How To Groom Your Cat Properly?
Most cats take real pride in their appearance, spending almost half their waking hours preening themselves to perfection. Being independent creatures, cats are keen to look after themselves, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lend a hand in their pampering routine. Grooming your cat plays a big part in caring for your pet and regular maintenance will mean your cat looks great and feels great too!
As well as helping to keep your cat looking beautiful, regular cat grooming allows you to spend quality time bonding with your pet, and gives you the opportunity to check their body condition and spot any unusual signs of health problems, such as lumps or bumps.
Cat grooming might seem superficial, but while your cat is beautifying themselves or being brushed by you, they enjoy other benefits too:
Circulation is stimulated
Muscle tone is improved
Fur is smoothed down for better insulation
Glands at the base of the coat are stimulated to waterproof the fur
Sebum is spread evenly which helps to waterproof and protect the coat and skin
In hot weather, the saliva they spread during grooming helps to keep your cat cool
If your cat has ever tried to show their affection with a fond lick, you’ll know that they have rough tongues. This is because their tongues are covered in lots of tiny bristles, which help them to comb out dirt and loose fur from their coats - much like the hairbrushes that we use. As cats use their mouths a lot during grooming, they often swallow strands of hair during the process. This can cause them to cough up fur balls – this is quite normal, so don’t worry. You can help to reduce the amount of fur they shed, and therefore minimise fur balls, by helping your cat with their grooming with a gentle brush. Most short haired cats are very good at grooming themselves – longer haired cats will need a little bit of extra assistance when cat grooming. After all, they have a lot of fur to clean, so may miss a spot!
When you should help to groom your cat Try to start grooming your cat from an early age so that it becomes a normal part of their routine. Curious kittens can also find themselves in sticky situations, so you may find yourself having to help your little one clean up! As they age, cats can get stiff so they might not be able to easily reach to clean some areas. Therefore regular cat grooming is an important part of your caring routine throughout the whole of your cats’ life. Grooming a cat from their younger years allows you to build a strong bond through physical contact, and create a shared level of trust between both of you. As shorthaired cats are quite capable of grooming themselves, a brief brush once a week should be enough to spend time with them whilst maintaining their coat, while longhaired cats will benefit from a cat brush once a day to avoid matting, knots and excessive fur ball build up. Matting can be very uncomfortable and even painful for cats, so your help will definitely be appreciated – even if they don’t show it at the time!
For shorthaired cats, use a fine-toothed metal comb once a week to remove knots or tangles. Use a natural-bristle or rubber cat brush to remove any loose hairs.
Gently brush or comb your cat's hair, using strokes in the direction that their hair grows.
Use the bristly cat brush to sweep up the coat in the direction of the head, and then smooth it down again.
For longhaired cat grooming, brush daily with a steel comb.
Any knots can be teased out with your fingers, using a damp cloth if necessary. Never use scissors, as there’s a risk your cat could move and end up with a nasty nick in their skin. If there’s a particularly bad knot or many knots, ask your vet to help you.
If cat grooming is a struggle, try offering food treats, gentle strokes and soothing words. As your cat is calmed and distracted by their reward and additional attention, gently start to groom them.
During cat grooming, seize the opportunity to give them a general once-over and check that their teeth, eyes, ears and gums are all in good health, but if your cat gets stressed out during grooming it’s probably time to take a break.