Despite their ability to groom themselves, pet cats still require additional grooming assistance from their owners. The frequency with which you need to help your cat will vary from one to another. In the shedding season, when cats shed more hair, long-haired and medium-haired cats have greater grooming requirements. The grooming of long-haired and medium-haired cats should be done on a daily basis, while short-haired cats should be groomed about once a week. Check out more details about cat grooming here.
Start grooming early on
Your cat should enjoy grooming and feel comfortable during the process. You should accustom your kitten to being groomed from a young age. Try stroking your kitten first, and then brush it gently with a few brushstrokes. For allowing you to brush them and for being calm, you can give them some tasty cat food treats. Treats will help your cat learn to associate brushing with positive experiences. When your cat is comfortable with grooming, gradually increase the number of brushstrokes and the amount of time spent on it.
If your cat is forced to groom or restrained, this can cause stress and make grooming a negative experience for him or her. A cat will indicate that it needs a break by swishing its tail, flattening or flicking its ears, tensing its body, growling, hissing, or grooming itself intensely. As soon as you notice these signs, stop grooming and gradually build up again to the level that they are comfortable with.
It is important to use grooming equipment that matches your cat’s coat type. For cats with short hair, a fine-toothed flea comb, soft brush, and grooming gloves/mittens should be sufficient to remove loose hair and check for fleas. Long-haired and medium-haired cats may also require a wide-toothed comb and longer brushes.
Fleas and flea dirt can be checked by brushing in the direction of the hair and occasionally gently brushing backwards.
Changing equipment or brushing softer and applying less pressure may be necessary if your cat seems uncomfortable.
The loose hair that cats swallow when grooming is swallowed by the cat. It is possible for these loose hairs to accumulate inside the cat’s gut and form a large clump, forming a hairball. The average cat regurgitates a hairball once or twice per week.
Hair ingested in large clumps can block cats’ intestinal tracts and kill them. It’s important for owners to groom their dogs because it helps to reduce the amount of loose hair swallowed and minimise the size of hairballs. To prevent hairballs, talk to your vet about other things you can do besides grooming.
It is important to groom regularly to prevent matts from developing. If matting is seen, gently tease it out with your fingers. Make sure not to ‘pull’ the fur, as this will result in skin tension causing pain. If you are very careful not to touch the skin surface, you can also break the matt apart gently and slowly using blunt-nosed safety scissors.
Getting rid of an extremely tight mat or one that is very close to the skin may require professional assistance. If you need help grooming your pet, you can usually find grooming services at your local veterinarian clinic.
Bathing cats is generally not recommended. It is common for cats to find bathing very stressful and do not tolerate it well. Therefore, if your cat is healthy, there is usually no reason to give him a bath. Some veterinarians may recommend bathing for cats with skin diseases as part of their treatment plans.