Cats already do a great job of grooming themselves. But this doesn’t mean that they do not require additional grooming from their parents. However, before you take on cat grooming at home, there are some facts, tools, and tips that you will need to equip yourself with in other to get results similar to that of a professional groomer.
Start Them Young
Kittens are generally more accepting of grooming since mother cats tend to groom their young- so the feeling is familiar. When you start grooming your cat from an early age, it becomes easier for them to get used to being held and touched by you. Obviously, handling your older cats more frequently can also help them get used to grooming but starting young is always better.
Comb/brush Strategically to Prevent Matting
Regardless of the length of your cat’s coat, it is crucial that you brush/comb their fur regularly to prevent matting which can lead to irritation and infections. Ideally, brushing should be done for at least 6 minutes daily but if you can’t, doing it at least 3 times a week is okay. While brushing, you can offer your cat treats to get them to relax more.
Combing can be quite tricky for cats with longer fur, especially since their furs are prone to matting. Use smaller combs for areas around their head, paws, and legs. As for other parts of their body like the belly, tail, and chest, a wide metal comb is better.
Use brushes for short-haired cats. Bear in mind that short-haired cats tend to be heavy shedders, so a brush that works well to attract loose, dead hair is recommended.
Knowing the right comb or brush to use for your cat’s specific coat will make your grooming session easier and keep your cat comfortable.
Know the Right Time for a Bath
Cats don’t need to be bathed every day so before you give your cat a bath, ask yourself if they really need it. Also, not all cats need to be bathed. Hairless cats for example require a bath because of how oil tends to build up on their skin. Your cat may also require a bath if they’ve gotten into something smelly, sticky, or toxic. A cat’s diet will also have a big effect on the quality of its fur so it is important that they get all the food that they need, you can find this sort of information on Mellowed Cats.
During bathing, you will need the right shampoo, cat treats (so your cat hopefully doesn’t hate you) and lots of patience. Alternatively, you can use cat grooming wipes instead of a full-on bath.
Trimming Their Nails
Do not de-claw your cat. Trimming their nails regularly can help prevent ingrown nails (especially with senior cats) and keep scratching at a minimum. The trimming should be done with a nail trimmer that you feel is more comfortable for your cat. Have some cornstarch or styptic powder in hand just in case you accidentally clip your cats quickly, and they start to bleed. If it is your first time trimming your cat’s nails, try to go slow and only trim when your cat is in a calm mood.
A helpful tip is to let your cat get used to having its toes touched. Do this by gently pushing the pad and top of the toe to extend the nail and quickly release it. Ensure to give your cat lots of treats and breaks while trimming to keep them calm.
Don’t Forget the Ears
Although this doesn’t need to be done regularly, it is still important. Cleaning your cat’s ears usually depends on their current condition and some cats need more cleaning than others. Unless you notice your cat’s ears becoming dirty or filled with wax and debris, a simple non-invasive cleaning with cat ear cleaner twice a month is enough. While cleaning, try to only wipe what you can see (the outer ear) and avoid cleaning inside the ear canal as you could end up causing damage.
If you notice a build-up of ear wax within a short period of time or any redness and frequent head scratching or shaking, then you need to visit a vet to rule out ear mites or infections.
Grooming cat at home takes a lot of patience and understanding of your cat’s moods. You need to be gentle and take lots of breaks until your cat can warm up to the idea of being groomed. Once your cat is more comfortable, you can then proceed to establish a regular grooming schedule
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