How do I safely remove feces trapped in my cat’s fur?

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Any time foreign matter of any kind is caught in a cat’s fur, be extremely careful about trying to clip out the tangle. Cats have extremely sensitive skin that is easily injured. Typically, the foreign material will be tangled in the animal’s outer coat where a mat forms down to the dense undercoat. Cutting that close to the skin is very risky, especially if the cat is fighting the process.

If the fecal material is fresh, remove the bulk with paper towels and then bathe the cat in lukewarm water with a pet shampoo only. Human shampoos tend to be scented, and often the fragrance will irritate the cat’s skin. Rinse with clear water and dry the cat as thoroughly as possible, combing the fur if he will allow it.

Remember that wet fur tangles more easily than dry, so do not scrub at his coat. Towel dry the fur in the direction it normally lies and let your cat do the rest.

If the fecal material has gone undiscovered and has hardened, it is likely worth it to make a trip to the veterinary clinic or to a professional groomer to have the mass cut out safely.

This issue is a common problem in long-haired cats and elderly cats with arthritic hips that prevent them both from squatting and grooming properly. In these cases, consider having the cat’s “pantaloon” trimmed on a regular basis to avoid the problem altogether.

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