Contributor: Maren Boyer Charlton- Agriculture Communications Student at Utah State University and Vice President of National Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow.
Please note that I have received compensation in exchange for this blog post.
When the time comes to groom your cat, there can be a lot of misconceptions about the do’s and don’ts of cat grooming. While the techniques and grooming needs differ for each cat’s breed and personality, it is always good to know the basics of grooming your cat. Grooming your cat can help you as an owner to be better aware of your cat’s health and body condition and avoid your cat’s hair matting.
- Gather Professional Recommended Supplies
Professional animal groomers recommend using two different combs when grooming your cat. First, a coarse or slicker brush to begin brushing with, then follow behind with a fine-tooth comb/flea brush. Try finding brushes with metal teeth to avoid static on your cat’s hair. Clipping your cat’s nails can seem like a daunting task, but it is important to buy a small pair of nail clippers for your cat’s nails. Finally, when buying shampoo for your cat, try to find a cat-safe shampoo and stick to it.
- Brushing Your Cat
The earlier you start getting your cat adjusted to being groomed, the sooner it will become an anticipated activity for your cat. First, go through your cat with the coarse brush and brush your cat all the way to its skin. Start brushing from the back of the head to the tail, and slowly move your cat to their back to brush their belly. This first coarse brush will untangle and prevent any matts from forming in their hair. Follow behind with a flea brush in the areas with shorter hair such as their belly and armpits. This will help you further brush your cat’s coat while also checking for any parasites. Brush your cat regularly once a month using the two brushes.
- Trimming Nails
Trimming cat nails can be an event no one looks forward to but can pay off in the long run (and save your furniture). When first getting your cat used to getting their nails trimmed, Veterinarian Brendon Charlton recommends wrapping your cat into a swaddle with a towel, slowly bringing one paw out at a time and lightly trimming the nail can be a safe way to navigate new territory for both you and your cat. When trimming nails, it is important to put light pressure onto the cat’s knuckle to expose the claw and the cuticle (the soft tissue that resides at the base of the claw); once the full claw is exposed, gently and carefully trim just the sharp tip of the nail. While continuously doing this one to two times a month, your cat will soon become adjusted to having their nails trimmed.
- Bathing Your Cat
Unless you are an owner of a Sphynx cat which needs to be bathed once a week, cats with hair only need to be bathed when they have gotten into something that can’t be easily removed with brushing. Bathing your cat can be different for every cat owner; some cats love water, while most dislike it. Veterinarian Brendon Charlton recommends using a wet rag to soap your cat up before placing the cat into the bath, minimizing the time and stress the cat will experience in the water. Once finished, wrap your sweet fur baby into a towel and give them all the love they need for them to forgive you for what you just did.
- Gentleness and Patience are Key
Use the time you take grooming your cat to pay attention to what you see and your cat’s behavior; going slow when brushing can help your cat remain calm and minimize stress. When first starting to get your cat adjusted to grooming, take your time and gently brush your cat a few times a week to get used to the feeling of grooming. It is best to start brushing your cat while they are still a kitten. Take your time to slowly build your cat to being comfortable with being brushed, clipping nails, and getting bathed.
Grooming your cat can be a bonding experience for both you and your cat. It is important to take your time and repeat the process so that your cat will eventually look forward to their grooming day. While also letting your cat look like the amazingly good-looking cat that they are.