Grooming your Cat

Why is it important to groom your cat?

As part of taking care of a cat, it is important that they are regularly groomed, not only is this a way of looking good but it has health benefits as well. Grooming can assist with keeping the cat’s skin and hair in a good condition by removing dead and shedding hairs. This also reduces the amount of hair deposited on the furniture and carpets. Shedding cannot be stopped but it can be controlled. It’s important that long and dense haired cats are groomed regularly to stop their coats getting tangled and matted. By removing shedding hair, it stimulates the skin to allow natural protective oils within the hair structure to circulate. Skin denied air circulation and stimulation from brushing becomes unhealthy so the skin may become red and sore. Shedding is affected by many factors including the breed of cat, the season, diet, health and the home environment.

Grooming is an opportunity for the owner and the cat to bond. It is also a good chance to inspect your cat’s coat so any problems that are found can be attended to. For example this is when you may find fleas, flea dirts, lumps or anything that is causing discomfort.

 

Introducing your cat to grooming

Grooming should be introduced to your cat (including short haired cats) at a young age to get them used to being handled and to get used to the feel of a brush or comb against their skin. To begin with, a grooming session should only last a few minutes and then gradually build it up as the cat adjusts to it. A session should always end in a positive way. In particular when taking care of a cat with long hair, owners should try and spend time grooming in the early stages of the kitten’s life so they adjust and are easier to groom in later years. The experience should be a pleasurable one where the cat is praised (a few treats or toys while the cat is being introduced to grooming may prove useful for this).  

Routine grooming should be a daily part of taking care of a cat. If a cat has not become accustomed to it from a young age and dislikes it, the coat can become very matted, which is uncomfortable or even painful from the pulling of the hair against the skin. Factors that contribute to a matted coat include neglect, incorrect grooming, behaviour of the cat and bathing them without removing hair shed first. If a cat really objects to being groomed conscious, in some cases a veterinary surgeon may need to sedate the cat and a veterinary nurse to de-matt them. In these situations it is possible that a large amount of hair would need to be shaved away. Sometimes when the coat is very matted it would be unkind to do this while they are conscious. Cat’s skin is paper -ike so pulling combs and brushes through matted fur can cause the skin to tear. It is also not feasible to cut matts with scissors when they are so close to the skin.

 

Available Grooming Tools

There are various brushes and combs on the market so it can be overwhelming to an owner knowing whichone is the best to use for their particular cat. Here are a few examples of brushes on the market:

 FURminator

This is a good grooming tool to use to quickly and easily remove loose hair in a long or short haired cat. This will help to reduce shedding and to promote a healthy looking skin and coat. It is also beneficial to help eliminate hairballs in cats.

 

Zoom Groom

A Zoom Groom is flexible and has an easy-grip brush which grooms your cat to remove any loose hair and reduces shedding. It can also be used to help bathe your cat by applying shampoo to the Zoom Groom; it is possible to glide it through your cat’s wet hair in a circular motion. Then simply rinse away the shampoo.

 

Clipping Claws

Also as part of taking care of a cat, it’s important that their claws are checked regularly. In an average healthy cat their claws will wear naturally from everyday use or from the use of a scratching post. However in some situations when your cat gets older or through various illnesses, cat’s claws can become weak and brittle and would require attention. In particular the dew claw that is not being naturally worn down may require more frequent clipping than the others. When claws overgrow it can lead to immobility to such an extent that it prevents or restricts the cat’s natural gait. In some cases the claws can be so long that they curl and begins to grow into the foot pad. This will definitely cause pain and discomfort.

 

A veterinary nurse is able to clip your cat’s claws or it is something that an owner could do at home. Nails Clippers are available to buy in various sizes, a smaller pair would be ideal for a cat.  To do this yourself at home, your cat would need to be sitting comfortably and restrained (it may be better to do this with two people). To clip a claw it would need to be retracted by gently pressing on the pad to expose it. Clip only below the quick; this is the blood supply to the claw, if you accidently clip this, it will bleed and would be painful for the cat. An animal that has experienced pain during claw clipping is more likely to be uncooperative in the future. If you are unsure it is better to make a few smaller cuts than to make one large cut that causes pain.

 

Grooming is an important part of taking care of your cat. The overall benefits are definitely worthwhile for appearance and the health of your cat. Starting from an early age can make the experience a whole lot better and enjoyable for yourself and your cat.  

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