It can be quite a hassle and a pricey affair to see a cat groomer on a regular basis so here is our guide on how to groom your cat at home. As you know if you have a cat they are very attentive to their grooming and they spend most of their life either grooming or sleeping. But even if cats clean themselves there are certain aspects of this process that they cannot do by themselves and that is where you have to help them.
Grooming isn’t just for good looks, it is actually something that will improve the health and overall happiness of your cat. The most frequent problems caused by insufficient grooming will be the digestive problems that develop due to the hairballs.
First Steps With Brushing
From what we mentioned above you must have guessed by now that one of the things cat grooming involves is regular brushing. This comes with a few things that should be considered to ensure that the cat finds this activity pleasing. Cats don’t like to be restrained to hold them gently and do this slowly not to startle them. Use treats and praises to help with this the first few times.
There are some difference on how to proceed depending on the size of the cat’s hair, so short hair cats will require a fine-toothed metal comb while the long haired cats will need a wide-toothed comb.
The short hair cats need the comb to be ran through the fur from the head to the tip of the tail and as you do this look for small specks that look similar to the pepper ones since these will tell you that there are cat fleas present. After the combing is done use a bristle or soft rubber brush to remove the hair that is still loose.
For long haired cats you should use the comb to remove the debris that can be caught in the coat and also untangle the knots that might have formed. Pay attention that you do this with care as it can be painful for your cat. The loose hair can be removed with a wire or bristle brush. A toothbrush can be also used to brush around the cat’s face.
The frequency of the brushing depends on the size of the hair so short haired cats will be of if you do this once or twice a week but some long haired cats will actually require this to be done on a daily basis.
This is a test of fire for many cat owners since most cats hate water. The good news is that the cat’s tongue and teeth allow them to clean themselves and thus bathing isn’t required for cats in most cases. This only changes when you have some extraordinary situations such as the cat getting dirty from something sticky or having fleas. Even when the cat is dirty they might not require a complete bath so you can get out of it more easily.
To make this as easy as possible for the both of you (or better for the three of you since two persons will do a much better job) you should take every precaution. The water temperature should be pleasant, not hot or cold. The shampoo that you will use has to be designed specifically for cats, don’t use human hair products on cats!
The sink or a tub should be used with a rubber bath mat in it and the water should be around three or four inches high. Start by getting the cat wet with some water first and get them used to it. Never put water directly into the cat’s eyes, ears or nose. Start with the head and continue through the rest of the body, pay extra attention to the belly because that area is more sensitive and shampoo their body.
After rinsing all the traces of shampoo you should make sure you avoid to get any in their eyes or ears. Get a towel and pat the pet dry but make sure you do a proper job with this because the option of a hair drier is better avoided. If you need to use it do it in short sessions, on the lowest setting and from a safe distance. Praises and treats should accompany each step to keep the pet occupied.
The trimming of the claws isn’t a difficult task once the cat and you both get used to it. The first time will be the most difficult one and this is why you should take your time. don’t do all the claws at once, but one at a time.
Start with a massage of the feet and if the cat gets used to this procedure you can move to the next step. To do this massage you run your hand along the legs and gently press your thumb on the pad of the toes so that the claws extend.
The clippers you have to use are the ones made specifically for this purpose and make sure they are sharp enough to avoid any unnecessary pain. Cut parallel to the flat of the claw and only the white tips. Do this slowly and the frequency should be at around two weeks.
This should be done as often as possible and it is even recommended to do it daily since their teeth are as sensitive as ours to plaque, tartar and other mouth diseases. There are soft brushes made specifically for this that either have a handle as the ones we use or some of them can be put on your finger.
This will take quite a lot of getting used to and your veterinarian can teach you how to do it properly since cats will hate having someone touch their teeth. The toothpaste should be one that is special for cats but even some salt and water can work if you don’t have better options.
Start by gently massaging the cat’s gums with the soft brush and use circular movements. Start in front and slowly try to make your way to the back. The part oriented toward the exterior is the one that you have to clean since that is the one that has the highest risk of decay.