Cat Grooming Essentials Explained
It’s no secret that cats are highly particular creatures when it comes to cat grooming. When they aren’t eating or sleeping, they are grooming themselves! No matter how independent your cat may be, he will occasionally need your help to stay clean.
Grooming your cat regularly will not only help your cat stay tangle free, but it will also help improve the health of your cat’s coat and skin. Plus, you’ll be able to monitor your pet for any potential health problems and prevent those pesky hairballs.
I’ve compiled my best grooming advice to help you pamper your pet. Try my top cat grooming tips to keep your cat looking and feeling healthy.
Cat Grooming Basics Explained
You probably already know better than to surprise your cat with, well, anything! If you’ve never groomed your cat before, you’ll need to introduce the concept gradually.
Choose a moment when your cat is relaxed. For many cats, a great time to groom them is shortly after they have finished eating. If this applies to your cat, it’s worth a try! Begin with a short cat grooming session of five minutes. As you’re brushing, be sure to praise your pet. You want your cat to associate grooming with positive outcomes. To reinforce this attitude, give your pet a treat once you’ve finished brushing.
Don’t worry if your cat resists or refuses cat grooming, especially if the procedure is completely unfamiliar. Be patient and try again once your cat is calm. Eventually, your cat will get used to the process and maybe even look forward to it.
Brush Up on the Basics
Brushing your cat regularly will prevent the fur from becoming tangled and matted. Be sure to brush in the same direction of your cat’s natural hair growth. Never brush in the opposite direction, as this can cause discomfort for your pet. Also, be especially careful when grooming sensitive areas like the belly.
Long Hair Tips:
First, use a wide-toothed comb to remove any dirt that may be caught in your cat’s coat. If you find any knots or mats, gently work the comb through the fur. Do not cut the knots with scissors. If you discover a mat that is too severe to untangle with a comb after several attempts, take your cat to a professional groomer. Once you have untangled any major knots, switch to a bristle brush or a wire brush to get rid of any loose hair. This will help prevent shedding and hairballs.
Oftentimes, the most difficult area to groom is the face, as your cat may not be as cooperative. Try using a toothbrush instead of a large standard brush. This will be less intimidating to your cat, and you’ll be able to groom those hard-to-reach places.
Short Hair Tips:
Begin brushing with a fine-tooth metal comb, starting near your cat’s head. Use slow, downward strokes and work your way to the tip of your cat’s tail. As you’re grooming, be on the lookout for signs of fleas. They typically look like tiny, grey particles on the surface of the skin. After you have finished brushing with the fine-tooth comb, switch to a soft rubber brush or a bristle brush to eliminate any loose hair.
Grooming is most effective and enjoyable when it is done quickly and often. If you wait too long in between sessions, the process will be uncomfortable for both you and your cat. Most longhaired cats need to be brushed daily, while shorthaired cats only require brushing twice per week.
Bath Time (Yes, You Read That Right)
If the very thought of bathing your cat causes you to cringe, you’re not alone! Chances are, your cat isn’t too thrilled about it either. Fortunately for you, cats rarely require a traditional bath. However, every once in a while, a bath will be necessary. If your cat’s coat becomes so dirty that self-grooming clearly won’t do the trick, you’ll have to bring in reinforcements. Don’t worry – if you approach bath time properly, it will be a pleasant experience for both you and your pet.
First, make sure the water temperature is warm. If the water is too hot or too cold, it will be uncomfortable and potentially harmful for your cat. Place a rubber bath mat at the bottom of a sink or tub. This mat will prevent your cat’s paws from slipping on the slick surface. Fill the basin with about three or four inches of water.
If you have a spray nozzle connected to your sink, you are welcome to use it. Keep the nozzle close to your cat’s fur and gently wet down the coat. DO NOT direct the stream of water directly at your cat’s face, as you could accidently get water in your cat’s eyes, nose, or ears. If you don’t have a spray hose or would prefer not to use one, you can use a pitcher instead.
You should use a shampoo made specifically for cats. Consult your veterinarian for a few options if you’re unsure of which product is best. Lather a quarter-sized amount of shampoo in between your hands, and slowly work the shampoo into your cat’s coat. Be sure to start at your cat’s head and move toward the tail.
Rinse your cat with the same technique you used to wet the coat. Be thorough and make sure that all the suds are completely gone! Once you’ve completely rinsed off your cat, gently pat dry with a large towel.
The Purrfect Pedicure
With the proper technique, you’ll be able to trim your cat’s claws quickly and painlessly. It can take some time for your cat to get used to the idea though. Start by simply touching your cat’s paws at some point every day. Once your cat becomes comfortable with that, begin to massage your cat’s paws. Lightly press your thumb against the pad of each toe. This will trigger a natural reflex that causes the claw to extend. Repeat this process for about two weeks.
Once you can successfully massage your cat’s paws without any resistance, you can begin to trim the claws. Be sure to use standard clippers or nail scissors that are specially made for cats. Trim only the white tip of the claw. Exercise caution and make sure you do NOT cut the quick, which can typically be identified as a light pink area beneath the surface of the claw.
Although cats tend to be relatively independent compared to other pets, they still rely on their owners from time to time. Your cat needs your loving care! With a little patience, cat grooming sessions can become quality time for you and your cat.