If there’s one thing we know about cats, it’s that they’re hygienic. When it seems like all cats do is give themselves tongue baths, many new cat owners may find themselves asking, “How frequently should I groom my cat?”
While it’s true that cats are committed to their cleanliness, they still need grooming attention from their owners now and then. The level of attention will vary based on the breed of cat, its age, and the season.
As a rule of thumb, short-haired cats can use a weekly grooming, while medium-haired and long-haired cats can be groomed on a daily basis.
Given certain cats may like this grooming session and others may be more resistant, let’s first break down the importance of cat grooming.
The Benefits Of Grooming Your Cat
Though your cat will make a habit of grooming itself, we as cat owners should also be ready to lend a helping hand.
By regularly grooming our feline friends, we can help them with the following to:
- Promote a healthy, shiny coat
- Check for fleas, lumps, bumps, or other skin problems
- Help prevent hairballs
- Remove burrs, twigs, leaves
- Undo fur matts
- Create an opportunity for bonding
The Advantages Of Starting Grooming At An Early Age
To enjoy the benefits of regular grooming, your cat also needs to enjoy (or at least tolerate) the process of being groomed.
For those who have just adopted a kitten, it’s advisable to get started with grooming early. That can include gentle strokes first to get them used to the process. If they’re a bit resistant, offer a few treats as a reward for letting them be brushed. This is also beneficial in teaching them to associate brushing as a positive moment.
As your kitten gets older – or if you’re trying to get an older cat more comfortable with the grooming process – see if you can increase the grooming time.
One thing to keep in mind while grooming your cat is to never force grooming or to use restraint. Resorting to this will stress your cat and make grooming an unpleasant, even negative experience.
Signs that your cat may be feeling stressed during grooming include:
- Tensing body
- Flicking ears
- Flattening ears
- Swishing tail
- Struggling against you
Cat Grooming Equipment Essentials
Certain kinds of cat coats require certain kinds of cat grooming equipment.
For short-haired cats, go for a fine-toothed flea comb, a soft brush, and grooming mittens or gloves. The goal here is to be able to check for fleas and remove any loose hairs.
With medium-haired cats and long-haired cats, consider adding a wide-toothed comb and longer brushes into the grooming rotation.
In order to check for fleas, you will generally brush in the direction of the hair, with the occasional brush in the opposite direction.
Does your cat seem uncomfortable? It could either be the brush – consider a different firmness – or your technique. You may need to apply less pressure while grooming.
How Grooming Reduces Hairballs
As cats groom themselves, they end up swallowing some of their loose hair. As those hairs build up and clump together, they form a hairball. These hairballs are often regurgitated harmlessly every week or so.
However, that clump of hair can also end up blocking their intestinal tract and posing a more serious threat – potentially even a life-threatening one.
As cat owners, our grooming helps to cut down on the number of loose hairs, reducing the size of the hairballs. If your cat continues to have a large number of hairballs, you can also speak with your vet about other ways to reduce them.
Prevent Fur Matts With Grooming
When you find matts in your cat’s fur, try to separate it gently with your fingers. The key is not to pull on the fur itself, as this can end up hurting your cat. With regular grooming, you can help to keep these clumps from developing in the first place.
If the clump is particularly difficult, get a pair of safety scissors and work to break it apart. You can trim it in parts while avoiding the skin.
For a particularly knotty clump, get in touch with a grooming service or your local vet clinic.
When To Bathe Cats
As a rule of thumb, cats don’t need to be bathed. Most cats actually find it quite stressful.
Fortunately for them, there aren’t many health reasons to actually give them a bath. For most vets, they’ll only recommend a bath if it’s necessary to help treat cats suffering from a skin disease.
For Cat Grooming Questions, Call Catonsville Cat Clinic
At Catonsville Cat Clinic, our expert team of veterinarians is here to help make sure your cat is as healthy as possible.
Given how important grooming is to their health – and how it can help form a bond between owner and pet – we’d be happy to answer your questions. Call us today to schedule your appointment.