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Bathe senior cat with oily coat and mats?

FrancineR

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My 18-1/2 yr old Zozo has developed an oily coat and some mats on her front paws, as well as an odor. She does not groom anymore, and I fear this condition is not healthy. I would greatly appreciate some feedback on if/how to bathe her and what cat shampoo to use if bathingg is recommended (and how to approach a bath). Zozo suffered a TIA ( mild stroke) in December, but she is recovering nicely. She is not impaired, but she does have sarcopenia/muscle loss in her rear legs…which slows down her walking a bit.

Thank you for any suggestions.
 
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Dr. Jeff

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Hey Francine!

How about a damp washcloth massage bath using a tiny bit of Dr. Bronner's Lavendar soap?

@Dr. Jean Hofve, do you have other ideas for Francine and Zozo?
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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You can bathe her, sounds like you might have to. But you're right to be concerned that it would be very stressful.

First use flower essences of course, and maybe a calming supplement like feline Composure. If you think she might really over-react, you might want to talk to your vet, perhaps even a mild anti-anxiety med like gabapentin would be appropriate to minimize stress. It's quite safe in cats, especially as just a one-time thing. They might have a good shampoo, too.

Don't use any human soap on a cat, they are too harsh and will strip all the oils and leave skin more vulnerable. The exception would be Aveeno oatmeal bath which is soothing and moisturizing.

Try to comb the mats out first because getting them wet will just tighten them. A flea comb is ideal, but of course use in very short spurts. There's no rush!
 

FrancineR

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Dr. Jean, okay to use Feliway for composure? The chews will be difficult…she never liked chew treats. Of course, I can try to break them up and either give like a pill, or break up and put in food (raw diet mostly). I have used Rescue Remedy. I would like to use the gabapentin for one time…sounds like it will be very helpful to prevent stress. Dosage for a 5 lb., very senior, gentle/loving cat recuperating from a TIA last December?

Dr. Jeff, can you prescribe gabapentin? If not, Dr. Noonan?

I will find a gentle shampoo for cats.

Thank you both for your concern and advice. Much appreciated!
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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FrancineR

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Thank you. Ordered the TRANQUILITY and flea combs. No rush, but a good start. Hopefully, Dr. Jeff (our long time vet) can come through with gabapentin.
 

Dr. Jeff

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Dr. Jeff, can you prescribe gabapentin?
Sure!

You may want to try liberal dosing with Stress Stopper first (if you haven't already done so).
 

FrancineR

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Drs. Jean and Jeff - your feedback was so helpful! I immediately ordered a pkg. of flea combs and got them today - used in short up-combs on Zozo's matted paws, and the mats came out easily. Of course, much was due to Zozo's trust and ability to stand still (without squirming or complaining) while I gently combed. No mats now! I will probably do this once a month or as needed. For bathing I also ordered an organic cat shea butter/oatmeal shampoo (no fragrance). To combat/prevent stress, I have Rescue Remedy and I found a bottle of Stress Stopper (maybe for us both), so I think we are set for a bath!

Thanks again for your help...Holistic Actions is one of the best decisions I have ever made!!!!
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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How great that you and Zozo have such a wonderful trusting relationship! Well done, you're on your way to a squeaky clean kitty (and she'll feel better too!). :)
 

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