Why is my cats fur sticking up on back?
If your cat’s fur is sticking out from the back, looks greasy or shaggy, or is even coming out, there can be several reasons for this.
From diseases and pain to an infestation with parasites, numerous triggers are possible. The exact cause is crucial for appropriate treatment.
We show you which potential triggers are possible and what you can do about them.
In this article you will learn why cat fur sticks out from the back and how you should react to it. We’ll also show you all the functions of cat fur and why it’s an important health care guide for you.
Cat fur sticking out along the back
Cats can reflexively stand up their fur along their spine. This happens when they are ready to attack, are frightened or scared, and are cornered.
This creates a “crest”, also known as a “brush”. This usually extends from the nape of the neck to the tip of the tail. However, in very long-haired cat breeds, this is much less noticeable due to the length and texture of the hair.
If the fur on your cat’s back sticks out permanently, however, it has another reason.
The cause is not always immediately obvious. It is usually accompanied by other phenomena. These include:
greasy, sebaceous feeling when touching the coat
loss of shine / dull appearance
hair loss / bald patches
agglutinated coat hairs
In addition, other changes may occur, such as
increased need for rest up to lethargy and apathy
flinching or hissing when touched
If you notice such problems, you should immediately consult a veterinarian.
But what are the possible causes behind these symptoms?
Altered cat fur – causes
Does the fur on your cat’s back appear shaggy, sticking out, or greasy and dirty? Then you should consider the following causes:
allergies and food intolerances
- movement restrictions and pain
Degenerative musculoskeletal conditions, inflammation and injury can prevent your cat from being able to move properly and completely.
This, in turn, restricts them from grooming.
The back is a hard place to reach anyway, which means that signs usually show up here first and most clearly.
In addition, your cat may adopt a relieving posture when walking or sitting, which acts as if it is continuously exhibiting a cat hump.
This causes the fur along the spine to stick out even more.
In any case, this is a serious and urgent problem, the cause of which you must get clarified.
From kidney disease to tumors to chronic pain, various causes can be responsible.
These also include teeth and gums. If there are inflammations or other painful changes, every movement of the tongue can hurt.
Possibly your cat does not brush itself any more for this reason.
Extensive examinations are usually necessary to determine this. Relief of the symptoms is usually possible.
The earlier the trigger is known and treated, the better the chances for therapy.
- parasite infestation and infections of the skin
Mites or fleas can cause dandruff, itching and stickiness in the coat, as can a yeast infection. The coat often appears greasy and shaggy.
If the itching is particularly severe, your cat may scratch bald patches into its coat.
Thanks to modern means, parasites can be well controlled and their effects treated. However, the latter requires patience. This is true at least if the infestation is far advanced.
Therefore, consult a veterinarian at an early stage and consider preventive treatment with repellents for free-rangers.
If your cat is weakened by illness or malnutrition, it may lack the strength to groom its coat. This can make it look shaggy and dull.
In addition, the skin and coat will also suffer. So in these cases, brushing it regularly is not enough to help it groom.
The underlying disease or malnutrition must first be corrected before there is a significant improvement.
- allergies and food intolerances.
The coat is a good indicator of whether your cat is doing well or has a health problem.
If your cat suffers from an allergy or can’t tolerate the current food, this will also show in the condition of the skin and coat hair.
Dandruff, itching, redness and digestive problems are typical signs. The coat often loses its shine and can stand out or look shaggy.
If there are no other reasons for the fur on the back to stand out, you should therefore look at the food and environmental factors under the microscope.
For example, does your cat scratch noticeably after being fed chicken? Did the problems occur after a change of food or since you started giving new treats?
An elimination diet can provide information.
- hormonal changes and coat change
Long-haired cat breeds in particular may find it difficult to maintain sufficient coat care when there is increased hair loss.
Therefore, during hormonal changes or during the coat change, knots and regular felting plates just above the skin may occur.
This causes the coat to become shaggy and stand out.
This is where you come in. Brush your cat every day to remove loose hairs and to support the coat care.
Is your cat an outdoor cat and has a cat flap, squeezes under fences and gates more often or hides under cars from time to time?
Then you should consider dirt as a possible reason for sticking out, greasy or sticky fur on the back.
These are not always immediately obvious, especially on dark fur.
- special form: fat tail
The protruding fur in this case is not on the back, but at the base of the tail, but also requires treatment.
The so-called “fat tail” occurs in cats when the sebaceous glands on the tail produce excessive amounts of sebum. They can become additionally inflamed.
The fur sticks together and stands out clearly.
Fat tail occurs primarily in unneutered males, but can affect any animal.
Cat has protruding fur on the back: This is how you prevent it
Cats can get injured, suffer from illnesses or be restricted for other reasons at any age.
It’s best to teach your cat from the beginning that brushing and patting are pleasant experiences.
This allows you to detect changes early and have them treated, removes debris and loose hair – which prevents the development of lumps, felt and hairballs – in addition to strengthening the bond with your pet.
Let brushing become an evening, calming ritual and simply incorporate it into petting sessions.
This way, it won’t be a chore for your cat or for you.
Cat’s fur sticking out – a cause for concern
With the exception of shedding, you should always consider changes in the coat as an alarm sign.
Cats are very clean animals. Therefore, soiling or unkempt areas of the coat are an indication of a significant problem that you should take seriously.
Have a veterinary examination, including blood tests and imaging if necessary. This is the only way to target treatment.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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