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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16928
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have a tortishell cat of 9 years old. On her back just above

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I have a tortishell cat of 9 years old. On her back just above her hind legs she has a lump of matted fur, at first this was about the size of a 50p piece. When grooming her I use a let wipe to try and moisten it and comb it out, but it is firmly matted together. It has grown slightly although not a lot. It does not seem to bother her and in herself she seems happy. I wondered if this may be that she has been lying somewhere in the garden and getting it stcky or is it signs of something wrong
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Buffy has developed a clump of matted fur on her back just above her hind legs which seems to be getting slightly bigger in size.
There is a type of skin mite that causes increased skin scale, itchy skin, and secondary matting. If her skin seems very scaly, especially along the backline then this may be related to a skin parasite called Cheyletiella. This highly contagious mite can easily be picked up by coming in contact with an infected animal (dogs, cats and bunnies are the most likely carriers but guinea pigs are possible too) or the environment they were in. If she is a kitty that wanders out of the yard or you had strays or bunnies in your yard it would be more likely. These kitties tend to be very itchy so owners often notice more grooming too.
Another concern at her age, especially if she is overweight, is a case of seborrhea and poor grooming due to difficulty reaching those areas, usually because of a stiffer spine (due to age) and being overweight contributes as it makes it difficult for her to reach everywhere to groom. When oil in the hair isn't distributed by normal licking/grooming the skin cells and hair get stuck and can matt a little, which pulls on the underlying skin and can make it painful. When we try to help by brushing that pulls even more and it can hurt. If she has a little spinal arthritis that makes trying to groom those areas even more uncomfortable.
Dry shampoos sometimes help to break down oils and loosen the hair clumps. Sometimes shaving the trouble areas is needed if she is getting very tangled.
I also recommend an omega 3 fatty acid both for skin health and as a natural anti-inflammatory to improve joint health. I recommend an omega 3 fatty acid dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give her 20mg to 40mg of EPA per kilogram of body weight per day. For example a 5 kilogram cat could take 100mgs to 200mgs of EPA per day. A glucosamine/chondroitin supplement(like Dasuquin or Cosequin) may help too to ease joint pain. Together with the fatty acid they work synergistically, better then either one alone.
Sometimes skin masses, especially those composed of sebaceous gland cells can secrete excess amounts of oily, waxy debris that can cause the fur to matt. If that's the case with her removing the mass or keeping the hair around the mass clipped very short will help decrease matting.
Finally if her food and water consumption have changed and she has had weight loss or gain she may be sick. Hyperthyroidism is one disease process we see quite a bit in older cats. They tend to eat really well but maintain or even lose weight and have a very rapid skin cell and hair turnover so may matt more and may have problem skin and coats. They also tend to be more irritable and less amenable to your grooming help.
Ideally a veterinary visit and some blood testing to make sure all is well internally should be done. Your veterinarian can prescribe pain medication if they believe that her matting is related to arthritis pain.
In the meantime you can try the dry shampoos, shaving problem areas, and adding an omega 3 fatty acids to her diet.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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