Best Cat Grooming Tips

January 1, 2019

Grooming your cat may sometimes be more difficult than expected. An unintentional move that hurt or cause discomfort to your cat could result in a bad experience for your cat. This will only make subsequent grooming sessions more difficult and unpleasant. There are ways to go around getting your cat comfortable with grooming routines and this article offers some of the best grooming tips for every aspect of grooming.

Getting started
Having the right tools is the first step. Most cat owners would invest in a wire slicker brush, various types of cat combs, claw clipper and cat toothbrush and toothpaste. It would be ideal to have your cat get used to the different grooming aspects from young. While this may still be possible when the cat is older, more care and patience might be needed.

Brushing and combing
Whether your cat is a shorthair or longhair type, brushing and combing your cat’s coat are the basics of grooming care. It is important to groom the entire body of your cat. Understandably, this may not be easy on more tricky spots such as the hindquarters, underarms and belly. It would also be more difficult for cats who have not been groomed before. Building your cat’s trust towards you will be essential to allow your cat to be more receptive to being handled by grooming tools. To do this, you have to pick the right time and opportunity, usually when the cat is relaxed after a meal or play.

Depending on the response of your cat, you might need to spilt brushing and combing into different sections instead of doing everything in one session. For a start, use a soft brush even though it might not be as effecting in detangling and removing dead hair. However, this is to allow your cat to get accustomed to the feeling of being brushed.

If your cat does not like the brush, you could also start with using a clean oven glove. Stroking with a glove allows your cat to associate the stroking motion with something different from your hand. Move on slowly to a grooming mitt then the brush. Begin this exercise on its back first; cats might be stressed if you approach its vulnerable areas, such as the belly. However, if your cat does enjoy the session, it could eventually reveal its belly for you to brush too.

Once your cat is familiarized with brushes, you can start introducing more effective instrument. Gently stroke its hair with the back of the comb or brush first to let it know that it is not a threat. Remember not to tug or pull brushes or comb through matt. Use a matt splitter instead to cut them into smaller pieces before combing them out. End the session with your cat’s favorite treat. This would help your cat to associate grooming with something good, making it look forward to the next brush out time.

Even though cats are self-cleaning animals, they do accumulate dirt and oil on their hair and skin. They could also soil themselves with their own waste. These are times when a bath would be necessary to give your cat a thorough cleaning. For cat breeds that love water, bathing could prove to be a breeze. However, if your cat is afraid of water, bathing might be a challenge, though not impossible. There are some things you can do that could help the bathing process before sending your cat into the tub.

First, trim its claws first to prevent any injury that might result from any struggle or excitement. Do this a few hours or a day or two before bathing it. So that your cat will not feel uncomfortable from being over-groomed.

Second, brush out your hair’s fur to remove tangles and knots. These knots will be much more difficult and painful to remove once your cat is wet.

Third, tire your cat out by playing with him so that it will become mellower and less likely to get away or scratch. The amount of time needed to tire your cat out would depend on your cat’s energy level. You could also choose to put some cat toys in the bathtub and let it play for a few minutes for it to get used to the tub. This toy can be a special toy that appears only during bathing time. It would help your cat to associate bathing with something fun and non-threatening. After your cat has gotten used to playing in the bath tub, add a little lukewarm water and play again.

Fourth, bath your cat in an enclosed room so that it will not escape suddenly to mess things up out of fear. You might need to familiarize it with the bathroom environment first. If you are using the bathroom, bring down the toilet seat cover lest it escapes into it.

Fifth, place a rubber mat in the tub to for your cat to have a secure footing. If your bathtub is of a portable kind you might also want to place towels around it to catch the water that spill over.

Sixth, maintain your control by talking to your cat in a soothing and calm tone. If you have a strong cat, it might be better to engage the help of another person to help keep your cat in place.

Seven, Lather in the shampoo from neck down in through a massage manner. Remember to avoid the eyes, nose and mouth areas when shampooing your cat. You should aim to finish bathing sessions fast without rushing it through.

Finally, dry your cat by wrapping your cat in a big towel and rubbing it gently. You might need to change towel if the first one gets too wet. Consider warming your towels in the dryer or heater first. This would give your cat much comfort. Thoroughly dry your cat with a hair dryer set on warm. Having a heat source or a dry towel for it to sit on would also help. Most importantly, look out for signs of distress such as hissing, growling. Do not force anything on your cat and stop the activity as soon as possible.

Nail clipping
Cats use their claws for many purposes, such as defense and scratch themselves. Many cat experts and behaviorists are against declawing your cat. However, trimming your cat nails will be necessary to prevent it from hurting itself and others as well as destroying your furniture.

If your cat reacts negatively to nail trimming, you can wrap in a towel to give it comfort and also to help secure him in place. Cutting its nail at a time when your cat is relaxed after play will be ideal. A good nail clipper will be essential to provide for a quick and clean cut; you do not want to hold your cat in a certain position for too long.

If your cat has not had its nail trimmed before, you will have to first get it used to having its paws being handled. Do this by patting or stroking her paws every now and then. Press its paws gently between your thumb and index finger to unsheathe its claw. Take note of the quick, a pick area in the nail consisting of nerves and vessels that should not be cut.

Dental care
Dental care is one of the most necessary, yet most neglected aspects of grooming care. Periodontal disease is a common dental disease in cats that can lead to other serious health issues. Hence, brushing your cat’s teeth is very important to prevent the buildup of tartar and plagues.

For a start, you should get your cat used to having its mouth area and teeth being touched. To do this, dip your finger in tuna water or other flavored liquids that your cat might like. Attract its attention to let it lick the liquid off your finger. As it does this, gently rub your finger over your cat’s gum and teeth. After your cat has gotten comfortable with such sessions, introduce a piece of gauze around your finger, once again dap in flavored. Gently place your finger on its teeth and gum and massage in circular motion. Repeat this over a few days till you felt that your cat is comfortable.

Now that your cat is at ease with having her teeth and gum being handled, you can switch to using a toothbrush, dental sponge or pad. Whichever tool you use, make sure that your cat is comfortable with the consistency of the item. Thus, begin by having your cat lick off something off the brush or pad so that it can be familiarized with the texture. Once the cleaning tool has been introduced, you can introduce the toothpaste. Most owners prefer sweet and fresh scented toothpaste. Your cat would most probably like it too.

You must not use toothpaste meant for humans as the properties and compositions are different from that of cat toothpaste. Let your cat taste the toothpaste from your finger as you did the first time with the flavored water. Once your cat is ready to have its teeth brushed, you may want to just brush the few teeth at the front. This will give you some practice and also allows your cat to get used to the session. As your cat becomes more receptive, increase the number of teeth for brushing. During every process, give it lots of praise.

For all the above sessions, treats can be the best tricks to get your cat to associate grooming to something pleasant!

Image Credit

Photo by Usman Ahmad - CC BY-SA 2.0

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