Although cats are meticulous cleaners, they will still need a hand from you. They tend to spend most of their time either sleeping or cleaning, so you may be wondering why they need your help when their whole body is being continuously licked clean. Grooming your cat is not only about keeping your feline looking good; it can also benefit your cat’s health. Regular grooming of your furry friend can play a major role in keeping their coat healthy as well as your cat’s skin. You are also helping prevent health issues related to digestion as it decreases the chances of your cat getting hairballs stuck inside them that can lead to all sorts of trouble. Through this action of grooming, you can also check their body for fleas and bumps while also strengthening the bond between you and your cat companion.
It is best to start grooming your cat from as young as possible in order for them to get used to the whole process. In saying this though, it is never too late to start. It is imperative that you don’t jump straight into grooming them completely as this is likely to end up with cuts and scratches all over your arms. Instead, slowly accustom your feline friend to a brush and the grooming process over an extended period of time – each day going for a little bit longer. The optimal grooming time is straight after dinner or when they are naturally relaxed as they are less likely to put up a fight. Start your grooming sessions for around 5-10 minutes each day, offering treats and praise as a reward for their good behaviour. If they begin to get upset or hostile, stop the grooming session and come back to it at another time.
Brushing your feline friend regularly not only removes dead hair and dirt, it also releases natural oils that keep their skin and coat healthy and shiny. Always brush your cat in the direction that the hair naturally lays while being extra cautious around the belly and chest areas as these are more sensitive. Your cat’s coat will not only determine what brush type you should be using, it will also determine the amount of brushing that you should be doing. Below is a guide to how many times you should be brushing your feline:
- Long-haired breeds will typically require brushing once a day to avoid mats and tangles in their fur.
- Short-haired cats can be brushed twice a week (which is plenty), depending on whether they are an indoor or outdoor cat.
It is common knowledge that most cats dislike water and would rather claw you then have a bath. However, if your cat enjoys getting dirty and muddy, sometimes it is the only option to give them a bath. Getting them used to the bath time is not an easy thing to do, although it is possible. This is a two person process and everything that you need should be set up beforehand – saving you from running to grab something mid-bath. Petplan’s guide to bath time is as follows:
- Pour warm water over their coat, trying not to irritate their eyes
- Gently rub in a soap-free shampoo while avoiding their face area (eyes, ears, mouth)
- Rinse off the soap gently and rub dry with a towel
- Reward their good behaviour with praise or treats so they can associate bath time with a pleasant experience
- Change the way your cat is facing from time to time during the process as this will make them re-plan their escape if they are thinking of making a break for it
- If they still can’t accept a bath, a warm and wet face washer is a good alternative
One on one time via grooming allows you to be able to know your cat back to front and analyse if anything has changed about their skin or general form. Running your hand through their fur gives you the chance to pick up on any bumps/lumps as well as being able to notice if their skin or coat has lost its shine. While you’re there you should regularly do a full check to make sure nothing has occurred to the cat that may need treatment. Check their ears, mouth, skin, coat, tail, and paws for anything out of the ordinary. If you are worried or concerned about anything that you have noticed, talk to your vet to get their opinion on the matter.
Compared to many other pets, cats are generally low maintenance. However, it is always important to groom them occasionally in order to keep them happy and healthy. Not all cats will need every type of grooming but they will all benefit from the occasional brush and tidy up.