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My cat won't clean herself!

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My cat is about 6 months old, siamese long-hair mix. She was separated from her mom at about 1 month, and she isn't like normal cats.

First, she didn't "knead" until she was about 4 months old.
Second, she doesn't clean herself, especially not on the rear area. <-- I'm most concerned about this one!

Is there anything we can do to help her?

Thanks for your help!
post #2 of 22
Hi there, yes, you can help her! Give her a nice bath! You can use any unscented handmade soap, or mild shampoo and rinse her well. Try not to get any soap near her face.

Cats really do like baths! Just don't be afraid to give her a nice bath, show her how much you care, and be firm, she might start getting skittish near the water because she doesn't know what's going on, just reasure her and tell her your going to make her pretty.

Have the bath and towel ready before you bring her to get cleaned. I use a washcloth for the body and I do the face last, just wipe the face without any soap with a damp washcloth.

O, by the way, once she has had a bath, she will start to wash herself on her own. I still think its a good idea when bringing a new cat home to bathe it and do it once a month.
post #3 of 22
A bath is probably not a bad idea. As you've noted, she's strange and that's probably because she left her momma cat so early. She missed a lot of that "how to be a cat" stuff that they teach the last month or so they're with mom.

You may consider trimming her hair back there. My longhair does a decent job cleaning himself and a regular trimming seems to help him keep it that way and reduces the chance of a dingleberry on my carpet. Also don't want her to develop mats which could lead to skin problems.
post #4 of 22
Giving a bath is a good suggestion. Not sure if it will help her to start grooming herself but at least she'll be clean. I had a cat once, that didn't clean her butt and once I gave her a bath she was like a new cat. She felt so good. I never had to bathe her again. Your kitty's situation may turn out different since she left her momma so early.
post #5 of 22
Im sorry but I just have to laugh someone said dingleberry...But I agree with the others a bath might just help her kick those feline senses into gear.
post #6 of 22
Those are all good suggestions.

Are her stools soft? That tends to encourage dingleberries AKA cling ons.
post #7 of 22
If your cat was seperated from it's mom at a young age and did not have a foster mom who knew how to properly care for it- that is likely the reason it is not cleaning itself well. When kittens are young- their mommas keep them VERY clean- constantly grooming them. This is how they learn good hygiene. When the momma is not present- foster mom's must take over (this is what i do) since we obviously can't lick them (ew!) we have to come up with more creative ways to keep them clean and encourage them to groom themselves. I use baby wipes on my foster kittens after every feeding and thoroughly clean them off- then i gently go over their fur with a flea comb to pick out fine particles/dirt. When they are really dirty- i bathe them with Dawn and then blow dry them on low (if they're old enough- too young they can't keep warm well and you do not want to chill them). The reason foster mom's /new owners of young kittens MUST keep them immaculantly clean is so that they will learn how important it is for them to groom themselves so things like them not grooming does not occur. So go ahead and start wiping your kitty down several times a day with baby wipes and then gently brush out any tangles/poo. She will catch on soon! Also- if the kitty's bottom is very dirty- you MUST bathe it....leaving urine/feces on it can cause urin burns/irritation and it can be very painful to them. Also- there may be another problem causing kitty not to keep itself clean. (i don't think it is in your case but would like to throw this out there as it might help someone else!) If your kitty is VERY overweight- it might not be able to groom itself properly. Kitty's are very agil and flexible- and the result of obeasity in kitties can cause a number of health issues- including grooming if they can't properly reach all their parts to get themselves clean. So the solution to that would be for the owner to clean them several times daily and also put them on a good healthy diet (preferably home cooked/raw- but consult a vet that specializes in nutrition!) When we adopted Jasmine a while back- she was morbidly overweight....she is still overweight even now (as it takes cats a long time to loose weight safely) so we do our best to keep her as clean as possible Hopefully, the more weight she looses, the better she will be able to keep herself clean. She tries, bless her heart- but she just can't reach and bend like more fit kitties can
post #8 of 22
My cat, Dinah, won't clean herself. She was the runt of her litter, and I also think she was taken from her mama too soon (although my roommate got her for me, so I just have to trust what the roommate said about her age). She just won't clean herself at all, and she gets stinky!! She's about two years old now, and I have been giving her weekly baths since she was a kitten. She LOVES it; sometimes she even jumps in the bathtub with me when it's MY bath time!! lol! Anyway; try bathing her. If she doesn't like it at first, she'll probably get used to it.

Also, trimming her hair is a good idea. I trim my long-haired cat's hair back there to prevent.. grossness.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your amazing help, but I'm still a little clueless:

I tried a bath, but Bibi (that's her name) won't get in! She keeps clawing and fidgeting and basically going nuts! I brushed her afterwards to get her purring again, but it wasn't a great experience. Any tips?

By the way: I washed her in a small sink with warm water, no soap, about up to her legs in water. It was a pathetic attempt

Please help! I don't want her to STAY smelly!!
post #10 of 22
Well, giving a cat a bath is usually not easy. Her reaction is typical. Do you have someone who could help you? One to hold her, and one to do the bathing?
post #11 of 22
I have found that with reluctant cat bathers (I haven't met many who weren't) it helps to confine them to a smallish space, but not so small that they are totally trapped.

I close the bathroom door, get the water running in the bath, but not much over the paws (a detachable shower head also works really well to direct the water without being too scary -- a deep kitchen sink with a sprayer also works for smaller kits).

It is really a good idea, if you can, to get someone to help you. In extreme situations (indoor/outdoor cat with motor oil on her back) I have had to have my DH scruff the kitty so we could wash targeted areas and get out quickly. Also, you will get very, very wet likely. Sometimes both of us are crying mid bath.

It does sometimes help to let them put their front paws on the side of the tub with their butt in the tub--this is where a human helper is very useful to keep kitty in the tub.

Have a big fluffy towel near by, you will probably have to wrap her up like a "burrito" for a while to make sure she doesn't get chilled. I have not had to regularly bathe any kitties recently, but it does get easier if you do it regularly.
post #12 of 22
In my experience, bathtubs are too big for bathing. Cats feel safer in smaller, confined spaces. You probably noticed your cat likes small boxes too! In fact, the smaller the better! Did you put a rubber mat in the bottom of the sink? That helps to prevent them from skidding. Skidding and not being able to balance is one of the reasons a cat will be frightened. Wrap one arm around the cat and hold him firmly whilst in the sink. Talk gently to him and assure him it's ok. It would be helpful to have someone help you. Fill both sinks with warm water so you don't have to run water from the faucet while kitty is there. The other option is to take the cat to a groomer. Here you can get a groomer for $35-40.
post #13 of 22
You might try trimming some of the longer fur if its a problem. But if she's messy in poop, then you need to have her checked for any medical problems.

Being separated from mom at one month old is sad - cause she missed out on SOOO much learning.
post #14 of 22
My oldest cat has just stopped grooming herself recently. She's well over 20 years old, and I'm kind of thinking maybe she's just too tired. Maybe old and achy joints/bones? Her fur is becoming a little matted, not really rasta-cat just yet. And my youngest cat does clean her fur a little, until Pinka (the older cat), gets fed up and starts to spit at Laptop (the younger one).
I'm wondering, would a warm bath "frighten" Pinka? Of course she's been in the rain and probably fallen into the sink more than a few times...
Pinka is now quite slow but has always been quite gentle (around people). We've always had dogs as well - and Pinka has always managed to "make her place" amongst our other animals.
Assuming your collective thoughts about a warm bath are the right thing to do... Does anyone have any thoughts about any kind of supplement to help what surely must be sore and achy joints for an old cat?
Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere - but any thoughts on helping her with her rather laboured mobility would be appreciated.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatzBcatZ View Post


Assuming your collective thoughts about a warm bath are the right thing to do...

 

I'm not entirely sure a bath would be the best idea if she isn't used to them. You could try to slowly get her used to the process, but I'd be worried at her age of subjecting her to that kind of stress. Does she like to get brushed at all?

 

Something you could try instead of a full-on bath is Earthbath Grooming Foam. You just rub it on and then towel off, without having to immerse the kitty in water. I use this on my geriatric guy when he feels a little greasy. It makes his fur fluffy and soft, and it doesn't stress him out at all.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatzBcatZ View Post


Does anyone have any thoughts about any kind of supplement to help what surely must be sore and achy joints for an old cat?
 


There are a few options for arthritis, like the usual glucosamine-based products (Cosequin or Dasaquin are good). Green-lipped mussel can sometimes be effective, and Adequan injections help many cats. I also recommend getting a heating pad made for pets (my cat LOVES his) and some pet-stairs to help your girl get on and off furniture or the bed or wherever she likes to hang out.

 

I take my cat for acupuncture and osteopathy treatments on a regular basis and they've definitely made a difference. Some vets also offer laser therapy. Would be good to talk to your vet about the various options, even pain meds (just not Metacam!!) if necessary. There are other conditions that can seem like arthritis (like low potassium, dehydration, neuropathy, etc) so it's a good idea to confirm that your cat does indeed have arthritis (although apparently 80-90% of cats over 12 have it to some degree).

 

 

 

post #16 of 22

I don't know if you're married or have an SO or anything. This will take two people. If you're only worried about cleaning your kitty's bottom......

 

Our Bridge Baby, Banshee, had some trouble keeping her bottom clean at times. We didn't know what else to do, so one night Rick I took her back to the bathroom. I held her with her bottom kind of "hanging out" and Rick gently washed her butt. We did use soap on a warm wash cloth (which became Banshee's very own washcloth!) and he cleaned her as best he could. She just flopped in my arms and allowed Rick to clean her....actually, she would lay there and purr. After he was done with the soapy cloth, he'd rinse her well with another cloth just in warm water. A quick dry off with a small hand towel (Banshee's very own hand towel) and she was done. (She was known as the Queen B....and believe me, she knew it.)

post #17 of 22

Hi there!
We adopted a kitten last night, and she is TINY. She was bought as a present for me from my boyfriend, and was done entirely through a friend, so we didn't get to meet her until last night. The woman we bought her from said she was 8 weeks old, but no way is she! I think she's more like 5 weeks, possibly younger, as she's still a little shaky on her feet.

The problem is that she's not cleaning herself after she goes in the litter tray. At the moment, my boyfriend's cleaning her up with a dry tissue, while I hold her. Is this in any way the right thing to do? She's only little and in a new house, so I don't want to give her a bath and stress her out!

Any help appreciated, thank you! <3

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatzBcatZ View Post

My oldest cat has just stopped grooming herself recently. She's well over 20 years old, and I'm kind of thinking maybe she's just too tired.

I'm sorry she's feeling poorly. frown.gif I do not think what she needs is a bath. Not grooming in older cats is usually a symptom that they're sick. I would recommend getting her to a vet, especially given her age. heartpump.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucehLOW View Post

Hi there!

We adopted a kitten last night, and she is TINY. She was bought as a present for me from my boyfriend, and was done entirely through a friend, so we didn't get to meet her until last night. The woman we bought her from said she was 8 weeks old, but no way is she! I think she's more like 5 weeks, possibly younger, as she's still a little shaky on her feet.
The problem is that she's not cleaning herself after she goes in the litter tray. At the moment, my boyfriend's cleaning her up with a dry tissue, while I hold her. Is this in any way the right thing to do? She's only little and in a new house, so I don't want to give her a bath and stress her out!
Any help appreciated, thank you! <3

Aw, she's just a little baby! If she's only five-six weeks old, she still needs help cleaning herself, as her mom would normally do this. The best thing to use is a warm, damp cloth. agree.gif If you want disposable, use paper towels (with warm water on them, they should be damp).
post #20 of 22

Originally Posted by LDG View Post

Originally Posted by CatzBcatZ View Post

My oldest cat has just stopped grooming herself recently. She's well over 20 years old, and I'm kind of thinking maybe she's just too tired.

I'm sorry she's feeling poorly. frown.gif I do not think what she needs is a bath. Not grooming in older cats is usually a symptom that they're sick. I would recommend getting her to a vet, especially given her age. heartpump.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
 


I totally second LDG's suggestion, CatzBcatZ. A reduction in grooming habits is a classic signal a cat isn't feeling well (unless, of course, the cat's too obese to properly groom, but that doesn't seem to be the problem here); I would take this sweet lady to the vet as soon as you can. Have you had a senior panel run on her lately? If not, I'd recommend one.

 

Hugs to you and Miss Pinka!

 

AC

 

P.S. Love the quirkiness of Laptop's name! heartpump.gif

post #21 of 22
I have a kitty that does not clean himself well. Him and my two others get a bi monthly bath in the kitchen sink with the hand sprayer. They have learned to chill out. The kitchen sink frees up my lower body to allow support while I am rustling my little one. Learn your cat. He will tell you what. Hw likes and work with it
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Nicole View Post

I have a kitty that does not clean himself well. Him and my two others get a bi monthly bath in the kitchen sink with the hand sprayer. They have learned to chill out. The kitchen sink frees up my lower body to allow support while I am rustling my little one. Learn your cat. He will tell you what. Hw likes and work with it
Welcome to TCS Leslie. wavey.gif
I just wanted to point out that you may not get much response to your advice. This thread was started over 5 years ago and bumped up last year, so it's not likely that any of the previous posters are still following it.

We'd love to have you intorduce yourself and your kitties in the New Cats on the Block forum.
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