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Home > Cats > Is Your Cat’s Fur Suddenly Matted? 5 Possible Reasons

Is Your Cat’s Fur Suddenly Matted? 5 Possible Reasons

cat with matted fur lying on the ground

If you’re petting your furry feline buddy and noticed that they have more mats and tangles than usual, you’re probably suspicious. After all, we all know that cats are incredible self-bathers. They do an impeccable job keeping their coats sleek and shiny.

So if all of a sudden, out of nowhere, their fur looks unkempt and lackluster, you’ll want to get to the bottom of it. Here we’re going to discuss potential reasons for this and how you can solve the problem.


The 5 Reasons for Your Cat’s Fur Suddenly Matting

We rounded outside of the most common causes of sudden nodding and tangling. But this is not a complete laundry list of issues.

To get down to the nitty-gritty, it’s best to get your cat to the vet for further evaluation. Your vet can look over your individual cat and run necessary testing to rule out any underlying health issues.

1. Poor Grooming Skills

This is the least likely reason on our list, but definitely one to mention. Some cats are naturally born without the desire or care to groom their fur properly.

This issue was more common among very long-haired cats as their fur is a lot to manage anyway. Poor groomers might be less noticeable if they have sleek, short fur.

This is atypical, as most cats thrive instinctually on maintaining themselves. But there is always that one in the bunch that has a little trouble with standard kitty behavior.

matted cat fur
Image Credit: munalin, Shutterstock

2. Anemia

Anemia is an issue with the blood where iron is not present enough, causing a reduction in red blood cells. If your cat has anemia, it might not show any extremely noticeable signs right away.

It could take some time to develop the visual cues that something is definitely not right. Typically with anemia, your cat would experience a lackluster coat, lethargy, and frequent napping.

Anemia can be an accompanying factor in other illnesses as well, but it can also come by itself. A simple blood test can determine if your cat has anemia. However, your vet might run additional testing if they are anemic to uncover the underlying reason.

3. Stress/Anxiety

Stress can do some pretty absurd things to our bodies, and it doesn’t change if your body is a cat. If your cat is under a good amount of new stress, it can manifest in how they care for itself.

Stress is typically environmental in nature, but it can also relate to health. If you’ve made any sudden changes in the home, such as moving, having a new baby, buying a new pet, or inviting another person to live in, it might cause great stress for your cat.

Noise sensitivity is pretty prevalent in stressful situations where your cat feels like they are not safe. Stress can also cause your cat to become rather skittish, running and hiding over every little noise. These changes usually dissipate over time and are usually easily identifiable.

You might notice a change in their body language as well. Cats who are stressed typically seem neurotic or spastic when you try to interact with them. It’s almost as if they cannot relax. Granted, stress levels can differ depending on the type of stress and just how much they are under.

If you know that certain changes have taken place in the home that could be contributing to stress, it’s best to alleviate as much as that as you can. These issues are completely manageable with slow introductions or slight shifts in daily lifestyle. Provide your cat a nice safe space away from the household chaos until they are ready to acclimate and adjust.

Anxiety is an actual disorder. If your cat experiences anxiety as a chronic disorder, they might require medication from your veterinarian that reduces nerves. There are several options available, including general lifestyle changes, that can alleviate symptoms of anxiety.

If your cat’s anxiety is severe enough, they might require solitude or even being the only pet in the home. But in most cases, this anxiousness is very treatable with medical supervision.

stressed white cat on the floor
Image Credit By: Hunt Han, Unsplash

4. Arthritis

Arthritis can be an excruciating thing for your cat to have to deal with. This painful disease causes the joints to become incredibly sensitive and swollen.

Intern, if your cat starts reacting negatively to being touched in certain places or shows poor grooming, it can automatically signal the problem more of arthritis. This is more common among aging cats that are generally seven years and older.

5. Obesity

Your cat can’t clean what they can’t reach. If your Garfield-style buddy is packing on a few extra pounds, it could complicate them cleaning themselves properly.

This one’s pretty easy to detect, luckily. If the issue is due to obesity, you’ll probably notice significant neglect on the backside. Big guys and gals have quite a bit of trouble reaching these problem areas, and you might notice their overall hygiene drastically declining.

Even though obesity can lead to a whirlwind of other health problems, you can catch it while it’s fresh. Your cat might need to go on some type of diet to help them reduce its caloric intake.

You might also be encouraged to play with your cats interactively or buy them toys to keep them busy. If you’re so inclined, getting them a young kitten might even be fun.

If they are getting lazy or getting older, it can be prevalent for activity levels to decrease naturally. A younger cat might help them spruce back up and find their youth again.

If you choose to get another kitty, remember the shelters and rescues are overrun with felines looking for forever homes. You can check a local location in your area.

fat ragdoll cat
Image Credit By: Angela Kotsell, Shutterstock


Why Is Grooming Important?

Grooming might not seem like that big of a deal. After all, what good does it do for your cat to sit there and lap at its fur?

Grooming is actually an essential part of your cat’s overall health. Not only does regular grooming prevent mats and tangles from forming in your cat’s fur, but grooming also has tons of other health benefits.

Your cat has small needle-like bristles on its tongue. As your cat grooms their body, it promotes healthy blood circulation in its system, evenly distributes natural oils, and removes dirt and debris.

If your cat has stopped grooming or can no longer do so, it can lead to many other problems. Not only does it reduce adequate blood flow and stop oil distribution, but hair can also mat up around their private parts, making it incredibly difficult for them to go to the bathroom.

When to See a Vet

Anytime you notice a sudden and drastic change in your cat’s behavior, it’s always best to make an appointment to be on the safe side. Even if the cause is relatively simple to treat and has no identifiable medical reason, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Sometimes cats don’t visibly show signs of sickness as a coping mechanism to appear strong and healthy. Many mammals use this primal instinct to stave off any potential predators.

Showing signs of sickness is a weakness that does not serve them in the survival brain. So if you notice something like a lack of grooming, it could actually be something much more sinister, but cats are very good at masking.

cat at vet with owner and veternarian
Image Credit: 4 PM production, Shutterstock

Getting Health Insurance

A really terrific preventative measure for veterinary care is getting pet insurance. It’s becoming an ever increasingly popular thing to have for your pets. It provides financial protection for those emergencies when health declines unexpectedly.

Pet health insurance has many other benefits, but one crucial thing to consider is the subject of pre-existing conditions. Once your cat develops a chronic health issue, it will no longer be covered by any policy.

So if you wait until your pet is diagnosed with an illness, when you opt for pet insurance, if it is documented, they will not cover that as an existing condition.

However, if you purchase health insurance before your animal is diagnosed with any health problem, the insurance company will naturally pay for it.

So, if it is something that requires ongoing treatment, x-rays, or emergency care, your cat is covered. Several companies provide policies, including bonuses and perks that might interest you.

If you are in the market and he would like to shop for pet insurance, here are some pet insurance companies we think are really worth a mention.



If you notice your cat is grooming less than what is typical, remember that it’s best to get them to the vet sooner rather than later. Also, take note of any other signs and symptoms that might point you in the right direction.

All of the valuable information that you have is crucial during the time of the appointment. Some cats are naturally lazy groomers, so you’ll have to help them out to ease your mind.

But this is incredibly unlikely and typically doesn’t develop suddenly. If a cat has poor grooming skills, it will likely be like that from the time they are very small.

Featured Image Credit: Carmen Rieb, Shutterstock

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