Cats are fiercely independent creatures and will spend hours grooming themselves. That’s why you don’t often see them with matted hair, but you do find cats fur everywhere. They will also spend a generous portion of their time sleeping, but that is another story.
Regardless of how much grooming your cat does, it is advisable to give them a hand from time to time. After all, clean cats are generally happy cats, gaining knowledge regarding the basics of cat grooming and what your brushing to remove, will benefit your relationship.
The Importance Of Cat Grooming
Giving your cat a good brushing does more than just remove loose hair and dead hair, grooming sessions should attend to all areas of the cat’s body, including nail care. Brushing your cat removes the shedding hair and encourages oil production in their skin, this oil assists in providing a healthy shine to their coat and can actually improve their muscle tone!
Of course, brushing solely to remove fleas and ticks is unlikely to be successful. But, it will highlight if your cat has any unknown issues, allowing you to apportion the appropriate steps to eliminate the issue.
Regular pet grooming can also build trust between you and your cat, you will find that beneficial when you need to hold them and inspect an injury. It does not matter if your cat is short-haired or has long hair, regular grooming helps.
You can also seize the opportunity to visually inspect your feline friend and feel for any unusual lumps or bumps.
Top Tips When Cat Grooming
The first step in cat grooming is to have the right grooming tools. That means at least a professional cat comb and a good set of nail clippers, although it can be difficult to do a cat’s nails. Of course, you can always get a professional cat groomer to do it for you.
Start by holding the brush and gently offering it to the cat, this will allow them to sniff it. They should rub against it to leave their scent. That is a good starting point. Dogs and cats love being stroked on the side of their faces, this is a good place to start with the brush.
You can then proceed along their body, always maintaining momentum with the flow of their fur, it is irrelevant whether they have long or short fur, they will quickly get irritated if you brush against the fur. Providing your cat appears content you can do their back at the same time, this approach effectively removes dirt trapped in their fur.
It is worth noting that the majority of cats are more tolerant of grooming and even nail trims if they have a catnip-filled toy in front of them, although this can inspire their playful nature.
If your cat is very content it may allow you to brush its tummy, however, this is the most sensitive part of its body and may make it playful or vicious. It is best to simply give this a few strokes to help with de-shedding, if possible, you can always continue the practice later.
In fact, this is usually one of the best approaches, short bursts of grooming are more likely to be appreciated than sustained attempts.
One or two quick brushings each week should be enough to assist your cat maintaining their skin and fur properly.
If your cat is smelly then you may want to bathe it, this can be difficult as most cats are not keen on water. It is best to stand them in the bath or sink with a little warm water, decreasing the likelihood of shocking them, potentially allowing you to rinse them and lather before they realize what is happening.
Front Legs First
Always maintain a grip just behind the front legs when bathing, this minimizes their movements and ability to claw you, of course, you will still need to stay alert.
While grooming you should take the opportunity to regard inside your cat’s ears, they can get wax buildup, keeping them clean will help your cat to be at its best
Look for any redness, bald spots, excessive wax, or pus discharge, should you see anything unusual contact your vet immediately for further investigation.
If your cat is docile enough you can get an ear cleaning liquid from your vet. Simply place a couple of drops of this on some cotton wool and wipe it over the ear, remember to never insert something into the ear canal.
Brush Their Teeth
You may never have done this before, but your cat can actually benefit from having its teeth brushed! Smelly breath is likely to be gingivitis or perhaps a problem with their digestive tract, they will benefit from a professional exam.
If you can push your cat’s lips back slowly, the gums should be pink and not swollen. Teeth should all be there, a broken one needs urgent attention. Ulcers, swollen gums, difficulty chewing, and excessive drooling are all indications of a mouth problem that needs expert help.
When introducing a toothbrush do it in stages. First, let them get used to the smell of it. Then, add a little cat toothpaste and let them taste it. Finally, you can try brushing their teeth.
If your cat is really fighting the cat grooming process then you should consider booking an appointment with a professional cat grooming services. You can even get given gift cards by friends to support this idea and improve their overall health.
Be Aware When They Have Had Enough Cat Grooming
You should be alert for when your cat has had enough grooming. If they show any of the following symptoms it’s time to take a break. You can always try again later.
- Skin twitching
- Vigorous tail movement
- Their head turns sharply toward you
- They freeze
- Ears start to rotate or flick
- Swallowing excessively
- Head shaking
- The traditional hissing or growling
Cats are independent and can be vicious, if your cat starts displaying the above symptoms then it is getting ready to attack. The sensible approach is to stop what you are doing and let the cat do its own thing, it is not worth getting clawed by them as their claws can be particularly vicious.
Remember, the biggest secret to successful cat grooming is simply patience. This is especially true when dealing with older cats, or even long haired cats. You can try again and again until your cat gets used to what you are trying to do, eventually, they are likely to enjoy it and may even purr while you groom them!