Healthy and Clean: Why Home Cat Grooming is so Important
Cats are clean by nature. In fact, it can sometimes seem that your cat spends half its time washing its face and ears, smoothing down fur, cleaning out paw pads, and generally keeping him or herself beautiful.
Regardless of how well your cat takes care of itself, most cats can benefit from a little help. Home cat grooming can help you keep a close eye on your cat’s haircoat, skin, and nails, as well as decrease hairballs by removing loose fur. It can also help deepen the bond you share with your feline companion. Finally, home grooming can help ward off that dreaded visit (by your cat) to the groomer to correct matting and other problems that can result when regular maintenance needs are not addressed.
Home Cat Grooming 101
Establishing a grooming routine with your cat while it is still young is preferred, but cats of any age can learn to accept and even enjoy grooming.
Brushing – For short haired cats, brush once or twice per week from head to tail with a fine-toothed metal pet comb, and follow up with a pet specific rubber brush to remove loose fur. Long haired cats will need more frequent brushing – first, with a wide tooth comb to carefully untangle knots, followed with a bristle brush or wire brush to remove loose fur.
Nail trimming – Use high quality nail trimmers designed specifically for cats. Press gently on each toe to expose the claw, and cut parallel to the flat part of the claw. Be very careful to avoid the quick, which can be seen as the pink area of the claw.
Paw care – Keeping your cat’s paws and paw pads clean is also important to its overall well-being. Not only are they a primary means of transportation, they are an important tool for your cat’s own self-care and grooming. Check your cat’s paws regularly for debris, signs of fox tails and other thorny foes, as well as any other dirt or residue that may be present. Keep in mind that your cat will lick off (and consume) whatever its paws come in contact with, so it’s important to check the paws regularly and keep them clean!
Tips for Cat Grooming Success
- Start out slowly, and keep cat grooming sessions short at first. Offer praise and treats to make the experience a positive one. Stop the moment your cat shows signs of discomfort or annoyance, and try again the next day.
- To get your cat comfortable with nail trimming, start by gently massaging its paws each day. To do this, run your hand down the legs one by one and gently squeeze the center of the paws. Once your cat is comfortable with this, you can move on to nail trims.
- Try grooming your cat on a countertop with the cat facing away from you, sitting on the floor with the cat between your legs, or in a chair with the cat in your lap.
- Never attempt to cut out a mat with scissors. Severely matted fur should be handled by a professional groomer. Both of our groomers are experienced at grooming cats and will be happy to discuss your cat’s grooming needs with you and recommend the service that would be best to help your cat’s haircoat, skin, and nails stay healthy.
- NEVER cut or trim your cat’s whiskers! Every part of the whiskers are critically important to helping your cat to live safely and comfortably in its environment.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center for more information on caring for your cat. We are dedicated to helping cats stay healthy, happy and beautiful!