Tips for Grooming Your Cat
Want to keep kitty pretty? Then you’d better whip out that brush now and then. Click through our photo gallery and follow this simple guide.
Don’t Cats Clean Themselves?
Cats are naturally clean animals, but they still need a little help now and then. Grooming your cat or kitten often will both keep her coat tidy and allow you to check for parasites and health problems. It’s important to start grooming your kitten from a young age to ensure she gets used to it – regular cleaning can serve as a bonding experience for cat and owner, and many felines learn to enjoy the sensation of being brushed.
What Grooming Equipment Do I Need?
Different types of cats have different grooming needs. Longhairs and semi-longhairs need several pieces of equipment: a wide-toothed brush to get rid of tangles, a finer brush or comb for the undercoat, and an unused toothbrush for sensitive facial areas. Scissors should have rounded ends to avoid injury if your cat moves suddenly.
Shorthairs require a basic bristle brush, as well as a cloth like chamois, velvet, or silk to shine the coat after brushing. The unique coats of Devon and Cornish Rexes need tender care with a soft brush.
When and How Should I Groom?
All cats should be groomed at least once a week. Being gentle is crucial: Hold your cat firmly but not too hard. To get your cat comfortable, always start with her less-sensitive parts, like her back, and end with sensitive parts, like the tail and genital areas. With longhairs and semi-longhairs, pay attention to areas that easily become matted, like the belly and tail. If you’re using a metal comb, be careful and don’t drag it through your cat’s fur to remove tangles. Check your cat’s rear end for soiling, and if necessary clean it up with damp cotton balls. Do the same between her toes in case they’re clogged with damp litter. Groom your kitten more frequently in the spring and fall – her molting periods – to avoid hairballs and excess shedding.
Flat-faced cats often have tear stains on the inner corners of their eyes, since fluid doesn’t drain properly from their tear ducts. Wipe the stains away with a cotton ball moistened with water or baby oil, using a different ball for each eye. Dry with another ball or tissue, but never touch the eyeball itself.
Many veterinarians caution owners not to clean cats’ ears at all, as they are very delicate. But if you really think it’s necessary, lightly wipe the very outer ear parts with a cotton ball dampened with baby oil. Never put the ball directly into the cat’s ear. Notify your vet if your cat’s ears are red or seem to have a lot of wax.
Indoor cats often don’t wear down their claws naturally, so if necessary buy guillotine-style claw clippers. Be careful not to cut the claw’s blood vessel, which is visible as a skinny red strip inside the claw.