to see if they will be a good fit! If you can’t get another pet at this time, taking your dog to a local dog park or dog meetup can help him to get more social interaction and get out extra energy without the need for caring for another pet.

Q. Why is my son’s cat continually licking her belly to the point the hair is falling out and a sore has developed? She is 12 yrs old inside cat.
ANSWER : A. Many things can cause this such as allergies, auto immune disease,etc. However it could be as simple as your cat is bored or stressed out. Have you had any enviromental changes lately that couild be stressing your feline friend out? Outdoor cats are accustomed to chasing, hunting, and playing with all sorts of critters. Sometimes indoor kitties need added stimulation to keep them “sane”. Try gsetting your cat some toys to play with. A laser pointer can be a great interaction toy for the two of you to play with. You can also try getting your fury friend a scratching post or a cat tower that will allow him/her to sit and look out the window. A good product for stressed out kitties is Feliway. Feliway is a pheremoene that mimics pheromones produced by recent mothers to kittens. This product comes in a plug-in diffuser or a spray and is available over the counter at most animal hospitals. The spray form of Feliway can be particularly usefull to calm kitties who get stressed when put in a cat carrier. Simply spray Feliway in your carrier before you load your cat up. If none of the above has worked it sounds like it is time to use this technique to get yourcat into the carrier and to the vet. There they can perform diagnostics such as skin cytologies, allergy testing, skin scrapes to determine what the problem is.
One thing i forgot to mention at the beginning is you certainly need to rule out fleas as the cause. If a cat has a flea allergy just one flea bite can drive them crazy and cause them to lick thier belly raw and hairless. Revolution is a great monthly topicall product for fleas,heartworms, and intestinal parasites. Even indoor cats need flea protection. Good luck!

Q. My cat is excessively scrstching herself., to the point she has sores. She is strictly an indoor cat. Did have flees been treated for 2 months
ANSWER : A. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 100 more in the environment. Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.

Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.