Guide to grooming your cat
July 21, 2019 by Furry Tales
Why do we comb our hair? It’s not just to look presentable…right? Combing is also a way to remove the dead hair and stimulate the growth cells in our scalp thereby releasing natural oils that keep your hair shiny and promote hair growth. A neatly maintained head of hair also gives us a sense of well being.
Similarly, no cat wants to be dirty, and it’s up to you to ensure that your cat stays clean. Usually, cats groom themselves to keep themselves clean. However, grooming your cat will help them remain clean and healthy. This activity also helps as a bonding activity with your cat since (a) you are establishing touch, thereby gaining your cat’s trust and (b) they think of this activity as you spending special time with them.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when grooming your cat:
- Grooming starts with brushing since it helps to keep the cat’s hair from becoming hairballs. Brushing can be done with fine-toothed metal combs or the rubber grooming combs that are available in the pet stores or online. This will remove loose hair, and help prevent the risk of hairballs. A lot of cats have trouble dislodging hairballs. If a cat isn’t able to get a hairball out, it could result in a blockage of the intestines. Blockages are serious, and can quickly become life-threatening for your pet.
- Cats that have long hair will need to be brushed and combed daily, while short-haired cats need to be groomed once or twice a week. When you brush your cat, always watch for lumps in the coat and skin irritations. If there is matted hair, that part might need to be trimmed. You should start brushing along the cat’s back, going from their head to their tail. Do this a few times on one side, and then switch to the other. And do this slowly without startling your cat. Each area should be brushed a few times in the direction of the way your cat’s hair is growing.
- When you brush your cat, you should always avoid brushing his/her face and paws. If a cat doesn’t like to be brushed, you can still groom him/her using another tool. The grooming glove is an excellent alternative to the brush, as most cats don’t mind it. Starting young is the key to grooming, as it will get your cat used to brushing and grooming. Some cats whose owners started grooming them when they were kittens, grow to love it and many of them often look forward to their grooming time.
- When brushing your cat, make sure that you check his/her ears, eyes, teeth, and claws. The eyes should be bright and clear with nothing residing in the corners. The ears should be clean with no sign of ear mites. Ear mites result from dirt built up in a cat’s ears and can result in the ears shriveling up and your cat losing their hearing. Ear mites are very annoying for the cat and hard for you as an owner to get rid of. The best way to get rid of them is to ensure that your cat’s ears stay clean and healthy.
- Every time you groom your cat, you should always aim to go a bit further with your examinations. When your cat remains still, you should always praise him/her and reward with a treat. If your cat doesn’t co-operate and starts to struggle, you shouldn’t fight back but instead, let him/her go and try again the next day. Once your cat gets used to grooming he/she will look forward to it each time they see the grooming tool.
- Remember to trim or clip your cat’s fur only if it is necessary to do so. More importantly, allow a professional to do the chore because a clipper can burn your cat’s skin if not used in the right way.
- Get your cat used to trimming their claws from the kitten stage. Best time to trim their nails is when they are in a sleepy state or post-meal siesta mood. Remember to snip only the tip of the claw. The pink part of a cat’s nail, called the quick, is where the nerves and blood vessels are located. Keep a decent distance from this part of your cat’s claw and only snip the tip. Do NOT cut this sensitive area else your cat will be in pain and also bleed. Again, If in doubt, let a professional groomer handle this part or even your veterinarian can do it for you.
On the whole, remember to make the grooming activity a fun-filled, peaceful task that your cat will look forward to instead of running away. Patience, gentle touch and reassurance will go a long way in ensuring this is a smooth process for you as well.