Cat grooming is an important topic in my household. With two longhaired cats, and a house filled with hardwood floors, hairballs, and cat allergies (mine), we’ve been fighting cat hair for years — and we have tips.
We’ve tried professional lion cuts and trims, weekly brushings, and clipping the boys ourselves (not recommended). What I’ve learned is this: As with any serious battle, engaging the right weapons and techniques are critical in keeping your furry household’s fur under control.
To help gain some new ideas, I turned to a couple of rockin’ groomers to give me some ideas for the tools we should all have in our grooming toolkit.
Adrienne Kawamura, owner of City Kitty in Edmonds, WA, suggests using a metal seven-inch Greyhound combination comb for longhaired cats, to get both the topcoat and undercoat. For shorthaired cats, she likes a four-inch metal Greyhound comb. "Some cats, even though not longhaired, have triple coats that are very thick. Using a comb on them is ideal."
This is my personal favorite. Regular grooming with the FURminator keeps my boys’ fur under control between their professional sessions.
"Everyone needs nail clippers," Lee says. And, as both experts recommend, always trim your cat’s nails at the beginning of any grooming session. I’ve never considered this, but of course it makes sense, for a couple of reasons: Getting those nails trimmed at the start of the session means you regularly trim your cat’s nails, and (duh!) sharp nails can likely put an end to a grooming session ÔÇô- fast.
Lee recommends forgoing the bathtub or kitchen sink for your cat’s bath. Instead, bathe your cat in a large litter box (sans litter, of course!). Lee says using tepid water in a large, shallow litter box goes a long way in making the bathing experience easier. "You have more control over the cat," he says.
No matter where you bathe your cat, instead of using the sprayer, which stresses out some cats, Lee suggests using a plastic water pitcher to pour water over the cat’s body. The ability to rinse your cat well is critical. "Since cats have 50 percent more hair per square inch than a dog, rinse, rinse, rinse, and when you think you have rinsed enough, rinse some more," advises Kawamura. "Leaving soap in a cat’s coat will cause matting very quickly."
Kawamura says that using a nail brush during bath time gets the cat’s skin clean without breaking the coat. And, for the sensitive face area, use a toothbrush.
Lee likes to use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic baby wipes to clean a cat’s face and his ears. You can also get cat-specific wipes like Earthbath Green Tea Cat Wipes.
Use what you have! "I like to sit cats on my lap to clean the ears, cut the nails, and brush their teeth," says Kawamura. "Cats always like to move away from you, and sitting them on your lap give you more control, and I think they feel safer as well."
Personally, my favorite weapon of choice for grooming my floofy boys is a visit to a professional groomer every few months. There are a lot of benefits to going the pro route. "It can actually be less stressful on the cat because it goes quicker," Lee explains. "We’re used to handling cats all day."
In addition, a groomer is trained to recognize ear or eye problems or infections, Lee says. "We’re your first line of defense for stuff like that."
Kawamura agrees. "Grooming is a profession, just like any profession. You could never do as good a job at home because it requires training and years of experience," she says.
And, both experts say, leave the electric clippers to the pros. "I’ve had a lot of cats come to me with big gouges in their skin," Lee says.
Kawamura hopes to increase the number of cats-only grooming salons. Her business, City Kitty, is expanding nationwide through franchises. "The benefit of a cats-only salon is that we do not have barking dogs," she says. "We use quieter equipment, so as not to stress out the cats." And, Kawamura adds, cat groomers have a different approach. "It takes a different mindset and a little more patience," she says.
Grooming is so much more than just a quick brush every few days. From personal experience, I can say that when we’re in a good grooming routine, everyone in our house is happier ÔÇô- there’s less fur on the cats, balled up in their tummies, and in every corner of the house!
What’s your favorite grooming tool or tip? Let me know in the comments!