Cats are Self-Grooming, But They Still Need a Hand

shutterstock_171941042Many people enjoy cats not only because they are fascinating, affectionate creatures, but because they are relatively low-maintenance. Cats often don’t need to be taught to use the litterbox, and unlike dogs, don’t need extensive grooming. However, the key word in that sentence is “extensive,” because it is a myth that felines don’t need to be groomed at all.  All cats, especially long-haired varieties, need regular brushing, cleaning and nail clipping. One main difference between cats and dogs is that cats usually don’t require shampooing and tend to dislike water, but if for some reason your cat isn’t cleaning itself effectively due to a medical condition, such as arthritis, or if the cat has something sticky spilled on it, the cat will need a bath. Most cats, however, can bathe themselves, but do require brushing every day or at least several times a week.

Chances are, you enjoy petting your cat because it is enjoyable. Not only is petting your cat good for you, but it is your kitty’s favorite form of regular grooming and is obviously great for socialization and emotional health of both the cat and the owner. Petting your cat helps distribute the oils and gives your pet’s coat a shiny, smooth look. When you pet your cat, remember areas such as the ears, the tail, and the feet. While you pet your cat, examine the skin underneath, and be on the lookout for feline acne on the chin, irritation on the ears or other signs. Skin problems are common in cats, but often go unnoticed because they are hidden underneath fur, and that is why it is important to inspect your cat’s skin.

Long haired cats should be brushed on a daily basis, whereas short-haired cats can be brushed every few days. Your cat needs two kinds of tools, one a comb or brush with metal bristles and a smooth bristled brush or one made of rubber. Starting with the metal brush or comb, tease out any debris, tangles or excess hair. Be careful not to cause the cat discomfort when dealing with tangles. If you are brushing your cat correctly, you should be able to see some free hairs, that are removed. Once the loose hair has been removed, use a rubber or hair brush to smooth out the oils. Pay attention to the cat’s back, arms and belly.

If you need to bathe your cat because its coat has gotten sticky and oily, use a mild shampoo and try to make the experience as pleasant as possible for your cat by taking your time and easing your kitty through the process. Use a mild shampoo specially designed for cats. Regular nail clipping is needed for many cats and would eliminate the need for declawing in some cases. Many people are nervous about trimming their cat’s claws because they are afraid of accidentally cutting a vein within the nail. Be on the lookout for a pink section within the claw and avoid cutting it. If you do so accidentally, stop the bleeding with a cloth. Trimming nails can save your furniture and give you peace of mind if you have a cat that likes to use its claws.


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