Monday, July 16, 2007


Cat Grooming Tips

Cats clean themselves, why should I groom them? I see my cat spending a lot of time each day licking and cleaning herself.

There are various reasons, however, why your cat still needs your grooming assistance to stay healthy and happy. Grooming accomplishes much more than just making your cat's coat look nice and shiny. It also stimulates circulation, removes loose hair, and helps prevent matting.

Regular Grooming
Regular grooming will also provide you with the opportunity to spend more "quality time" with your cat. You will also be able to check your cat closely for any problems while grooming.

Move the hair aside and examine the skin closely for signs of fleas and ticks. Check also for any unusual problems with the coat such as mats, tangles, skin irritations, etc. Learn where your pet likes to be combed and brushed, and where he or she doesn't. Cats have sensitive ears that may need to be groomed a little more gently and carefully than other areas. By paying special attention to these locations, you will help make your cat more comfortable while being groomed, and he or she will not resist future grooming sessions.

Grooming is also important for kittens. We see cats constantly licking and grooming their kittens to help keep their coats clean. Your kitten will also need some help with his or her grooming. By starting with short grooming sessions at a young age, your kitten will become accustomed to the grooming procedure and will be less likely to resist your grooming efforts when he or she gets older. Constantly reassure your kitten in gentle tones while brushing and combing. This will, in time, make your cat accustomed to being handled and brushed. Eventually he or she will be quite comfortable and will look forward to these grooming sessions with you.

Regular grooming is essential to your cat's health and wellbeing. Regular combing and brushing will keep the coat clean and healthy, stimulate the skin, and allow the natural oils to circulate to the coat. It will also help to prevent hairballs, which are the result of loose hair being picked up by the cat's tongue and then swallowed. These hairs sometimes accumulate in the cat's stomach forming hairballs which can be harmful to the cat. Grooming will also allow you to check for potentially serious problems. Check for areas of hair loss, inflammation, unusual tenderness or lumps under the skin. Constant scratching in a particular area may also be an indication of a problem. Check with your veterinarian about any unusual problems you may find.

How often your cat needs to be groomed depends upon several factors: type and length of coat, weather conditions, time of year, etc. Generally speaking, shorthaired cats should be groomed about twice a week, while longhaired cats should be groomed daily. You will soon find the grooming frequency that provides the best results for your cat. It is important to establish and adhere to a regular grooming schedule. These sessions should be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you. Be sure that you allow time to provide proper grooming, and are not likely to be interrupted.

Comb carefully in the direction of hair growth to smooth the coat and remove any minor knots or tangles. It the coat has a particularly stubborn knot or tangle, you may have to trim it off with scissors. For longhaired cats, begin with a wide tooth comb and follow up with a fine tooth comb. To avoid injury, if your cat's coat has severe matting, consult a veterinarian or professional groomer. After combing, use a shedding blade to remove any loose or dead hair in the coat.

Brush in the direction of hair growth with a wire slicker brush. This will help detangle any matted fur and remove dead hair and debris. After brushing the coat until it is thoroughly clean, you can follow with the cat brush. Use long, flowing strokes to bring out the beautiful luster of your cat's coat. A grooming glove can also be used after brushing. It will remove any remaining debris, massage the skin and distribute your cat's natural oils resulting in a shiny, healthy coat.

Nail Trimming
Regular nail trimming is important to your cat's health and well being. Never use ordinary scissors to trim your cat's nails; they may injure the cat. Use trimmers that are specifically designed for cats. Hold the paw firmly and squeeze the paw at the base of the nail. This will cause the nail to protrude. Cutoff the tips of the nail with a single stroke, being careful to stop short of the quick, the blood vessel inside the nail. (Cutting into the quick will hurt your cat and cause some bleeding.) Follow up with the nail file, filing toward the tip to smooth the cut edge.

Dental Care
When most people think about grooming their pet, they tend to think about their kitty's teeth last. The fact is, more than 85% of dogs and cats older than four years have periodontal disease. To prevent tartar buildup and keep your pet's gums healthy, make sure you pick up either a special cat toothbrush and toothpaste or dental wipes, and use them to clean his or her teeth regularly. Having your pet's teeth professionally cleaned by his or her veterinarian on a regular basis is also a good idea.

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