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What is Cat Grooming?
Most cats spend approximately 10% of their day grooming themselves. While this is usually a natural process that most cats are fairly good at, all cats can benefit from a little additional help and TLC from their owners to promote health and prevent smells. In fact, most cats come to enjoy regular grooming and cleaning routines and it can help to strengthen the bond between you and your cat.
Remember to keep bathing and grooming an enjoyable experience and approach your cat when he is relaxed and content. You may want to start off with short grooming sessions between 5 – 10 min and gradually lengthen this as your cat gets used to it.
Brushing and combing
The first step in grooming your cat is brushing and combing. Regular brushing helps to reduce shedding and decreases the chances of your cat getting fur balls. It also helps to distribute the natural oils throughout the coat, prevents matted hair and leaves your cat’s coat looking shiny and beautiful.
The amount of brushing your cat will need is usually based on hair length. Long haired breeds often need to be brushed daily or at least every second day, while shorter haired cats may only need a brush once every week. Chose a brush that best suits your cat’s fur and when brushing, be gentle and soothing, especially when brushing sensitive areas such as the belly, back legs and tail.
When cat’s nails grow too long, they can start to curve and actually grow into the paw. This painful condition is easily prevented with regular nail trims. Remember though, that your cat relies on his claws to be able to defend himself and to escape danger by climbing, and for this reason his claws should never be cut too short. Get your cat accustomed to having his paws touched and rubbed before attempting to clip his nails.
Once he’s used to the feeling start by applying gentle pressure at the top of each toe to get the claws to extend. Use a pair of sharp nail clippers or scissors to cut the tip off each claw, while being very cautious not to clip the nail quick (the pink area of the nail). If you have any doubt about the process, ask your vet to demonstrate how to do it at your pet’s next check-up.
Many cats require a good face wash to prevent gummy eyes or recurrent feline acne. Do this by using a soft face cloth or cotton ball dipped in a little warm water and hold your cat’s head while you gently wipe down problem areas. You may need to wet the eye area and wait for the gluey tear-stains to soften before wiping the eyes again.
Some cats require the occasional bath, particularly long-haired cats. Cat bathing can be a tricky task, but will leave your cat feeling much cleaner and fresher. Try gradually introducing your cat to water from a young age so the experience is not a traumatic one.
Help for Cat Grooming
When bathing your cat, it is important to use a shampoo specifically formulated for cats that is natural and free of harsh chemicals and artificial perfumes. There are various herbal ingredients that can help making your cat’s bath a pleasant experience. One beneficial cleaning herb is catnip as this herb is often a firm favorite with cats.
More Information on Cat Grooming
Tips for grooming cats
- Never use human shampoo on your cat as they can cause skin irritation and damage your cat’s coat. Human shampoos contain harsh detergents and are not the correct pH level for cats. Rather opt for a natural shampoo formulated specifically for cats.
- Start bathing your cat from a very young age so that they get used to the process and become comfortable with water. Most kittens have a strong instinctive aversion to water so you may need to persevere a few times before they become accustomed to the feeling.
- While grooming your cat, take the opportunity to examine your feline friend for any fleas, raw areas, lumps, bumps or bites that so often go unnoticed under all that fur.
- Make grooming enjoyable. Most cats love the attention and enjoy being stroked. Start each grooming session with some loving strokes and break up the brushing sessions with some extra love and affection if your cat gets impatient quickly.
- Most owners have to gently restrain their cats during grooming, but keep your cat’s comfort levels in mind. Don’t make them sit or lie in an uncomfortable position for long periods and be sensitive to their discomfort.
- Know when to stop. Some cats dislike grooming sessions and become impatient with the process quite quickly. Rather stop and pick it up again after they’ve had time to cool off, than face an uphill battle of wills that ends in distrust and frustration for both of you.