As you may well know, cats like grooming themselves; even their counterparts in the wild love keeping themselves neat. So, the big question is: why do you have to intervene?
Cats are groomers by nature. They love to lick themselves clean. In fact, even their kittens get a whole load of licking, too. Cats basically do two things well: sleeping and grooming. But despite their neatness, it still helps if you contribute to their grooming procedure.
How can your intervening be helpful at all? It helps in terms of health. Checking on them regularly allows you to see their overall wellbeing. Plus, doing so avoids digestive issues caused by hairballs. On top of that, your cat’s coat and skin will also benefit from the extra care.
How to get started?
It’s never a good idea to snatch up your cat to start the grooming process. Keep in mind that cats have claws and forcing them to do something they don’t want will only end up bad for you. So, the key here is getting them used to the idea of groom time.
The best way to go about it is choosing a time when they are most relaxed. This is usually after they’ve had a meal. Start with short sessions so they get a feel of what it’s going to be like. Your initial sessions can be as short as five minutes or as long as ten. As you groom your cat, make sure to give them praise and provide them with treats once the session ends.
Now, cats will not always love it when you attempt to groom them. That said, it’s always a good idea to stop what you’re doing when they are having a negative reaction to it. You can pick it up at a later time. Patience is key when trying to groom a cat.
Keep up with the routine until your cat becomes used to the idea of groom time.
What should the grooming session be like?
Brushing should be part of the grooming procedure, especially if you have a long-haired variety. And yes, even if they loathe the idea, it helps to give your cat a bath. Of course, while grooming your cat, it’s best to check their ears, teeth, paws and skin as well for signs of trouble.
Brushing removes not only dead hair and dirt, but also mats and tangles. Do this often but always be aware of not hurting your cat. In short, don’t force an untangling if it clearly causes your cat discomfort.
When you brush, go in the direction of where they hair lays. Exercise extreme care when working on their chest and belly.
If you have a short-haired cat:
- Use a fine-toothed metal comb. Start from the head and work your way down to the tip of the tail. Check if there are pepper-like specks present, as that could indicate fleas.
- Use a soft rubber brush to remove loose hair.
If you have a long-haired cat:
- Use a wide-toothed comb. This is to remove any debris that may be within the coat of your cat. Make sure to untangle any knot carefully.
- Use a wire brush to remove loose hair.
- Use a toothbrush around the face.
A short-haired cat will need brushing at least twice a week while a long-haired cat will need daily brushing.
A cat’s idea of bathing is licking. However, that may not be enough in the long run, as cat’s coats tend to get sticky or way too dirty and you’ll need to step in to help. Since cats are notorious for disliking water, here are ways to make bath time flow smoothly:
- Make sure the water temperature is just right – not too cold and not too hot.
- Use shampoo made for cats.
- Bathe them in a sink or tub with about three to four inches of water.
- Use a spray hose to wet the body of the cat. If you don’t have one, a pitcher will do, but make sure to use a plastic one or one that doesn’t break.
- Start shampooing from the head and then work your way down.
- Rinse thoroughly by making sure all the shampoo is gone.
- Dry your cat with a towel.
- Nail care. Make sure to clip a cat’s nails before bath time.
- Dental care. Brush their teeth regularly and check for problems as well.
- Eye care. Check the eyes for any signs of crust, tearing or cloudiness. If you notice anything wrong, have a vet check it as soon as possible.
- Ear care. Check for wax and other debris regularly.
Cats are generally neat animals, but you need to step in and make sure they remain healthy all throughout their lifetime.