At Home Cat Grooming: Everything You Need to Know
A clean cat is a happy cat or at least that’s what the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says. And we do agree with ASPCA 100 percent. If you’re a cat parent, you already know that kitties like to lick and clean themselves all the time. Helping them with a little bit of at home cat grooming can result in better health, a shiny coat and a kitty that feels good.
Did you know that a healthy cat can spend as much as 50 percent of the time it’s awake in grooming activities? https://www.thesprucepets.com/why-cats-groom-themselves-so-often-4126526 There are numerous reasons why they do it and natural instincts often come at play. Cats lick their fur coat to keep it clean, the speed up the healing of injuries, to hide their scent and even for pleasure.
Can you help with a little bit of at home cat grooming? Absolutely? Only basic grooming tools and supplies will be required and today, we’re about to explore some of the grooming essentials you will have to master.
How to Get Started with at Home Cat Grooming
The first part of at home cat grooming is checking your kitty’s fur, ears, eyes, nose and teeth on a regular basis.
When checking out the coat and the skin, do look for dry patches, clumps of hair falling off and bald spots. Redness, rashes and sores are also troublesome. If you notice any of those, do see your vet. They could be indicative of a medical problem.
While a kitty may be somewhat uncooperative, it’s also important to check out the ears, nose and eyes on a regular basis.
Cat ears don’t tend to accumulate a lot of wax. Having too much of it could be the sign of an infection. The eyes should be clear and bright. There will be some dried-up discharge every once in a while but you shouldn’t feel concerned about it. The discharge, however, shouldn’t be smelly, reddish in color or pus-like.
A healthy cat’s nose is smooth, wet and cold. There shouldn’t be any discharge coming from it. If there is, your cat could be suffering from a nasal infection.
Finally, try to check your cat’s teeth. This is something you should start doing at an early age to get your kitty used to the process. If you don’t getting an older cat to allow you to open its mouth could be nearly a mission impossible.
Healthy teeth need to be white and clean with no buildup on them. The gums should be light pink and not red. Check for redness and sores as these are suggestive of gum disease. The cat’s breath shouldn’t have a foul odor. Bad breath could suggest tooth problems or something much more serious like kidney disease. If you’re concerned by any of your findings, talk to your bet. A simple checkup will be sufficient to determine if something’s wrong.
Brushing and Combing
This is probably the most enjoyable part of at home cat grooming. Most felines love to be brushed – they enjoy the gentle massage and the cuddles they’ll receive during the process. You can easily master brushing to remove loose hair and ensure the health of the fur coat.
The frequency of brushing sessions depends on the coat type. Short-haired cats can be brushed once per week or as often as you’d like. With long-haired breeds, daily brushing becomes essential to prevent the matting and tangling of fur.
Choosing the right brush or comb will be essential.
Some products are suitable for use on both short-haired and long-haired coats. This cat brush is one example of such an item.
When you’re dealing with long fur, a cat brush with flexible bristles may be a better choice. It will allow for the effortless detangling of the coat without causing your kitty any pain. There are also special detangling brushes so the market really has you covered.
If you’re combing a short-haired kitty, start with a metal brush and use a comb next to both get rid of loose hair and give your pet a gentle massage. Be very careful when combing the belly and the area underneath the legs – these spots are tender and sensitive.
When combing a long-haired cat, start with the belly and legs, working your way gently through the tangles. Once you’re done with the untangling, use a rubber brush in an upward motion all over the body. To brush the tail (something that many cats will not allow, so be careful), make a part down the middle and work with the comb on either side.
Do you have a kitty who doesn’t like to be brushed? To get them used to the process, you can get a self-care hair brush. These are usually attached to a corner or the leg of a chair/sofa that your kitty frequently passes by. The aim of the product is to enable your cat to brush themselves against the bristles and enjoy a little bit of massage.
Clipping a Cat’s Nails at Home: Can You Make That Happen
Nail clipping is one of the most challenging at home cat grooming aspects that kitty parents struggle with.
Most cats will not cooperate when getting a manicure or a pedicure. So, should you even try to clip a cat’s nails at home?
Trimming the claws is essential for preserving your furniture and also interacting with your cat in a safe way. It’s also very important when you’re dealing with an older kitty who’s no longer capable of scratching their claws.
For the purpose, you need to get a high quality nail clipper. Pet stores and vets can offer such products, giving you access to an adequate tool. The clippers need to be sharp and properly shaped, ensuring the quick removal of the pointy end of the claw.
Once you have your clippers, you’ll have to learn how to use them.
Take some time and allow your cat to get used to the clippers. Begin by touching and gently massaging the paws. Your kitty should get used to this kind of touch before you can move on to clipping attempts.
Next, you can attempt clipping the nails. Your vet can show you the correct technique and this video also features some pretty useful information.
The first few times, just touch each claw with the clipper without cutting. If your cat’s body language remains calm, you can attempt taking off the ends of the claws.
Sometimes, your cat will only let you do one or two nails in one sitting. That’s ok and you’re making progress. Be patient and things are likely to get easier the next time around.
Now, this is a process that most cat parents don’t look forward to. While some kitties do adore warm water, most will never come anywhere near it.
The big question here is should you bathe your cat at all and if so, how often?
It’s actually interesting to point out that most indoor cats can lead their lives comfortably without being bathed ever. Cats are pretty efficient when it comes to cleaning their coats. Still, giving an indoor kitty a bath once or twice per year can produce benefits like a healthier and shinier coat.
Outdoor kitties will need more frequent baths. A general rule of thumb would be to bathe the cat each time it gets dirty.
So, what does it take to make the process easy and non-traumatic?
It’s a good idea to do a play session right before having a bath. That’s likely to make your kitty mellow and a bit more tolerant to the bath.
The steps you need to follow when bathing your cat include:
The market does offer wet wipes especially formulated for the purpose of cleaning kitty fur. These have cleansing properties without containing harsh chemicals and they could be a good alternative to going for professional cat bathing.
A Few Other at Home Cat Grooming Tips and Suggestions
Cleaning the teeth and gums is very important for the prevention of gum disease and other serious oral problems in cats.
This is a process, however, that many pet parents struggle with.
Getting your kitty used to tooth brushing at an early age is very important. If you start brushing a kitten’s teeth, your adult cat will be used to the process and will not oppose it. Just remember to use special brushes and special toothpaste for the purpose. Human products are NOT suitable for cats.
If brushing isn’t a viable option, there are special wet wipes for oral hygiene that you can wrap around your finger and use to gently clean the teeth, get rid of bacteria, plaque and food remains.
As far as ear cleaning goes, do not use cotton buds for the purpose. The market offers special solutions. You only have to spray them into your pet’s ear and do a gentle massage for the product to work. Check out the spray’s label to find out how often it should be applied.
Finally, if you’re really struggling with some of the grooming practices, you should consider going to a professional.
The importance of grooming cannot be underestimated. A cat whose fur isn’t properly trimmed and brushed will be miserable. In addition, the absence of proper hygienic practices could increase the risk of medical problems. Talk to your vet about the recommended frequency of different grooming practices and try to stick to a schedule. Your kitty will appreciate the effort, even if they don’t show it.
Please check out our cat grooming products and supplies if you are looking for high quality products. Don’t hesitate to send us a note with a question – we’ll be more than happy to guide you through the process of taking the best possible care for your pet.