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Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

Hi, My name is Dashel or Dash for short. I am having a problem with my fur! My person has been helping my recent skin issue with liquid Vitamin E, the only problem, I spilled it and got it all over my tail and backside. Now my normal beautiful fur is greasy and stringy looking. So far my owner has tried giving me a regular bath as well as Dawn dish soap. Nothing has worked! Please, if anyone has any ideas, please let my owner know. By the way this happened two days ago and it has NOT gotten better with time.

Many Meows,
Dash (and Michelle)

Siouxsie: Oh, Dash, what a horrible accident! I’d be terribly embarrassed if I got oil of any kind all over my fur.

Thomas: We decided to answer your question right away, because the consequences of not getting the Vitamin E oil out of your fur could be very serious. Vitamin E can be toxic in high doses, as can any fat-soluble vitamin (Vitamin A and Vitamin D, too) . So it would be much better for your human to get this oil out of your fur before you clean too much of it off with your own grooming.

Dahlia: Dawn dish soap is a good solution. As you may know, when there’s an oil spill and birds get covered with the stuff, rescuers use Dawn to get the oil out of the birds’ feathers. But it takes more than a gentle shampoo. What your person needs to do is put the detergent on your fur before she wets it and massage it in well. She may even want to rub the fur between her fingers. She’s going to need to do this for several minutes, so you need to be very patient. Then she has to rinse it off very well with warm water.

Siouxsie: The idea here is that if the oil is bound up in the soap before she rinses you, it should be carried off with the detergent in the water. Of course, you’re going to be extra-sudsy after this treatment, and she should continue rinsing until no more suds come out of your fur.

Thomas: After she bathes you, she needs to gently towel you off and make sure you’re in a nice, warm room until your fur is totally dry so that you don’t catch a chill.

Dahlia: Our research has also yielded another degreasing shampoo especially for cats and dogs: Pure Pet D’Grease. It’s supposed to work well to remove any kind of oil (from cooking grease to motor oil). Your mama might be able to find it at a local pet store; if not, she can purchase it online.

Siouxsie: Your human can also try baking soda (sometimes referred to as bicarbonate or bi-carb). With this technique, she needs to dust you down very well with the baking soda and then wipe and/or brush it off. Repeat this process several times. Then when she washes you (with Dawn or some other detergent), she needs to mix the baking soda into the shampoo, 50/50.

Thomas: If none of these techniques work, you may have to go to the groomer and have your fur shaved. We know this is almost as embarrassing as having all sorts of nasty oily spikes in your fur, but at least that way the oil will be gone and you’ll be safe from eating the Vitamin E in your grooming.

Dahlia: You may be surprised to know that very large deposits of tar or oil-based paint, or pine pitch, can be removed from cat fur with vegetable oil. If you were ever to get those things on your fur, your human would need to soak the patches of fur in vegetable oil for 24 hours and then shampoo you to remove all of the oil and the paint, tar or pitch.

Siouxsie: We also think it would be a very good idea for your mama to talk to your vet and tell him or her what happened. Maybe your vet would have some other tips for getting the oil off your fur. He or she can also tell your mama the signs of Vitamin E toxicity, so she can be on the lookout for those — just in case you’ve already licked a lot of the oil off your fur.

Thomas: Good luck, Dash. We sure hope your mama can get the Vitamin E oil out of your fur without resorting to having you shaved!

Dahlia: Please report back and let us know what technique worked best. We know you’re not the only cat on the planet who’s ever gotten oily gunk on your fur.

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