As the animal and pet kingdom goes, cats are generally pretty clean. You’ll often find they split their day between sleeping, eating, being nosey and grooming. However, despite the amount of time they spend looking after themselves, there is always something you can do to help groom your cat and give them that little bit extra they deserve. This will not only keep them looking their best, but also means you can keep track of their health and wellbeing and give them the love and affection they deserve.
So what is cat grooming?
Grooming a cat can mean different things to each feline owner. Some think of it as just brushing their fur whilst others think of it as a thorough event with multiple steps. Cat grooming can include a number of different areas, including brushing their fur, giving them a bath, maintaining their oral hygiene and clipping their nails. There are also a number of ways you can keep your cat clean and healthy, so it’s all about finding the right one for you.
Why groom your cat?
Caring for your feline friend is so much more than just feeding them the right food and giving them a bit of love and attention. Cat grooming plays a major part in their health and wellbeing, and can have many great benefits. As a pet, cats aren’t like dogs in their behaviour and day to day habits; cats are generally free to roam around and see new places without being monitored, so you can have no idea where they have been all day. This means they can pick up all sorts of dirt and even fleas or ticks, so it is key to their health to make sure they’re regularly groomed so you can keep an eye on them.
Benefits of cat grooming
- Helps keep your cat's fur clean and healthy
- Prevents hairballs from forming
- Stimulates circulation
- Allows you to check for fleas and mites
- Allows you to track any health concerns
- Lets you show your cat some affection
- Gives some quality bonding time
How to start with cat grooming
If you’ve never groomed your cat before or if you’ve just welcomed a kitten into your home, then don’t go crazy and try to do everything at once. Give them some time to get used to the idea of you grooming them and make them feel comfortable. Choose a time to groom your cat when they are relaxed and calm, not when they’re scared or anxious and definitely not when they’re trying to eat or do their business. Perhaps wait until they’ve finished eating and have settled into a comfortable spot before you come in with a brush. Once you think your cat is ready for some grooming time, start off gently. Don’t drop them in the bath straight away, but instead try gently brushing for 5-10 minutes to ease them in. Make sure to keep talking and petting them during grooming as well to keep them happy and calm.
Grooming short haired cats vs long haired
Every cat is different and so has different grooming needs. Long haired cats will obviously need a lot more attention when it comes to their fur, as it can easily get matted, knotty and dirty. Grooming short haired cats, on the other hand, can be less work and it can be a lot easier to see any dirt or knots from just a glance. Either way, no matter what kind of fur your four-legged friend has, they still need to be groomed!
How to groom a cat with brushing
Cat brushing is great for your furry friend as it can help to keep their coat healthy and maintained. It can also remove any grease, dirt or dead hair that may be lingering to reveal the beautiful fur underneath. For short-haired cats, use a fine-toothed metal comb and run it through their fur from head to tail to remove any debris. After that, use a bristle cat brush or soft rubber brush to remove any loose hair.
For long-haired cats, use a wide-toothed cat grooming brush to remove dirt and untangle any knots. Then use a wire or bristle brush to remove excess hair. You can also try an unused and clean toothbrush to sort out the delicate and more intricate fur around their face. It’s generally advised to brush short haired breeds around 1-3 times a week and long-haired breeds daily, however it really depends on each specific cat and their needs. You know your cat the best so do what you think is right for them.
When brushing any kind of cat's fur, make sure to brush in the direction that their hair naturally lays, not against it. Make sure as well that you are extra gentle around the eyes and face as well as the belly and chest. If your feline companion is finding grooming a bit of a struggle, try stroking them, talking to them and being reassuring. You can also offer yummy treats to keep them distracted and turn their attention away from the cat brush.
Grooming matted cat hair
If you come across any stubborn knots or matting, these can be difficult to remove so make sure to be extra gentle so as not to hurt them. If a regular cat brush isn’t doing the trick, try teasing it apart with your fingers, and make sure to be slow and cautious. If the matting is really bad though, do not use scissors as there is a high risk you could end up cutting your cat, instead you may need to consider seeing your vet and letting them deal with it professionally. The best way to deal with matted cat fur from home though is to take actions to be preventative. Regular brushing will greatly lessen the change of terrible matting occurring and will make it much easier for both you and your furry friend if a small knot does appear.
How to clean a cat - giving a cat bath
Although cats can generally clean themselves, it can be best to give them a bath occasionally, or more regularly if they’re attracted to things that are stinky or sticky! The majority of cats hate bath time and have a real dislike of water, so cat cleaning isn’t always easy. Start by bathing your cat when they are in a happy and calm state. Although they may get a bit annoyed being placed in a bath, it’s always best to start off with them in the right place! Also, make sure that the water temperature isn’t too hot or cold; like Goldilocks it needs to be just right. You may also want to use a rubber bath mat to stop them slipping around.
Once you’ve carefully placed your cat in the bath and reassured them that it’s okay, you can begin cleaning them. Make sure to use a cat-specific shampoo that is mild and gentle on their skin and once their fur is wet, gently massage it in. Always follow the instructions on your cat shampoo, but it is generally used to dilute it with water first. Shampoo from head to tail and then rinse. You may need to do this again if they’re particularly dirty. After that you can take your cat out of the bath and pat them dry with a towel. At the end of your cat bath, make sure to offer a treat as a reward for a job well done!
Cat grooming products
To help you with cat grooming from home, there are a whole range of handy products out there to make things a bit easier. This includes the basics such as a cat grooming brush, clippers and shampoos, to more intricate tools such as cleaning sprays and at-home shavers. These can all vary in price and quality, so make sure you go to a reputable site or store when purchasing cat grooming products for your home. There are also a variety of cat hygiene products you can try including pet-friendly wipes and lotions.
If cat grooming at home seems a bit much for you however, there are also plenty of professional cat groomers around that can help you with the difficult part. They may even be able to give you some tips and tricks to help you groom from home in the future, or deal with the worst so you just have to keep up with maintenance. Either way, as long as your cat is kept groomed and healthy, both you and your feline friend can be happy!