At 13-years-old, Buttercup the cat should have been cuddled up at home enjoying his senior years. Sadly, the feline was abandoned by his family and was left to wander the streets of his neighborhood in Nevada.
When the 24-pound Buttercup was brought to the Nevada SPCA No-Kill Sanctuary, he was covered in matted fur. In fact, according to the organization's Facebook page, he "was suffering from some of the most severe matting on a feline that we have seen in years."
Matting occurs when there's no grooming for the pet, whether it's the owner not taking care of the animal, or the animal not being able to take care of itself.
Here's how Buttercup looked before his transformation:
Severe matting, like the kind Buttercup experienced, can often be painful for the animal and can even cause joint discomfort and skin issues. As Dr. Stephanie Liff, medical director of Pure Paws Vet Care in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, explained to petMD, extreme matting can "constrict a limb, and you can even have damage such as deep wounds, swelling of the feet, or bed sore-like injuries."
For senior cats in particular, grooming can be difficult. It is not that an older cat doesn’t want to groom himself much, but doing so may be physically difficult to do, explained Dr. Laurie Millward, assistant professor-clinical at The Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. "They lose ability to self-groom usually because of arthritis,” Millward said. “It hurts, and their mobility is decreased."
Shelter staff gave Buttercup a long-overdue and direly necessary shave to get rid of the excess fur. "Under all of this, his skin was in poor, flaky condition," they wrote. "With premium food and special skin oils, Buttercup's skin is improving significantly every day."
Buttercup, who is currently up for adoption and in need of a loving, caring home, is described as a docile gentleman who "loves being held in gentle arms or cuddling up in cozy cat beds. He is great with other sweet cats."
(Additional reporting by Cheryl Lock and Kellie B. Gormly)
Images via Nevada SPCA