We have a lovely 7-month-old Russian Blue, and we have noticed that he doesn't wash himself as frequently as other cats we had.

He does not, at all, ever wash his head; you know, by licking his paw and rubbing his head and ears. Because of this, his ears are so dirty they are sticky.

He does clean his a fur a bit, but also not as much as other cats I had.

What can I do to get him to clean himself more often or better?

  • groom him yourself, it nice binding time Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 14:22
  • My partner frowns upon me trying to clean him, she says he is supposed to do it himself.... But I suppose that is the only way.
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 14:26
  • depends on how you define cleaning, cats love getting brushed and petted but don't like getting wet Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 14:31
  • My cat is weird then because it attacks the grooming brush but I can literally pour water on him and he isn't bothered... what the heck?
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 15:01
  • 1
    You can buy little wet-nap cloths for cats to clean.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


Cats are different. Some breeds mature sooner than others.

I'd expect him to start doing it later, since at 7 months of age, he seems to think he is still the little kitten who gets taken care of by others. Our 7-month-old ragdoll is the same kind of messy kitten; living the careless life of a young single male. We are just simply waiting for him to wise up. Though one of our neutered adult males grooms the lazy youngster regularly, so he doesn't get too smudgy.

When you are brushing him, with cleaning him in mind, brush him like cats do, with rather short, "decisive" strokes. It should feel different than your normal petting. He may try to wriggle his way out from your hold, but that is normal for kittens, and an adult cat won't let a dirty kitten leave so easily. Of course, you will have to let him go if he is really going, but not at his first wriggling.

  • Update: The kitten I mentioned above is now 9 months old and during the last month he has taken some responsibility of his own cleaning. Still not the cleanest of cats, but he seems to know what to do and occasionally grooms himself like any other cat. Commented May 23, 2014 at 5:14
  • Mine is now 12 months old and he cleans himself constantly. It might be a good idea to introduce your cat to other cats. It seems like after he befriended a neighbourhood cat he started to groom himself.
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 18:11

I don't have experience with kittens, but I have had cats who haven't kept up with their cleaning because of illness. In those cases, I take a warm washcloth and firmly wipe them down once a day or so. That seems to keep them pretty clean until they feel better and take over the cleaning themselves again.

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