Unlike their canine cousins, cats are pretty talented when it comes to keeping themselves looking good – in fact, some cats seem to love nothing more than spending every waking hour preening and plucking to perfection. But while our feline friends are known for their self-cleaning prowess, they still need a little bit of grooming help from time to time to ensure that their fur is always at its best.
Grooming your cat can actually be quite an enjoyable experience for you and your furry friend, offering some quality bonding time your kitty will love. So read on for our rundown of some cat grooming basics and how to make sure your grooming sessions will have your cat purring happily.
What do I need to groom my cat?
The first item on any list of cat grooming essentials is a brush. Regular brushing gets rid of dead hair and all sorts of other debris from your cat’s fur, plus it also makes sure knots and tangles don’t get a chance to form. A natural-bristle or rubber brush will do the trick for short-haired cats, while long-haired breeds need a wire-bristle brush.
Before you put your brush into action, however, it’s usually best to start the grooming process with a comb. If your cat has short hair, you’ll need a fine-toothed metal comb to run through their hair before you brush. Long-haired cats, on the other hand, can benefit from a wide-toothed comb which can be carefully used to work out any knots. There are also special cat grooming brushes called deshedding tools, and they can be very handy when it comes to preventing matts and tangles.
Next on the cat grooming products list is a pair of nail clippers or nail scissors specifically designed for cats. You’ll probably find it takes a while for your cat to approach nail clipping with any enthusiasm, so introduce your kitty to the process slowly and gently. Clip the white tip only and be very careful to stay away from the quick.
Another important part of grooming your cat is looking after their dental hygiene. It’s thought that up to 85 per cent of cats suffer from some form of dental disease by the time they reach three years of age, so looking after your kitty’s oral health is very important. There are special pet toothpastes (human toothpaste isn’t a good idea) and toothbrushes available to keep those pearly whites in tip-top condition.
The final basic grooming job for cat owners is the dreaded bath time. Even though cats clean themselves, every now and then a bath is the only thing that will remove the dirt, yuckiness or unpleasant odour from their coat. Before you tackle bath time with your kitty, make sure you have a shampoo specifically designed for use on cats. It’s also worth pointing out that many cats have a strong fear of water, so bath time is best approached slowly, gently and with a whole lot of patience.
Cat grooming tips
- Start with your kitten. Cats need to be slowly introduced to the process of grooming, not just thrown in the deep end. Get your feline used to being groomed from a young age and she’ll soon grow to love it.
- Keep it short, sweet and fun. You’ll have the most success grooming your cat when she is calm, content and generally in a good mood. You don’t have to devote hour after hour to grooming — your cat will quickly get bored and antsy — so sessions of five or 10 minutes are a great place to start. Interspersing the grooming with brief bursts of play can also keep young kittens interested and amused.
- Be gentle. Brush softly, use water at a suitable temperature and don’t force your kitty into any uncomfortable positions. Ignore these tips and you can expect to get scratched.
- Get professional help. If you don’t have the time or the know-how to keep your cat looking her best, don’t hesitate to take her to a professional groomer. Groomers know everything there is to know about cat coat care, not to mention how to properly handle cats that hate being groomed, so save yourself the stress and ask the experts for help.
If you follow these handy cat grooming tips, your kitty will look and feel like a million bucks before you know it.