Brushing Your Cat

Should You Brush Your Cat?

Your cat spends about 15 percent of her life grooming. Her sandpaper-like tongue removes dirt and debris from her coat and leaves her shining like she just stepped out of the shower. So do you really need to groom your cat on top of that? Even though your pet seems like a stickler for cleanliness, she would probably appreciate a little cat brushing.

How Long Is Your Cat’s Coat?

Brushing frequency depends on the length and the type of coat that your cat has. A kitty with fine, short hair may rarely require brushing. However, long-haired cats need to be brushed daily. Brushing gets rid of tangles and can prevent matting. Mats, clumps of hair that gather in your feline’s fur, make your cat look unkempt, and they can also make your cat uncomfortable as the tangles can tug at her sensitive skin.

Brushing your cat can also prevent medical problems. The thick masses of fur hold moisture beneath them and can lead to infections. If her fur is too densely matted to tackle yourself, you might need to have your kitty shaved at the groomer. Never try to cut the mat off with scissors, or you might end up cutting the skin.

Preventing Hairballs

As cats groom themselves, they swallow dislodged fur. The hair isn’t digested, and it usually gets eliminated as your cat poops. When there’s too much of it, the fur can stay in the digestive tract, making kitty uncomfortable. Brush her frequently to remove the loose hairs, preventing them from ending up as regurgitated alien life forms on your living room carpet. You’ll also keep cat hair from ending up all over your furniture. You can better control where your cat sheds when you brush her regularly.

Brushing Tools And Techniques

Cat groomingdoesn’t have to take a long time, especially if you keep up with it. According to Petful, some experts recommend brushing against the direction in which the hair grows. Most cat owners agree that their cats prefer getting brushed from head to tail, though. If you’re brushing gently and properly, you’ll probably get a snuggle and a purr in response.

If you’re dealing with mats, you can try to get them out yourself. Grasp the clump of hair between your thumb and forefinger. Use the tip of a comb to gently try to work out the knots at the edge of the clump. As you release some of those hairs, you can make your way toward the interior of the mat. If your cat puts up a fight, you might be hurting her. Some mats can’t be brushed out and must be removed by a groomer.

There are lots of tools available to brush your cat’s fur. Selecting the right one can get confusing because there are so many options. The right brush should not hurt your cat but should be effective at removing stray hairs. If you don’t see much hair on the brush after grooming your cat, you may need to try a different one. Bristle brushes are easy to find. Those with longer, stiffer bristles are designed for longer fur. Short, soft-bristled brushes can be used on short-haired felines. Beware of brushes with super-soft bristles, however. They can be hard to clean out when they pick up your cat’s fur.

Wire-pin and slicker brushes have metal bristles. They’re designed for breeds with medium or long fur, but they can be used on short-haired cats too. These tend to be more effective at removing loose hair, especially when your pet is shedding heavily. Combs are popular with cat groomers. Greyhound combs glide through even the longest fur. They usually have anti-static coatings that help your cat’s fur lie flat.

Cats Can’t Reach All Of Their Areas

Although cats are quite limber, they can’t adequately groom their entire bodies, for example, cats can’t always clean their eyes well. When tears spill out of their eyes and onto their coats, the liquid can oxidize, making your cat’s face look stained. Don’t just clean this area for vanity’s sake. The viscous substance can be uncomfortable if it builds up. Wiping the eyes with a damp washcloth is all you need to do to cleanse this area.

Some cats clean their ears very well on their own. Others need some help. You’ll notice if your cat needs assistance with ear cleaning if there’s a lot of buildup inside the ear. A stinky ear is also a sign that you need to pay attention to this area. Be gentle when you’re cleaning your cat’s ears. You shouldn’t reach beyond your line of vision or use harsh cleansers. Dr. Hillier explains how to make ear cleaning a positive experience.

You can sigh with relief knowing that even though your cat could use a regular brushing, she probably doesn’t need a bath. Most cats rarely need to be bathed with water. If your pet does need a good bath, you might be better off bringing her to a professional than doing it yourself. While some cats like the water, most are particularly repelled by the experience.

One grooming zone that does require your attention is the nails. Although your cat will naturally scratch, hopefully using appropriate items like a dedicated post, his nails can still grow long and sharp. Nipping the tips makes things more comfortable for your cat. It also keeps you comfortable when your kitty is kneading your thigh. If you start when your cat is young, you may never have to fight to get this job done.

Make Brushing Fun

Brushing should be pleasant for both you and your pet. While some cats lean into the brush, loving every moment of the experience, others run for cover when they see you break out the comb. Don’t brush your cat when she’s already worked up. Approach her when she’s happy and relaxed. Start out with quick, gentle brushing sessions and gradually increase the amount of time that you spend grooming. Giving your cat a treat never hurts. Brushing is a necessary part of pet cat care, especially if your cat’s coat is long and luxurious.