How to Groom a Cat

Here’s something you probably haven’t had to consider, how to groom a cat. After all, cats usually tend to take care of themselves don’t they. Especially as compared to their canine friends, cats have an air of fanciness and cleanliness. Well sometimes your furry feline friend can use a hand! Here’s how to groom a cat and keep them clean and healthy!

First, Why Groom Your Cat?

As we already mentioned, don’t cats groom themselves? So why should you have to worry about it? Grooming your cat provides a whole host of benefits! Whether it’s from you or from them grooming themselves, cats gain the following benefits: 

  • Stimulates circulation
  • Improves muscle function
  • Fur is smoothed down for better insulation
  • Glands at the base of the coat are stimulated to waterproof the fur
  • Sebum is spread evenly which helps to waterproof and protect the coat and skin
  • In hot weather, the saliva they spread during grooming helps to keep your cat cool

How Cats Groom Themselves

Before we get into how you should groom your cat, first let’s go over how they do the job themselves. 

Cats predominantly use their mouths for grooming, using their tongue that’s covered in tiny little bristles, to comb through their fur, pulling out dirt and loose fur. Basically a hair brush! Because they use their mouths so much, they’ll often swallow plenty of hair creating the well known fur ball. Help your cat avoid having too many, or too large of furballs, by giving them a good brushing!

When to Help Groom Your Cat

While most short haired cats are able to groom themselves just fine, longer haired cats are going to need that extra help. They have a lot more fur to take care of which can lead to some serious hairballs and missed spots.

If you can, start grooming your cat from a young age to acclimate them to the routine. The more used to you handling them they are, the less likely they are to scratch and get agitated by the grooming.

Now How to Groom Your Cat

Shorthair Cats

For your shorthaired cats, an extra brush once a week should be enough to help them maintain their coats.  

  • Use a fine toothed metal comb to remove any tangles or knots. 
  • Use a natural-bristle or rubber brush to remove any loose hair.  
  • First brush in the direction of the hair using the comb or brush, then go once in the opposite direction before smoothing it back. This is to fully remove any loose hair.

Longhair Cats

Longer haired cats meanwhile would benefit from brushing more often, even up to once a day! This will keep their hair from knotting and matting which can be incredibly painful for cats! Use a steel comb to brush them daily and use your fingers and a damp cloth to tease out any obvious knots. 

Follow these tips to make your grooming go well, regardless of the length of hair!

  • Don’t use scissors lest you risk a cut. 
  • If your cat isn’t working with you, offer treats, pets, and calming words. When your cat is calmed and distracted you can start to groom. Repeat as necessary.
  • While you’re handling them, now is the time to give them a once over and look at their teeth, gums, eyes, and ears.  

In general, cats love being brushed so we think you’ll be surprised how easy your furry friends take to it. But just like all other care tasks, take it slow and make sure its a pleasant experience. You’ll get a better result in the long run this way!

That’ll do it for us this month on the Acoma Animal Clinic blog. We’ll see you next time!

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