Grooming: more than vanity

Cats’ grooming behaviour is not just vanity. It plays a role in keeping them healthy. Protect your feline’s health by augmenting your cat’s natural grooming. Periodic grooming prevents matted fur, reduces hairballs and gives you an opportunity to detect potential health problems.

  • Keep kitty calm. If possible, introduce a grooming ritual while your cat is still a kitten. If your cat is older, make it a pleasant experience –which may mean you work in several brief sessions to keep your cat relaxed. Combing and brushing your cat not only reduces shedding and the formation of hairballs, but provides a bonding time for you both.

  • Short and sweet. Shorthair cats are lower maintenance, but a weekly grooming using a natural bristle brush and a fine-tooth comb will keep them in fine form. For breeds without an undercoat, such as Siamese, substitute a rubber brush for the natural bristled one.

  • Long and lovely. Longhair cats require more frequent grooming, usually two to three times a week –- daily for outdoor cats. For longhairs, purchase a wire brush, a wide-tooth comb and a fine-tooth flea comb. Use the fine-tooth comb or mat splitter to gently untangle mats, working toward the skin.

  • The old once-over. Once the fur is untangled, brush your cat using long gentle strokes, working from head to tail. This will be relaxing and enjoyable for your cat and give you an opportunity to rub your hands along your cat’s body, checking for any lumps or sensitive spots. If you have any concerns, speak with your veterinarian.

  • The cat in the bath. Sometimes, a bath is necessary. Perhaps your cat has rolled in something filthy or he has something on his fur. Maybe she needs to be treated for fleas, ticks or lice. In any case, use only warm water and mild soap, preferably a cat shampoo. Rinse your cat thoroughly to avoid skin irritation. Cats can easily catch cold, so towel dry well and keep him away from drafts until fully dried and fluffy.

Related pages:

Keeping cats off the couch

A breed apart

Dental care for cats

No more food fights

Keep your home sweet home smelling that way