How To Groom Your Cat
Cats are great groomers, but it’s a good idea for you to help out every once in a while. Getting into good grooming habits early will not only keep your cat looking and feeling its best, but will also be helpful for handling your cat in general. This will come in handy not only in future groomings, but when the need to give medication arises, or when another human (your vet or petsitter, for example) needs to hold your cat.
Before getting started, make sure it’s a good time for both of you. Making this a positive experience for your cat will make it that much easier the next time. Don’t groom your cat when you’re stressed out, angry, or in a generally bad mood. Pay attention to your cat, too! If the experience becomes too upsetting or difficult for either of you, stop, relax, do something fun and try again later.
Your grooming will be mostly be focused on your cat’s coat. The longer your cat’s coat, the more maintenance it will require. Some short haired cats will need monthly grooming, while longer haired cats might need it weekly. Cat coats require brushing, removal of mats, and bathing.
To brush your cat’s coat, start with a comb designed for the length of your cat’s hair. Brush slowly and gently from front to back. Cats are more sensitive near the back legs, tail and belly, so pay extra attention to be gentle in those areas. If you find mats of hair, you may be tempted to cut them out. Don’t, as you may end up cutting too much hair or your cat (especially if your cat is difficult to groom)! Use a matting brush and slowly brush the tangle out.
Bathing your cat can be tricky! If possible, start bathing as young as possible so your cat is comfortable with the procedure. Fill a bath with lukewarm water, gently place your cat in it and allow the coat to become soaked. Avoid getting water near the face as much as possible - cat eyes, ears and noses are very sensitive to soap and water! Drain, apply coat shampoo and scrub gently. Make sure to rinse your cat thoroughly. After rinsing, pat your cat dry and allow them to finish drying in a warm place. Cat dryers are readily available at most pet stores and can also be used. If your cat has long hair, it’s important to brush the coat as it dries to keep it from matting or tangling.
In addition to the coat, you’ll also need to pay attention to your cat’s eyes and ears. Many cats (especially short nosed cats) have a problem with eye matter accumulating in the corners of their eyes. Cleaning this area is important for your cat’s health and comfort. With a lukewarm soft washcloth or cotton pad, simply wipe the area around the eye gently until clean. Your cat’s ears will need to be gently cleaned with optic solution and a soft q-tip.
When done correctly, grooming can be a great bonding experience for you and your cat!