Grooming your cat does more than just keep your cat looking her best. It’s also an opportunity to bond with your cat as well as inspect her body for lumps, ticks and tender spots.
Some cats require more grooming than others. Generally, the more fur a cat has, the more grooming she will require. Senior cats require more grooming because they groom themselves less meticulously as they age.
If you acclimate your cat to the grooming process as early as possible, grooming can be incident-free. No matter whether your cat is a longhair, shorthair or no-hair, she will require at least some grooming periodically to keep her happy and healthy.
If your cat simply won’t allow you to groom her, engage the services of a professional groomer.
The frequency with which you brush your cat is determined by the length and thickness of the coat as well as the time of year. Frequent brushing is essential to keep your cat from getting hairballs which can sometimes require surgery to remove.
Brush shorthaired cats once weekly and longhaired cats every other day. When the warm weather hits in the Spring, you may need to groom more often as your cat sheds her winter coat. As a rule of thumb, if you pet your cat and fur comes out, she needs brushing.
A tool like the FURminator┬« is especially effective at removing hair, but care should be taken when using it. Don’t start by enthusiastically raking your cat’s backbone and drawing blood. Gently stroke her, then draw the brush across the very top of her coat without catching any hair in the teeth or bristles. Concentrate on getting her used to the feel of the brush or comb. Then gradually work the brush more deeply into the coat, stopping short of raking the scalp. Don’t force it, and stop when your cat has had enough.
If you have several cats with varying coats, you may need more than one type of brush or comb. Don’t assume that what works for one will work for all. You may have to try several different brush or comb types before finding one that works well on a particular cat.
Some cats have hyper-sensitive areas, especially on the back, so take care and watch your cat’s body language to ensure you don’t get bitten or scratched. If you notice her pinning her ears back, take a break and continue later.
Mats are painful to your cat and can restrict movement, so they should be removed as soon as you notice them (before they become impossible to remove).
If you brush your longhaired cat every other day, it will obviate the need to remove mats. But inevitably, every longhaired cat will develop them, and you’ll need to be adept at removing them without harming your cat.
The safest way to remove mats is with clippers. Have a helper hold the cat still while you shave away the mat.
If you don’t have clippers you can use scissors, but exercise caution so that you don’t harm the cat. Before you attempt the scissor method, have a vet tech teach you how to do it properly so that you cut the mat and not your cat.
Use scissors with blunt ends. Slide a fine-tooth comb between the mat and the skin so the skin won’t get cut. Once the comb is under the mat, cut the hair between the mat and comb, like so:
Bathing is easier if the cat has been accustomed to bathing since an early age. If she is not a frequent bather, you may need to prepare for battle. It helps if you have a helper so that one person can hold the cat while the other washes the cat.
Before the Bath<
After the Bath
If Your Cat Really Really Hates Bathing
As a general rule, you should trim your cat’s nails at least monthly. This procedure is best done with a helper who holds the cat in his lap while you trim the claws. If your cat isn’t wild about this procedure, wrap her in a towel to immobilize her, exposing one paw at a time.
As you look at the claw, you’ll notice a triangular pink area which is the quick. Avoid cutting into this area, as doing so will cause bleeding and pain.
Many cats only need their front claws trimmed, so don’t feel you need to trim the rear claws if they don’t require it.
If you snip the quick, don’t panic. Use a styptic to stop the bleeding, and calm your cat with a low soothing voice.
If your cat begins to struggle too hard, take a break and finish later.
End the session by rewarding your cat with treats and praise.
Check your cat’s ears twice a month for dirt and wax buildup (and ticks if your cat spends time outdoors). Some breeds (like the Devon Rex) produce more wax than others and require more frequent cleaning.
To clean your cat’s ears, enlist the aid of a helper to restrain her. Wrapping her in a towel will help. Clean the ear lobe using a cotton ball moistened with warm water to gently remove dirt, wax, and debris. After most of the debris has been removed with the cotton ball, carefully use a Q-Tip┬« to remove anything that remains within the cartilage of the ear. Never poke the Q-Tip into the ear canal.
Only clean the parts of the ear that are visible. If there appears to be debris inside the ear canal, have a vet remove it.