As a new pet parent you may be wondering how to groom your cat. Well, most of the time your kitty will do a good job of grooming herself.
In fact, your cat spends up to half of her waking hours washing herself and any members of her feline family. This is perfectly normal and a way of keeping her coat clean and removing loose hairs.
However, it’s still good practice to groom your cat. It’s not only a great way to bond with her, but can also reveal any health problems.
In this article you’ll discover when you should start brushing your cat. This is important as you need your kitty to get used to being groomed from an early age.
You’ll also learn which are the best brushes to use for both long and short hair cats, as well as feeling for any lumps or bumps. Ticks and fleas are common problems and I’ll also show you what you should be looking for.
You’ll also discover what’s considered normal shedding, and when you should be concerned, plus, should you bath your cat and what’s the best way to do it without a fight!
When should you start brushing your cat?
Wait until your kitten is around twelve weeks old and has got used to you. If you’ve just adopted your kitty she’ll take a while to settle in to her new surroundings before she’ll feel comfortable being groomed.
The number one rule is to be gentle as kittens are very delicate. They’re sensitive creatures and need lots of tender care. A good idea is to let your cat sniff the brush first.
Letting her rub her face against it will mark her scent, and make her feel safe. Feliway has the same effect and you could always consider installing a diffuser before bringing your kitty home.
It can be a good way of making a new cat feel calm and less likely to panic. This will make it much easier to start introducing brushing to her daily routine.
When you feel happy about grooming your cat, start by sitting her on your lap. Begin brushing from the back and sides of her body, and gently work your way towards her head. Talk to your kitty in a calm, soothing voice while you’re doing this.
I always combine brushing with stroking so your cat feels comfortable. Cats are easily scared, so never approach your cat suddenly with a brush.
Most cats get used to being brushed and enjoy it. It’s also a great way of bonding with your feline friend.
There are a whole variety of cat brushes and combs on the market, but which is best for your kitty? Well, it all depends on whether your cat is long haired or short haired.
How often should you brush your cat?
All cats benefit from brushing, but if your cat is long haired you should spend time doing this every day. Some breeds of cat though, such as persians must be brushed at least once a day as they have a very thick undercoat.
Brushing removes loose fur and dead skin cells, as well as debris. Make sure you pay close attention to the underside of your cat’s tail as bits of faeces can get stuck there.
My previous cat was part persian and in her later years she found it hard to groom properly. I was forever finding nasty bits stuck to her bottom, and had to get the vet to cut them off on several occasions!
One word of caution with very elderly long haired cats is to pay particular attention to the underside of the tail. During hot weather there is a risk of fly strike which can be fatal.
A good brush that gently removes loose fur without scratching your cat’s skin is ideal. It will make it easier for your kitty to tolerate as there’ll be no pain or discomfort.
What is the best brush for long haired cats?
If you have a long hair cat you’ve probably found a few tangles, especially if she’s a senior. Though your cat is biologically designed to keep her coat clean, she still needs help.
Tangles aren’t uncommon, and depending on the breed, some are more prone than others. Brushing daily can help prevent fur tangling and forming mats.
Pet neat self cleaning slicker brush is advertised as not only getting rid of loose hair, trapped dirt and dander, but massages your cat’s skin as well. This is great for your pet’s coat as massaging increases blood circulation.
To clean the brush you press a button which retracts the bristles, allowing you to easily remove hair and debris. The good thing about this brush is you can use it on both long and short hair cats.
Hairballs and why regular brushing reduces them
Your cat ingests fur everytime she grooms herself, and unless you brush her regularly you’ll find her coughing up hairballs. A cat’s digestive system is designed to deal with hair and it’s usually passed through the intestinal tract, however, sometimes it’s vomited.
If You’re a new pet parent this can be alarming. It’s totally normal and your kitty will probably go outside and eat a blade or two of grass to aid her digestion.
Why undercoat rakes can drastically reduce shedding
As well as a brush it’s a good idea to get an undercoat rake, especially for very thick fur. This helps remove matts and tangles safely, but be gentle and resist the urge to pull at knots.
In some cases if a mat is too difficult to remove you may have to resort to scissors, but be extremely careful. I have had to do this a couple of times on a long hair cat, and it does require a very steady hand and a placid kitty!
A good undercoat rake is a 2 sided rake like this one by Pat Your Pet. One side has 9 teeth for removing tough mats and tangles, and the other side has 17 teeth for thinning and de-shedding.
This tool has slightly sharpened blades that cut through difficult mats without pulling on your cat’s fur, and rounded teeth that won’t scratch her skin.
Regular de-shedding will remove dead hair from your cat’s undercoat, and reduce matting. Always brush your kitty’s fur in the direction it grows, never against it.
What is the best brush for short hair cats
If you have a short hair cat you may think she doesn’t need much brushing. Most cats with short hair look sleek and glossy, however just as with their long haired friends, regular grooming is a must.
You don’t need to brush as often, just once or twice a week can help keep her coat in good condition. As I previously mentioned, brushing massages the skin, boosting circulation. It also gives you a chance to check for any problems.
A good brush to use for your short hair cat is the Pet neat self cleaning slicker brush. The good thing about this brush, apart from being easy to clean, is you use it on both your short or long hair cats.
I’ve not personally tried this brush but it has a lot of excellent reviews. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on grooming tools, just a few basic essentials is fine.
What is the best cat comb to use on your kitty?
A comb is also an essential item for grooming your cat. Use a wide tooth one for long hair, or fine tooth for short hair feline friends.
Pixikko Stainless steel cat shedding comb is ideal for your short hair kitty. Long teeth pick up loose hairs from under the top coat, and short teeth collect them.
Use a flea comb regularly to check for any little black specks. If you find any flea eggs in kitty’s fur don’t panic! You can kill fleas safely and effectively without harming you or your cat.
Feeling your cat’s skin for any lumps or bumps
Grooming your cat gives you chance to check for any unusual lumps or bumps. Most are benign but you should always speak to your vet if you find any.
You should also check your cat’s ears for any redness or discharge. Your kitty’s ears are very delicate and you should only ever inspect them visually.
Never insert anything in a cat’s ear, even if you spot something unusual. Your cat is very good at cleaning her ears, but if you’re concerned about anything always ask your vet’s advice.
why is my cat losing hair and will it grow back?
Your cat will shed a certain amount of hair every day and that’s perfectly normal. However, if you notice thinning patches this could be due to a number of reasons.
The most common one is a flea infestation. If you notice your kitty scratching and grooming a lot, this is a likely cause.
Giving your cat a regular flea treatment is the best way of preventing infestations and killing flea eggs. Using a flea comb as part of a grooming routine will also help.
Thinning can may also be due to an allergy. Just like us, cats can develop allergies. If you suspect this may be the cause, you can get topical medication to treat it.
Stress can be another reason your cat’s coat has developed thin patches. Obsessive grooming can be an indication of this.
Moving home, a new baby, bullying from other pets, a change in your routine, or even friends visiting can make your kitty stressed. Cats are highly sensitive and over grooming is just one symptom.
Installing a calming diffuser such as Feliway can help reduce stress and obsessive grooming. Your cat’s hair will grow back again once you’ve resolved the issue.
Should you bath your cat, and what shampoo should you use?
Bathing a cat should always be a last resort. Most cats hate water and won’t take to kindly to being soaked in a bath.
They’re very good at keeping themselves clean and rarely need intervention, However, there may come a time when there’s no other option, but bathing.
coming into contact with toxic chemicals, getting covered in dirt, or simply being unable to groom anymore are good reasons. You’ll need shampoo, but only buy that which is specifically for cats.
You can also buy special leave in conditioner which helps soften tangles. Make the experience as stress free as possible for your cat by stroking and talking to her gently before you start.
It’s also a good idea to give your kitty a few treats or play with her, so she’s relaxed. You’ll find your cat is easier to handle if she’s calm than if she’s full of pent up energy.
Fill the or bath sink with a few inches of lukewarm water before placing your cat in it. You’ll probably need someone to hold your cat while you bathe her as it will most likely be a struggle trying to shampoo and hold your kitty at the same time.
Always start from the shoulders and work down the back when you’re rinsing a cat. Avoid the head as cats hate getting their faces wet. Use a damp cloth instead.
Make sure you thoroughly rinse all the shampoo off, just as you would with your own hair. Dry your cat with a towel, and lightly spray with conditioner to detangle.
If your kitty has long hair you could try using a blow dryer on the lowest setting. If the noise scares her stop immediately, as you don’t want to make her any more stressed.
Regular grooming for a happy and healthy kitty!
In this post you’ve seen how important grooming is for your cat. It’s not only good for maintaining a healthy and glossy coat, but also a good opportunity to spot any health problems.
As I mentioned earlier, cats not only groom themselves, but members of their feline family as well. It’s a great way to bond with your cat, and keep the relationship strong.
We’ve looked at a few different brushes and combs to suit your kitty as well as how to spot any problems early on. Your cat will spend much of her waking time grooming, but still needs your help.
You’ve learned why your cat may be losing hair, and what you can do about it. Hair loss can be alarming, but with the right treatment it will grow back again.
Lastly, we looked at bathing your cat, and the best way to carry out this dreaded procedure if you should ever need to. I personally think bathing is best left to the professionals.
You can sometimes find mobile groomers in your area. This is often much less stressful for both you and your cat. They also do other things as well, such as nail trimming, giving your cat a real pampering treat!
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