Cat Grooming Techniques & Tips
Cat Grooming – NO time like the present!
If your sleek feline friend is slowly turning into a mangy moggy, then it’s grooming time!
Cats are fastidious creatures with little bristly tongues designed for the job but every now and then a little assistance is required, particularly cats with longer coats like Persians.
Older cats and sick cats may also require a little extra help due to their inability to groom themselves properly.
Ideally it’s a good idea to brush everyday but this isn’t always practical so aim to brush your short hair cat a minimum of once a week preferably 2-3 times a week. With longer hair cats they should be combed through every day. Sounds a lot but in the long run a good daily brushing regime saves matting build up and prevents the situation getting out of hand.
Brush more frequently when your cat is shedding. Introduce brushing and combing to your cat as early on as possible to get them accustomed to the process.
Generally speaking most cats enjoy the grooming process. Those who aren’t so keen can usually be accustomed to the process through regular exposure to brushing and combing.
Never force your cat to sit and be brushed if they become unhappy, agitated or aggressive then let them go about their business and try again later. If you force the issue then they can become stressed and be alienated from the process.
Removing dead /loose hair leaves the coat healthier and more comfortable for your cat. The less loose hair there is then the less that gets licked away, ending up as hairballs, inside kitty, which isn’t good. Grooming is a great opportunity to examine your cat’s general skin health. Rashes lumps and injuries can be easily spotted and attended to.
Grooming is a fantastic bonding process and is a great chance to share your love. (You will also notice a difference in how often you need to vacuum the furniture!)
An essential toolkit for grooming your cat at home should include the following:-
- Nail clippers
- Flea comb
- Tooth brush
There are many other tools on the market. One particular tool that I think is fantastic when it comes to removing loose and dead hair more effectively than by brushing alone is the ‘Furminator’ which is a bladed comb and is an excellent addition to your tool kit. They are available in many configurations to suit differently sized animals and different hair length.
Not all cats like this but if you can get them to comply then it really is worth the effort especially from a health point of view, as they can develop the same types of issues as we do when we neglect our teeth.
You should try and clean your cat’s teeth once a day, and have them professionally examined and cleaned at least once a year.
- Get comfortable
- Only use pet toothpaste designed for the purpose never use human toothpaste
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush preferably one designed for cats
- Get your cat accustomed to having her lips moved back and teeth exposed and introduce some paste(usually flavoured with fish or chicken) to get them used to the taste.
- In early attempts don’t try to do too much, try cleaning the front teeth only and gauge the response. As the cat becomes more comfortable extend the cleaning to other teeth,then eventually to the whole mouth.(This might take a number of sessions )
- Most Tartar build up occurs on the back teeth so make a point of cleaning them well.
If you see anything that concerns you or raises questions in your mind whilst teeth cleaning then consult your vet!
Whilst grooming, talk reassuringly to your cat. Grooming can be a pleasurable and rewarding experience for both you and your cat. Make sure you have everything you need before you start.
Start at the head and work back towards the tail. Work on one side of the body and then the other. Use the tip of your comb carefully to tease out ant knots and tangles. Loosen and remove any matted clumps. Then comb through to make sure you haven’t missed any brush gently in long stroking motions from front to back to back.
Try to brush as many parts of your cat’s body as he will let you. Start at his head and work your way to his tail (don’t forget his belly).
If you think about it, brushing is a lot like stroking which most cats love. Brush gently yet purposefully trying to get to as many areas as possible. Go over the same areas repeatedly until the yield of loose hair diminishes. Trial and error will reveal what works best for you and your cat. If you can’t get it all done in one sitting, don’t worry, you can finish later on.
The other option is to take your cat to a professional groomer. This is obviously going to be a more expensive option but is a great choice when bathing is required or where the coat requires a lot of work, for example where there is a lot of matting and tangling.
Also when the coat requires to be cut (in the case of long hair cats) this is definitely the best option.