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What makes a cat cranky?

Pain or feeling trapped in a situation they can’t control usually makes a cat cranky according to Dr Kim Kendall Cat Vet.  Dr Kim has been treating cats since her first clinic opened in 1994 in Sydney.  She would never have imagined way back then that cats in pain are unable to groom themselves properly, which leads to a matted coat and crankiness.

Weather and season can make a cat cranky

Dr Kim has found that over the last couple of decades in Sydney, either the air is getting stickier with pollens and pollution, or the cats’ saliva is getting more gelatinous and making air particles stick to their coat when they groom themselves. Why is this important? Dr Kim has found that bathing (and that means a really good bath and even a vacuuming off of dead hair and grot) is a more frequent treatment now than she ever imagined in long and short-haired cats.  She says long-haired cats can go from a glamour-puss to dreadlock tramp in a matter of days, depending on the weather and the season.

Dr Kim says that she used to sedate nearly every one of these cats that had matted coats or they swiped and growled when her team of groomers tried to clip and clean them.

“These cats were in pain -their back, hips, elbows and neck were sore.”

Pain causes knots to form and make a cat cranky

Then the light bulb moment…these cats were in pain – their back, hips, elbows and neck were sore.  It hurt to lick themselves, they did not feel flexible any more. And then when the knots formed, those hurt too.  Once Dr Kim realised it was pain that caused the knots and the crankiness, then to clip the knots out (by a skilful groomer), only required pain relief and not the full sedation of anaesthetic. She says there is a knack for trimming the belly and doing a bottom clip on a wriggly feline, but it was no longer tooth-and-claw dangerous.

Arthritis can make a cat cranky

Dr Kim says that if you look for the signs of cat arthritis and pain, you can see them in most cranky cats.

Since vets started looking at arthritis in cats, it turns out that 30% are ‘freezing up’ by the age of three and 90% by 10 years old.  So if your cat is getting cranky, they are saying “I hurt, don’t touch me”.

Dr Kim recommends that you talk to your vet if your cat is cranky. Ask about resolving pain issues in your feline and then you and your cat may well become friends again!

Cats being groomed at Dr Kim’s clinic