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caution: do not read this if you're eating

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:09 pm
by catslave16
I apologise in advance for bringing up a distasteful subject, but I really need some expert advice.
At the moment I keep finding lumps of matted fur and matter round Rufus's bottom. Some I can just tug away with a slicking brush - he is amazingly tolerant, though he'll give the odd little yelp - but there was a lump of dried 'stuff' tangled up with his fur that I had to cut out with scissors in the end.
I don't know when this started, as all last week I was so ill I couldn't care for him beyond filling up his food and water bowls. He's normally very clean, and will spend as long as an hour grooming himself - just not 'there' at the moment, it seems. He does his business in the long grass at the edge of the lawn; the only thing that has changed recently is that I've given the lawn its first cut of the season, and am now mowing weekly. So the brown stuff could theoretically be mud... But this did not happen last spring.
I worry that he may have a bowel problem. Should I bring out the old litter tray so I can observe what's going on? (if he's willing to use it, that is).
Please remember I've never had a long-haired cat before. A month or so ago I was shocked at the speed with which matted lumps developed on his tummy - a problem we are now on top off.
Any words of wisdom sincerely appreciated.

Re: caution: do not read this if you're eating

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:19 pm
by Lilith
Lovely! :lol: Urrrgh! :shock:

Poor chap though.

I don't know if anyone else has had the same experience, but I reckon moults can vary with the weather; a warm spell in spring can hurry up a moult and cause sudden mats. Also I'm certain cats' coats change as they get older.

One of my feral boys had matted hindquarters when he moved in, though he was a shorthair, and it was a gradual business, grooming them out when he permitted; then he never matted up for years, but then began with them again.

Someone on here - I'm sure it's Crewella, recommends using those blunt ended children's craft scissors for trimming mats out.

Good luck and fusses to Rufus :)

Re: caution: do not read this if you're eating

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:41 pm
by MarySkater
I don't have the "poo" problem with my present cats, but I think dealing with this type of thing is just part of being a pet owner. A short-haired cat I had in the past would sometimes get a lump of faeces caked into the underside of her tail. I'd get down on the kitchen floor with a bowl of warm water and a sponge, scruff the cat with one hand and wash her back end with the other. She'd squirm a lot, but didn't do me any damage.

I'm learning to live with a long-haired cat; she's 10 months old and I've had her 7 months. I brush her when I can - she's too energetic to keep still for long. But I do try to feel all over her every day, and if I spot a tangle forming (often because she has picked up a bit of twig or something) I try to tease it out with my fingers or a comb before it gets too bad.

A couple of times lately, I've missed a bit until too late, and found a solid matted lump, maybe the size of a fingertip. I hadn't considered that the time of year may be making her moult more than usual. I have a battery-powered clipper, and I use that to remove the lump. As I don't have anyone to hold her for me, I have to wait until I catch her lying down, with the matted bit accessible. When she's relaxed, she'll tolerate the handling. I've been able to lift the mats out with the clipper, with much less pulling on the hair than combing her. So far she isn't looking too moth-eaten!

Re: caution: do not read this if you're eating

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:49 pm
by Kay
Tosker went through a period when he had a lot of small mats round his lower back, caused by an infection which made his saliva sticky - they all disappeared after a course of abs

Just a thought ......

Re: caution: do not read this if you're eating

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:38 pm
by catslave16
Thanks for your comments. I've had some more thoughts on this.
The day after I posted this thread the problem resolved itself and hasn't recurred at all.
Now, Rufus and I have quite a close physical relationship. As an insomniac I spend many hours sitting up in bed reading, with Rufus on my lap. He'll pluck at my sleeve or nibble my forearm when he wants stroking, brushing, combing (He has a slightly different signal for 'Food please!')
A few weeks ago I suddenly became quite ill. I vomited for four days and had to stay in bed for a week. I was so weak I could barely stand up. I've had episodes like this before but not since Rufus has come to live with me, and they usually last 4-5 days, not a whole week.
When you've been vomiting you really do not want a cat on your stomach, so I had to push Rufus away, very gently, with apologies. It was when I started feeling better that I discovered the Problem of Rufus's Bottom. As I said, we resolved it and it's not happened again.
So I'm wondering if Rufus felt that I was rejecting him, and maybe got a bit depressed, so neglected personal hygiene (as you do, when depressed. I speak from experience). Or am I anthropomorphising here?
Blake always seemed rather worried whenever I was unwell. Many many years ago I had to leave my cat Charlie for six weeks because my job moved to Scotland temporarily. I'd arranged for him to be fed and generally looked after of course, but he travelled back to the place where we'd lived when he was a kitten - a 3-4 mile journey including crossing the A3 (aaaaargh!) I know this, for he was seen there. And not only that, but he returned home on the very day I came back from Scotland!
The bond between a cat and a loving human can be very strong. What do other people think of the Problem of Rufus's Bottom? Am I away with the feline fairies?...

Re: caution: do not read this if you're eating

Posted: Mon May 01, 2017 2:56 pm
by Lilith
Hi, no I don't think you're away with the fairies at all - at least no more than the rest of us :lol:

It's hard to know what goes through their minds of course, but you and Rufus have a good long-term relationship which ought to stand you in good stead. It could have been something as simple as a bit of temporary diarrohea (happens to us all, cats and humans) that he got into a bit of a mess with.

Hope you're both feeling better now and that he's back on your stomach again :D