Cats can be tricky to groom and there are fewer groomers for our feline friends than out cat companions. Here are some cat grooming tips from petcare.com.au…
Why Cats Groom
Cat’s naturally love to groom themselves. If you were to observe a group of kittens you would see that kittens will tend to groom each other. There are a few reasons why cats groom themselves:
- Grooming helps cool them down
- Grooming stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles
- Grooming helps get rid of dirt & odour
- Grooming is relaxing!
Here are our top cat grooming tips that will ensure your precious kitty maintains their beautiful coat.
Tip #1 Start Young
Did you know that the socialisation period for kittens is normally 2 to 14 weeks of age? During this period, animal behaviourists highly recommends that owners introduce their kitten to as many sites, sounds, places, people and other pets. This is during the socialisation period kitten’s are constantly learning more & more about their environment.
So, what does this mean? Early socialisation and introduction of new routines will ensure your kitty remains friendly throughout adulthood.
It’s highly recommended that you start the grooming “routine” while your cat is young. Introduce your kitten to routine treatments such as regularly brushing their coat, brushing their teeth often, trimming their nails, cleaning their ears, cleaning their eyes & …bathing them!
The sooner you get your kitty used to the grooming routine and handling then it’s much more likely that they will enjoy all their future grooming sessions.
Tip #2 Positive Reinforcement Is Key
Trying to get an adult cat used to handling & grooming?
Positive reinforcement is perhaps the most famous training method used by many animal trainers today. Essentially, if you want a favourable behaviour to keep occurring you will need to reward your kitty to strengthen the response.
For example, every time you brush your cat’s coat, reward with her favourite treat or a rub! Eventually, he will learn to associate grooming as a positive experience.
Tip #3 Pick the right brush for your kitty!
Our kitties come in all different shapes, sizes and fur coats!
Slicker brush: If you’ve got a kitty with medium to long haired coats then you’re going to want to get a slicker brush.
A slicker brush tends to be curved and has thin, hard pins that will remove things like excessive dirt & loose hair. As an added benefit when you groom your kitty on a regular basis a slicker brush will prevent the formation of matts.
Metal combs: These are the kind of combs whose teeth are spread far apart. These combs are an ideal choice for those kitties who have long, dense fur coats. So, if you’ve got yourself a Maine Coon or a Norwegian forest cat then this comb is perfect for you!
Bristle brush: These brushes have soft bristles that are really meant to smooth down your cat’s coat and redistribute any skin oils. These brushes can be used on any coat type including those hairless kitties (i.e. Sphynx cat).
Tip #4 Know When To Bathe Your Cat
When it comes to bathing your cat many pet owners may be put off by this “dangerous” task. The good news is that most short-haired kitties don’t actually require much bathing.
When Should I Bathe My Cat?
Frequent bathing can disrupt your cat’s natural pH and oils present on their skin. You should only bathe your cat if:
- He’s got a fungus problem like ringworm
- He’s got a flea & tick infestation
- He’s gotten stinky & dirty
- He’s been rolling away in mess
- He’s obese or has arthritis (these kitties may have a hard time self-grooming)
- He’s a special hairless breed.
Tip #5 Cat Grooming Includes Dental Care!
Did you know our cats’ teeth and dental care is perhaps the most neglected grooming procedure? feline dental disease has become a growing problem among veterinarians. Cats who don’t have proper teeth cleaning routine may be prone to diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis and tooth resorption. So, as pet owners, it’s important that we start brushing our kitties teeth on a regular basis.
So, how often do you need to brush your cat’s teeth? Ideally, you should brush your cat’s teeth once a day. However, sometimes pet owners may simply not be able to do this daily. In such a situation, you can get away with brushing your cat’s teeth 3 times a week.
Tip #6 Don’t Forget Ears and Nails
Because cats have upright ears they may very rarely require ear cleaning. However, certain cat breeds like the Scottish Fold tend to have naturally folded ears. So, chances are they’re going to require frequent ear cleaning in order to prevent wax build up.
How Do I Clean My Cats Ears?
Pet owners often have a fear of cleaning their cat’s ears because of the possibility of rupturing the eardrum. Here we’ve created a simple, step-by-step process on how to properly clean your kitties’ ears at home.
1. Purchase the appropriate cat-friendly ear cleaner.
2. Gently pour the cleaning solution into your cats’ ear canal (enough to fill it but not too much so it overflows).
3. Gently massage your cat’s ear canal, allowing the solution to work its magic!
4. Use a cotton ball to clean your cat’s external ear & carefully clean his inner ear.
5. Your kitty will naturally shake off any excess liquid that may be in his ear. Do not place any cotton swab or cotton balls deep into the ear canal as this could damage your cats hearing.
What About Those Beautiful Claws?
Cat’s who choose to live a more sedentary may require their nails to be trimmed every 4 to 6 weeks. Cat’s whose nails that aren’t trimmed as often may be at risk of developing ingrown (overgrown) claws which can cut into the paw pad itself. This becomes a welfare issue and in many cases may require surgical intervention.
So, our cat grooming top 2 tips for dealing with cats claws include:
- Tip 1 Trim on a regular basis
- Tip 2 Provide your cat scratching posts as this will gradually dull down long nails.
Tip # 7 Consider Your Cat’s Individual Breed Needs
Every cat is different and so every cat will require a slightly different grooming routine. So, it’s important to take into consideration your cats breeds, health status, and age when it comes to grooming.
Here we’ve listed a few examples of how the breed can play an important role when it comes to grooming.
The Persians, Himalayans & other flat-faced cat breeds
These lovely pedigree kitties are often prone to tear stains. Tear stains can often leave the fur around your cat’s eyes red. So, if you own any of these pedigree cats you may have to invest some time in cleaning their eyes.
The American Curl & Scottish Fold
These loveable felines have a naturally occurring mutation that results in a deformed ear cartilage. As a result, they may require regular ear cleaning compared to other cats.
The Ragamuffin, Siberian, Norwegian Forest Cat & Maine Coon
These beautiful cats often have dense, thick, long fur coats. Most often, these are the cat breeds that tend to shed a lot more than average and may also be prone to matting. So, these are the special kitties that will need to be brushed daily in order to keep their coat matt free!
The Ocicat, Domestic Shorthair, and American Shorthair
These cat breeds have short, sleek coats. This means that they actually require very little brushing and bathing
Sphynx and other hairless cats!
Now you might be thinking that hairless cats are “low-maintenance”. Believe it or not, hairless cats such as the Sphynx actually require frequent bathing, so bathe them once every month. This is because these kitties tend to have very sensitive skin that can pick up dirt and oils.
Our cats clean themselves 50% of the day, so for the most part they won’t require regular bathing. However, cat grooming is still a very important routine pet owners must get into the habit of in order to ensure their cat’s coat remains pawesome!
Got a question about cat grooming? Do you have some pawsome cat grooming tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!
About the author: