Cats naturally spend much of their day self-grooming. While many owners believe that cats do not require regular grooming, at-home grooming will help decrease hairballs, aid in skin and coat maintenance, and it offers the perfect opportunity to better examine their physical condition.
Grooming your cat doesn’t have to take long and can be a bonding and enjoyable experience for you both. If your cat is not used to being brushed, that’s ok, it just may take time for them to be more comfortable. Try grooming your cat just after they have eaten or been exercising so they are more relaxed. We recommend keeping your grooming sessions shorter until your cat is comfortable with the process. Long haired cats should be brushed daily or every second day while short haired cats only need to be brushed weekly.
Start by running your fingers through their fur. For short haired cats, this gives you a chance to feel their skin and check for lumps or scabs. For long haired cats, you can also feel for any mats in their fur that need to be removed. Unfortunately, some mats will need to be cut out as brushing can be painful.
Brushing your cat regularly not only removes loose hair, which your cat will ingest while self-grooming, it also spreads the natural oils through the hair, preventing mats and keeping their skin and coat healthy. Brush your cat from head to tail, making sure to get the backs of the legs and sides. For long haired cats, we recommend starting on their legs and belly before moving to the back. This will be the most difficult part for both of you and this is where the majority of tangles will occur. To remove difficult tangles, you may need to use a comb with a blade to avoid pulling on them.
Bathing We hate to say it, but even indoor cats benefit from occasional bathing. Cats will get a buildup of natural oils in their fur which can cause them to smell and also irritate their skin. Bathing will help their skin and coat health by removing these oils. Ensure that you use a mild shampoo designed specifically for cats.
Trimming your cat’s nails can actually be a very easy process (eventually). If your cat is not used to having their feet handled it can be much more difficult. It is a good idea to get your cat used to having their feet touched prior to attempting to cut their nails. To trim your cat’s nails, apply gentle pressure to the pad of their foot, this will extend the claws. Using sharp nail scissors designed for pets, cut off the white tip just before the point where the nail curls. Avoid cutting the quick, the pink vein that runs through the nail. If you do happen to cut the quick, apply some styptic powder (available in most stores) to stop the bleeding. If you are not comfortable with cutting your cat’s nails yourself, some Pet Valu locations offer feline nail trimming services. Contact your local store for details