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Your cat is an independent perfectionist.
Devoting nearly half his waking hours to preening himself, he takes great pride in maintaining his appearance – and doing so on his own. It’s a lifelong commitment to taking care of himself, as your feline allocates countless hours to using his rough tongue for combing loose fur and dirt from his coat.
Still, it doesn’t hurt for owners to provide a helping hand and assist with their cats’ daily grooming routines. In particular, long-haired cats require help with preventing and removing tangles and mats from their coats, but even a short-haired feline can benefit from an owner’s grooming touch.
When you take the time to groom your feline friend with regularity, you offer a host of potential improvements to his longterm health and well-being. Brushing enables you to check for skin abnormalities and parasites, distribute your cat’s natural oil which helps promote coat health, and enhance your human-feline bond.
Here’s what you need to know about how you can aid your cat’s grooming endeavors and, in turn, bolster his longterm well-being:
Grooming Your Cat
Whether purebred or mixed breed, a key to good grooming lies in the length of a cat’s coat. Felines with short coats need very little grooming, dense-coated cats may require monthly grooming sessions, semi-long-haired felines should be combed more regularly, and cats with long, flowing coats may need to be brushed at least every other day.
Your cat’s coat represents the biggest grooming hurdle and can fall prey to shedding, a greasy consistency, and mats. Remember to comb gently from front-to-back and reassure your cat with a soothing voice. Do this as much as needed to keep shedding and knots to a minimum.
Mats can form on even the most well-groomed cats, especially during seasonal shedding. If you find these clumps of dried, tangled hair in your cat’s fur, refrain from trying to cut them out because you could slip and cut your feline’s skin. It’s better to work out a mat with a grooming comb. Use the tip of the comb to pick at the mat gently until it begins to loosen up. As the mat starts to break apart, it can now be easily combed away from your cat’s coat.
Top Medical Reasons To Groom Your Cat
Grooming does more than simply make your cat look and smell nice. Here are several valid medical reasons why regular grooming will help your cat stay healthy and feel better:
- Eyes: Keeping your cat’s face free of long hair that can irritate the eyes will make him feel more comfortable and prevent eye problems. Additionally, some cats have a problem with drainage from the eyes. Make sure you keep eye drainage wiped away and consult your veterinarian if it persists.
- Mouth: Dental disease is common in cats. Checking your cat’s mouth and teeth will help you spot trouble before it becomes a major issue. Use cat-specific toothpaste as human toothpaste can upset your feline’s stomach.
- Nails: Nail trimming is a necessity if you wish to avoid furniture shredding within your home. Furthermore, it’s an excellent alternative to de-clawing. Your vet can show you how to trim nails and claws properly.
Grooming Supplies for Cats
The right supplies will make regular grooming both manageable and enjoyable for cat owners. A full grooming arsenal should encompass items for both brushing and bathing. It’s generally advisable to brush your feline prior to bathing because wet hair is much more difficult to work through with a comb or brush.
Supplies that typically prove handy for regular grooming purposes include:
- Brush, comb, and rake
- Shampoo, dip, and conditioner
- Cotton balls and mineral oil
- Drying mitt and curry comb
- Bath mat, leash, and harness
- Hair dryer
- Apron and gloves
- Nail trimmer
How to Give a Cat a Bath
Bathing is an important part of the grooming process for some cats, but many are able to keep themselves quite clean and may never require bathing. For some, bathing keeps the coat clean, reduces parasite infections, and can even make life easier on those who are allergic to cats.
Many cats dislike baths and find the experience stressful. For a cat whose lives will include frequent baths, start bathing as a kitten, or as early in life as possible. This will help acclimate your cat to the process and reduce fear and anxiety that frequently accompanies an older cat’s first bath.
Here are tips to keep in mind for successfully bathing your feline:
- Brush your cat’s coat thoroughly before the bath to brush out any undercoat mats.
- Apply eye ointment to help keep soap from getting in your cat’s sensitive eyes.
- Fill the sink with tepid water and, if possible, include a non-toxic wetting agent, which makes it easier for water to soak the coat.
- Hold your cat firmly with both hands and partly submerge him until the water is around his shoulders, speaking soothingly to ease your feline.
- Drain the sink, then start shampooing using only a mild, tear-less shampoo. Put a small amount on a wet washcloth and gently wash around the eyes, mouth, cheeks, and forehead.
- Rinsing off the shampoo is extremely important. Fill the sink again with tepid water up to the cat’s middle. Use a cup or dish hose to rinse off the shampoo with clear water. Stay away from the head and eyes. Repeat the rinsing process at least two or three times until the soap residue is gone.
- Blot your cat’s fur with a dry towel, take him out of the sink, and place him on the floor or a counter top. Continue to towel dry there. A single-coated or dense short-haired cat only needs a good towel-drying and can be placed in a warm bathroom until he is completely dry. However, a long-haired cat may need to be combed out and blown-dry.
How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears
Cleaning your feline’s ears may look easy but it’s more difficult than you think. Cats have long ear canals and improper cleaning can result in a ruptured eardrum, pain, or lacerations of the canal. You can clean your cat’s ears safely if you follow these steps:
- Wrap your kitty in a large thick towel with just his head exposed. This will keep him from wriggling out of your grasp or scratching you.
- Using a cotton ball moistened with water, gently rub the large pieces of dirt, wax, and debris off the ear lobe. Repeat on the opposite ear.
- Use a Q-tip to gently remove the pieces of debris trapped within the cartilage of the ear. Be careful not to place the Q-tip down the ear canal – it’s safest to clean only the parts of the ear you can see.
- After cleaning ears, it is a good idea to offer a treat. This will help make the next ear cleaning session a little smoother.
Resources for Cat Grooming
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