This is Sinbad. It may be hard to tell, but he’s a Persian cat. When Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society got a call about him, he was described as looking like he was”dragging a carpet.” But that “carpet” was actually his own fur. Yikes. His fur had been ignored for so long by his elderly guardian that it formed into a gigantic, filthy tangle that nearly consumed him.
Our Humane Investigators got a call about a cat living with an elderly gentleman that looked like it was "dragging a…
It took hours for shelter workers to shave off the 5 pounds—yes, POUNDS—of fur that had accumulated over several years. Can you imagine your hair taking over your entire body like that? Sinbad had been trapped in his fur prison for so long that his hind legs had become very weak. The good news is that he has since been nursed back to health. Look how happy he is now:
Now he's getting lots of TLC and attention. His diet is being monitored and the goal is to help Sinbad gain weight and grow back his glorious coat!
We wish we could say that Sinbad’s situation is rare, but it’s not. Recently, a cat whose body was almost entirely covered with mats was taken to Pittsburgh’s Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center clinic after her elderly guardian was moved into a nursing home.
PETA fieldworkers often come across similar cases of horrible grooming neglect. The following are just a few examples.
This elderly, blind cocker spaniel was taken to PETA’s shelter for euthanasia by his sick guardian’s son when the dog became so ill that he couldn’t even walk anymore.
This dog’s elderly guardian called PETA because the animal’s back legs were extremely swollen and he was crying out in pain. The cause of the swelling? He had such intense mats on his legs that they’d cut off the circulation. 💔
One rear paw had swollen to twice—yes, TWICE—its normal size, and his toes were cold and purple. When the vet cut through the mats of fur, the flesh underneath was dead and peeled off, exposing bone. Because the dog would’ve needed to have both hind legs amputated, his guardian decided to have him euthanized so that he didn’t have to suffer anymore.
PETA fieldworkers found Larry in a backyard, imprisoned in a filthy rabbit hutch hidden behind piles of junk. Forced to live in his own waste, he was caked with filthy mats, and his toenails were wildly overgrown. One nail even became embedded in his paw, which must’ve been extremely painful for him.
After a haircut, a bath, a toenail trim, and emergency medical treatment, Larry made a full recovery and was adopted.
When Soupster the pup was dropped off at PETA’s headquarters one Christmas Eve, she was filthy, her fur was tangled, and she was suffering from multiple infections. Once her fur had been shaved off, we could see that the skin underneath was raw and covered with oozing sores.
With round-the-clock care, Soupster recovered and was also adopted.
What You Can Do
These are just a few examples of what are, unfortunately, all too common forms of grooming neglect—and they prove how important proper care is to companion animals’ health. So what can you do to make sure that your dogs and cats don’t end up like these animals?
Be sure to brush them regularly. Cut out any mats that form right away (being careful not to trim too close to the skin so you don’t accidentally nip your animal) and make sure that their nails are trimmed often.
If You See Something, Say Something
If you know of any animals who are suffering from grooming neglect, explain to their guardians how important it is to get them treated right away. You can even offer to take the animal to a vet yourself—otherwise, if the guardian refuses to act, call your local authorities. If they aren’t responsive, you can always contact peta2.