Cats are fastidious groomers, which is why their fur looks so sleek and silky. They prize cleanliness. That’s why, if a cat lets herself go and her hair doesn’t look as kempt as usual — you can perhaps see flakes in it — you should get her to the doctor.
When a cat stops grooming herself, it is frequently a sign of pain, and it’s important to find out what might be wrong and have your pet treated.
It’s not just that pain might make a cat less willing to engage in activities that normally occupy a fair amount of her time. It’s also that grooming takes a fair amount of physical dexterity, and pain can make it hard to twist and turn and curl the body into various positions to get at all the necessary spots.
Another sign of pain can be nails that are longer than usual. If your cat uses a vertical cat scratcher, that will do a lot of the nail trimming for you. But a cat who can no longer stand comfortably on her hind legs to scratch her front paws as a result of a musculoskeletal problem such as arthritis will no longer be getting the manicure she had grown accustomed to. Arthritis pain can be attenuated, however, and signs of it should also prompt a trip to the veterinarian for effective pain management.