Whilst we all recognise that cats are one of the most clean-conscious animals in the kingdom, they can all benefit from a bit of human help from time to time. In essence, grooming helps to remove dead skin/fur and will provide you with the perfect opportunity to keep a close eye on your cat’s body shape and coat condition.
When Should I Start Grooming My Cat?
It is best to establish a grooming routine when a cat is young, although a cat of any age can be introduced to this. As with any new activity that is brought into a cat’s life, some encouragement and positive reinforcement are required at the start of the process to show your cat that this should be an enjoyable activity.
As a rule of thumb, we would suggest the following for long and short-haired cats:
For short-haired cats, brush once or twice per week from head to tail with a fine-toothed brush.
Long-haired cats will need more frequent brushing. We recommend starting the session with a wide-tooth brush so you can work on untangling any knots or matted fur. Always follow the direction that the hair naturally flows and spend more time on those areas that might be difficult to reach. This includes the chest, the abdomen, behind the ears, their back legs and in their armpits. These are the spots where knots tend to form the most. Once the fur has been untangled and is flowing freely, spend the final part of the session with a fine-toothed brush to get the fur as clean as possible. We would suggest three to four sessions per week for long-haired cats.
Grooming sessions should be short but regular. 5 – 10 minutes per session should be plenty of time to enable you to reach all the places you need! Some cats can find grooming to be an uncomfortable and invasive experience, so if there are any noticeable signs of irritation or anger then you should end the session early.
What If I Can’t Work Out All Of The Knots?
If a cat’s fur becomes too tangled or matted for you to deal with without causing harm, then you will need to visit a professional groomer to get the knots out. If left untreated, this problem will only get worse and the discomfort more pronounced. Never cut a matted patch of fur with scissors as this will damage the underlying coat which will take a long time to regenerate into a natural state.
Is There Anything Else To Look Out For?
It is vital to ensure that you never cut or trim your cat’s whiskers. As we have dealt with in a previous blog post, whiskers are an important part of a cat’s anatomy and need to be left alone.
Why Else Should I Groom My Cat?
An added benefit that often isn’t talked about with grooming is that it will give you the perfect opportunity to keep a close eye on your cat’s health. If grooming becomes a weekly routine, you will be able to notice any changes in your cat’s body shape, as well as look for any obvious signs of physical decline (such as bald patches, sore patches or wounds). The condition of your cat’s skin is often a good indicator of their overall health, so keeping a close eye on this is paramount. Grooming will also help to strengthen the bond that you have with your cat and bring a never-ending source of purring! What else do you need?!
It goes without saying that grooming will also help you to keep in control of fur in the house. There are few sights more off-putting than a giant fur-ball in the middle of a brand-new carpet, so regular grooming sessions will keep these instances to an absolute minimum.
Lastly, no matter how much you might groom your cat, every cat will go through a period of shedding. Shedding varies depending on the breed and whether they are an indoor-only cat, but this is an entirely natural process that no amount of grooming will prevent. You will notice an increased amount of dead hair during this phase but the quicker that you can help remove this, the more comfort your cat will be in.