Grooming is a must for all cats, long-haired and short-haired alike, but do cats need to be professionally groomed? Not necessarily. You can groom your cat at home instead of splashing out on professional grooming, but there are some instances when it would be better to let a pro take over.
In this post, we’ll explore why grooming is so important and when a trip to a groomer is necessary. We’ll also share some tips on grooming your cat at home.
Why Grooming Is Essential
Though cats groom themselves, they still need us to offer a helping hand because there’s only so much self-maintenance a cat can do. If you have a medium or long-haired cat, they’ll need to be brushed every day to keep their coats free of knots, tangles, and mats.
Not brushing long-haired cats regularly enough can result in tight clumps that can become very uncomfortable for your cat and may need to be removed by a professional. Brushing is also beneficial for long-haired cats in that it prevents them from swallowing as much hair, therefore resulting in fewer hairballs.
Even short-haired cats need to be brushed, but not as frequently as longhaired cats. Brushing distributes the natural oils through the coat and clears out dirt, debris, and loose hair, which contributes to a healthier coat and skin. In addition, brushing gives you the opportunity to check for lumps, bumps, and injuries and is a great bonding experience for you and your cat.
All that said, grooming isn’t just about brushing: It also involves nail trimming, tooth brushing, ear checks, and occasionally bathing if recommended by a vet.
Do Cats Need Baths?
For the majority of cats, bathing is unnecessary, but some do need regular baths, either for medical reasons or because they’re hairless. The skin of hairless cats gets greasy easily because they don’t have fur to distribute the oils produced by the skin. They need to be bathed about once every few weeks with a gentle, cat-friendly shampoo.
Another reason you may need to bathe your cat is if your vet has asked you to do so for medical reasons, such as a skin condition, or if they get something sticky, nasty or toxic on their coat.
If you suspect that your cat has a skin condition, please don’t head for the bath just yet—see a vet to get a proper diagnosis and advice on how to treat it.
Should I Take My Cat to a Professional Groomer?
If you’re taking care of all your cat’s grooming needs at home (brushing, nail clipping, tooth brushing, and ear checks) and it’s going well, there’s no need to take them to a professional groomer. However, if there’s something you’re not comfortable doing, like trimming your cat’s nails yourself, you may feel better involving a professional.
You should also contact a professional groomer or your veterinarian if your cat’s fur is seriously matted or clumped, and you can’t tackle the situation on your own without hurting them. Professional groomers are trained in dealing with all kinds of coats, breeds, and personalities. That said, if your cat is in pain or is showing signs of a skin condition, you’ll need to see a vet first.
How to Groom Your Cat at Home: Top Tips
If you get into a good grooming routine at home, your cat may never have to visit a professional groomer. Here are some tips on how to approach grooming your cat in as stress-free a manner as possible.
1. Pick a Gentle Brush
It’s best to opt for a brush designed specifically for cats and that’s gentle enough to not cause discomfort. There are plenty of types to choose from, including bristle brushes, pin brushes, slicker brushes, and grooming mitts. Grooming mitts are worth trying out for cats who are nervous about brushing because it feels more like being petted.
You’ll also want to invest in a good deshedding tool if your cat is a heavy shedder, as this will help a great deal when shedding season arrives. A comb is also a good tool to have handy to work through more detailed areas.
2. Brush Longhaired & Curly Cats Daily
Long-haired and curly-haired cats need to be brushed daily as their coats can quickly become tangled and matted. By contrast, a weekly brush should do for a short-haired cat.
3. Let Your Cat Get Used to Grooming Tools
If your cat isn’t used to brushes, combs, and deshedding tools, it’s wise to give them time to thoroughly investigate these items before you start using them. This helps your cat feel more secure and in control, as cats are wary of new things.
Ideally, cats should be groomed from kittenhood so they don’t fear the experience as an adult, but you can certainly bring a reluctant adult cat around with a bit of time and patience. Put the brush near the cat and let them sniff and rub against it in their own time to let them get used to its smell, feel, and presence.
4. Go Slowly
Start brushing slowly and in small areas, like on the back or in the place where your cat most enjoys being petted. Do a few strokes, then take a break, then do a few more to let your cat get used to the sensation. Reward your cat quickly after you first start brushing to encourage them to feel positive about the experience.
The same goes for if you’re trimming your cat’s nails. Even if you just manage one nail at a time before your cat runs away, it’s fine—you can come back to it later or the next day. If it takes several days to get all the nails clipped, that’s okay.
5. Have Someone Assist
You may feel a bit more confident having someone there to hold your cat and talk to them in a soothing voice while you do what you have to do. This may be especially useful if you need to gently restrain your cat for nail clipping.
6. Avoid the Quick
When you trim your cat’s nails, avoid cutting into the pink part of the nail. This is the quick, and it hurts and bleeds when you cut it. If you accidentally cut the quick, you can stop the bleeding with styptic powder.
7. Use Gentle Restraint if Necessary
If your cat struggles when they get their nails trimmed, you may need to do the burrito technique, which involves wrapping your cat in a blanket with their head and one paw sticking out. You can do this by placing the cat on a blanket and folding it upwards over and around them. Having an assistant hold your cat while you trim the nails could be extra helpful.
To recap, you can groom your cat at home to save money on grooming fees, but if something complex or potentially uncomfortable needs to be done (if your cat is very matted or you’re having trouble cutting their nails), it would be wise to see a professional groomer.
If you spot any signs of skin conditions, like dryness, redness, patchiness, flakiness, and so on when grooming your cat, consult your vet to find out what’s going on.
Featured Image Credit: artcasta, Shutterstock
- Why Grooming Is Essential
- Do Cats Need Baths?
- Should I Take My Cat to a Professional Groomer?
- How to Groom Your Cat at Home: Top Tips
- 1. Pick a Gentle Brush
- 2. Brush Longhaired & Curly Cats Daily
- 3. Let Your Cat Get Used to Grooming Tools
- 4. Go Slowly
- 5. Have Someone Assist
- 6. Avoid the Quick
- 7. Use Gentle Restraint if Necessary
- Final Thoughts