Compared to dogs and many other pets out there, cats are pretty good at keeping themselves clean. You’ll often find them licking their fur and most of them will avoid muddy puddles and sticky situation. So why do cats need grooming then? Cat grooming isn’t just about making them look pretty or getting them ready for pictures, it can play a big role in their health as is vital to their general wellbeing.
What is cat grooming?
Feline grooming is when you look after your cat’s external appearance. This can be for aesthetics, but is mainly to keep them happy and healthy. For many, cat hair grooming is their main focus, with keeping their fur tangle-free and clean being their full grooming routine. Grooming can be more than just their coat though, and also involves their skin, eyes, teeth and nails. For this reasons, there are many different ways to groom a cat, but it really depends on their specific needs.
Why groom your cat?
Just like when our body is dirty it can feel horrible and lead to infections, discomfort and irritation, an ungroomed cat can feel the same. Cat grooming can keep their body healthy and is a great way to prevent any issues; brushing their fur on a daily basis can prevent knots and matted areas, brushing their teeth maintains their oral hygiene and giving them a bath can wash away dead skin and stop bugs and pests. It is also a great chance to regularly check them for lumps, scratches, cuts or infections and deal with them before they get serious. In addition to the many physical benefits of grooming, it can also be good emotionally. Grooming your cat builds a vital bond and shows them that you love and care.
Cat grooming should be done from as early as possible, so giving your kitten a brush can be a great way to not only look after their fur but get them used to it from a young age. Kitten grooming may be more difficult, especially if it’s their first time, as they may find it stressful or scary as they don’t understand what is happening. This is why you need to start out slowly and introduce them to the different tools and products in a way that makes them feel happy and relaxed. Make sure to also give them lots of praise and treats to reinforce good behaviour during grooming and this will set you up perfectly for looking after them in the future.
Cat grooming at home
If you’re on a bit of a budget, cat grooming at home is a great way to save some money. It can also save time and help you strengthen that special bond with your furry friend. Home cat grooming may seem a bit daunting at first if you’ve never done it before, but with the right tools, products and a bit of practice, you’ll be a pro in no time!
Brushing your cat’s fur
Cat hair grooming can be a daily task for many pet parents, but it doesn’t have to be a chore! Make sure that they feel calm and happy and that you have the right brushes for their hair types. Starting from the head, brush down their full body, making sure you go over all their fur. If you come across stubborn knots or matting that won’t easily brush out, try teasing them with your fingers. If that doesn’t work, you can try a detangler spray or using a cat conditioner or other grooming products for cats fur.
Giving your cat a bath
Giving a cat bath is not usually an easy task, so the key is speed and efficiency. Some useful tips for making cat cleaning a bit easier and giving a simple cat bath include getting everything prepped and ready, using specific cat-friendly shampoo and conditioner and having lots of treats to keep them in the tub for as long as possible. Make sure you are also using lukewarm water and that there isn’t too much in the tub that they can easily stand or slip over.
Clipping your cat's nails
Cat’s nails grow just like ours do, so if they aren’t kept well, they can cause a lot a scratching and can even curl back into their paws which can lead to pain and difficulty walking. But how do you know if your cat’s nails need clipping? If you hear then tapping on the ground when they’re walking, this means they need a trim. Take a small pair of scissors or specific pet grooming scissors and carefully cut off the end of their nails. Ensure you are only cutting the white part though, as the pink is where the blood vessels are and this can hurt your furry friend.
Brushing your cat’s teeth
Cat oral hygiene is critical to their overall health and wellbeing, so keeping their teeth clean and free from food is extremely important. Brush every few days with a clean toothbrush, or use a cat toothpaste. These are great for pets as their formulas are safe if they swallow it. Cleaning your cat’s teeth also has the added benefit of freshening their breath, which is great for those smellier felines!
How often should I groom my cat?
There is not necessarily a set time to groom your cat as it really depends on what they need. For each part of grooming however, there is a recommendation for how often they should be done, but remember each cat is different so what works for one may not always work for another! Brushing really depends on how long their fur is and how likely it is to get tangled and dirty. It also depends on if your cat spends most of its time indoors or outside and if they have a tendency to get messy!
Professional cat grooming
If you don’t feel up for trying cat grooming at home, or don’t have the time, taking them to a professional groomer can be a great solution. These can offer a range of grooming services, from hair cutting to bathing, so check with your local to see what they can do for your cat, and if there isn’t one near you, look for mobile cat grooming salons. They may also offer kitten grooming, which can be a great way to introduce your little friend to grooming so that you can the take over at home as they get older.
Overall, however you choose to groom your cat, be it at home or with a professional, making sure they’re well-groomed plays a big part in their overall health and wellbeing. Cat cleaning doesn’t have to be a scary thing, just make sure you have all the tools, products and knowledge you need and with time both you and your cat will gain confidence. Plus, you never know, cat grooming could turn out to be an activity you both enjoy!