Grooming Your Cat

Benefits of Regular Grooming

Grooming your cat offers an ideal opportunity to also check its nails, teeth, ears and eyes, and to check for any lumps or scabs which may have developed since last time. Many cats do not visibly need grooming on a regular basis except when they are shedding their coat. However, some breeds of cats, such as Persians, require extensive grooming on a regular basis to avoid widespread knotting of the hair and possible sores on the skin. If a long-haired cat has been left unchecked for a while, it may require some areas to be shaved. This is a very stressful experience for a cat and should only be carried out by a professional. You must think about how much time you are prepared to spend doing this before you choose what breed of cat to buy.

First Steps

The first stage in grooming is to vigorously run your hands through the cat’s hair. Not only does this acclimatize your cat to the feeling of being groomed, but it will also show you which areas need the most attention. Run your hands all over the cat – including behind the ears and under the belly. Your cat is likely to really enjoy this invigorating feeling, and it also helps to stimulate the natural oils of the skin. Special areas to attend to include the hair behind the ears, the hair around the genitals, the hair along the muzzle and the hair between the toes.

Bathing Your Cat

We advise against bathing your cat since it can create unnecessary friction between a cat and its owner. Try finding a professional or, if it is for medical reasons, maybe your vet will be happy to do this for you. If you must bathe your cat, you should groom it first. This is because the shampoo will not get through the whole coat unless you have removed matting first. You should not bath your cat more often than necessary, since shampoos will remove the natural oils that protect your cats skin and hair.

When shampooing, you should not use everyday soaps or cleaners. You can get advice about cat shampoos from your vet or from good stockists. Cat shampoos produce less lather, which is very useful if your cat does not like being rinsed! If your cat experiences any skin reaction after bathing, consult your vet about the shampoo you are using – you may need to purchase a medicated shampoo.

You should use a large basin or sink to bathe your cat. Be sure to use a non-slip mat to prevent your cat from slipping and hurting itself. When your cat is secure, gently introduce the water. This is best by use of an extendible shower head. The water should be warm, and avoid spraying the water straight at his face, ears or genitals. Wet the cat all over, talking to and massaging your cat as you go. Next introduce the shampoo, working from the top of the body down and finishing at the face. Cat shampoo will probably not sting the cat’s eyes but you should still be careful.

When you are sure your cat is thoroughly covered in shampoo, it is time to start rinsing. Again, start from the top. When you are sure that all shampoo has been removed, switch off the water and squeeze the hair with your hands to remove the excess. Do this before the cat gets out of the bath! Then give your cat a good rub down with an old towel to remove excess dampness. If your cat can tolerate a hairdryer, be sure not to put it too close to the skin. If not, then you will need a couple more towels.

How did it go?

To finish off the process, give the hair a brief run through with a good comb designed for cats . The hair should be soft and silky, and free of matting and knots. If you find that this process is too stressful for you or your cat, you can hire a professional to do it. You may even be able to get enough tips from them to be confident of trying it again next time round.