Cats are known for their meticulous nature. We often see them spending hours grooming themselves from nose to tail and don’t often see them looking unkempt and dirty 

In fact at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital we are often suspicious that a cat who is less than well groomed may have other health issues going on. If you have ever wondered why your cat has greasy fur, there are a few possibilities.

Normal Grooming Behavior

The feline species is made to groom itself. Cats are strategically put together to be able to bend and reach places that us humans could never imagine. Their rough tongues and agile little paws also aid in the self-grooming process

Cats groom themselves to keep clean, but there are other reasons that they groom also. Regular grooming helps to:

  • Maintain a normal body temperature
  • Distribute natural oils through the coat
  • Support good circulation
  • Control abnormal things on the skin such as parasites and allergens
  • Keep the coat smooth and mat free
  • Provide a healthy outlet for emotions such as anxiety

Normal cat grooming behavior can go awry, though. Some cats who are overstimulated, painful, bored, or have health issues may over groom. This can cause hair loss, irritation, and even infection. 

Reasons for Greasy Fur

If your cat has greasy fur, it is often a sign of a bigger problem. There are two main reasons that this can occur:  either your cat’s skin is producing more oil than normal (seborrhea) or your cat is not grooming well and normal oils are not being thoroughly distributed throughout the coat.

Skin infections, allergic skin problems, parasites, and other dermatologic issues can lead to seborrhea. More commonly, though, greasy fur is caused by abnormal grooming behavior.

Cats may stop grooming themselves effectively for multiple reasons. We find cats who don’t groom well often suffer from:

  • Extra body weight that makes it physically difficult to groom
  • Arthritis that causes pain and/or restricts motion
  • Dental disease that is causing pain when grooming
  • A physical condition that causes decreased energy such as kidney disease or diabetes

Anything that makes a cat feel unwell can affect normal grooming behaviors. If your cat’s grooming behaviors or coat condition has changed it is important to make an appointment for us to evaluate your pet. 

Often a thorough physical examination and diagnostic testing can help us to determine what might be causing your cat’s greasy fur. Once we are able to determine to root of the problem, we are often able to address it. 

Your cat’s coat is a reflection of his overall health and well being. When there is something awry, getting to the bottom of the problem as soon as possible is important to ensuring a happy, healthy existence for your feline friend. We are here to help you with this, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any concerns.