Considering that cats do a pretty fine job of grooming themselves, is there any reason why you need to help?
The answer is yes. Grooming your cat on a regular basis reduces the amount of hairballs that wind up on the carpet and loose hair on your clothes and around the house. Occasionally, bathing may be appropriate for some cats.
Frequent grooming keeps you attuned to your cat's hair coat quality and skin health. You'll notice if your cat has fleas, ticks, wounds, lumps or bumps, or if your cat's coat is thinning or matted. You'll notice if your cat is too fat or too thin. Gentle brushing or combing with a positive approach also strengthens the bond between you and your cat. Some cats absolutely love being brushed!
The amount of time you need to spend grooming your cat depends primarily on the kind of hair coat your cat has:
- Long-haired Persians and Himalayans need daily brushing, combing, detangling, more frequent baths and even professional grooming on occasion.
- Cats with medium or short hair coats can be brushed a few times a week. Bathing is rarely indicated unless you have cat allergy sufferers at home. Use a safe feline shampoo such as Hylyt and be sure to rinse and dry your cat's hair coat well. Ask our veterinarians for shampoo suggestions.
Although it's easier to teach a cat to tolerate grooming as a kitten, even adult cats can appreciate – or at least tolerate – the attention. Here are some tips to get you started:
- If you have a long-haired kitten or your new kitten has a badly matted hair coat, schedule a professional grooming appointment to give yourself a fresh start at home.
- Go slowly. Introduce new routines at home a little at a time to build your cat's tolerance and trust.
- Reward your cat for tolerating your attentions. Use treats, praise and gentle petting to let your kitten know that you approve of its behavior. You can't make a cat do anything it doesn't want to, so praise is the best and only way to go.
- Know when to call it a day. You'll do better if you stop before your cat becomes impatient, annoyed or afraid. End every grooming session with praise and petting.
Above all, stay positive. Grooming your kitten is a special time for both of you to share, and your pet will pick up on your positive attitude. The payoff is a happy, healthy and, yes, good looking cat – well worth the time you'll invest.
If you have questions or need help grooming your cat, call us at (978) 453-1784. We would be happy to help.