Believe it or not, cat grooming at home is possible. The thought of getting a bath from someone other than themselves might send your cat into a feline frenzy, but grooming your cat at home is easier (with fewer scratches!) than you think.
All cats require some kind of grooming. Most cats are perfectly capable of grooming themselves; however, sometimes they need a little extra TLC when it comes to nail trimmings and the like.
Grooming sessions aren’t just about keeping your feline looking fine. Keeping their coats clean, nails trimmed, and skin healthy offers physical comfort and reduces hairball accumulation and shedding.
For a successful grooming session, there are a few rules to follow. While they may never be thrilled with the process, these things can help make a more peaceful grooming session.
Tips for Bathing Your Cat
More than likely, you already know cats aren’t fans of baths or being bothered, for that matter.
Our best advice is to start a grooming routine when they’re young. Kittens are much more accepting of grooming because the mother cat grooms their young, so it feels more natural to them. Going through the routine of trimming their nails, wiping their fur and skin, or cleaning their ears will get them used to being touched and held as they grow older.
When you begin this process, make sure you find the right moment. When they are all tuckered out after a play session is a great time to start as they will be calmer and more relaxed.
If you are concerned about the process, feel free to reach out to our office to schedule a grooming session.
Identify Grooming Needs
A cat’s grooming needs are based on their coats, lifestyles, climate, and routine.
For example, because indoor cats live mostly inside, their nails aren’t naturally worn down from being outdoors, like a farm cat or working cat. Therefore, indoor cats require more brushing and nail trimming to keep them healthy and comfortable.
Almost all cats, regardless of their coats, require nail care, skincare, and routine ear cleaning.
Here are a few specific points regarding coats:
- Hairless cat breeds don’t require brushing, but still need bathing, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and skincare.
- Short-haired cats are lower maintenance and need to be brushed every two weeks or once per month.
- Long-haired cats require daily brushing to prevent tangling and matting.
Basic Cat Grooming
The basic grooming tasks include brushing and trimming and cleaning the nails. With the exception of hairless breeds, bathing your cat isn’t necessary. In fact, a wet washcloth or baby wipe will suffice as an alternative to baths to remove dirt or maintain hygiene.
Brushing is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to manage cat hair accumulation on your furniture and clothing. Plus, many cats enjoy the process just as humans love a massage!
Brushing also helps reduce the amount of dandruff flakes and hair that sheds, especially as cats begin to shed their winter coats.
When it comes to nail trimming, it can be intimidating…and dangerous. The last thing you want to come into contact with on a cat is the claws!
Unless you began the routine as a kitten, it may be easier to pay a visit to your vet for this process. Because your feline friend may squirm, it’s easy to slip and cut a nail too short or knick the skin.
To keep nails to a healthy length, scratching posts are excellent tools to help indoor cats naturally file their own nails. Otherwise, outdoor cats do this naturally through their own adventures.
Skincare for Cats
As you are working through a regular grooming routine, keep an eye out for any signs of skin or coat problems, such as rashes and irritation. These problems might show themselves through redness, dryness, scabs, fleas, ticks, lumps, and more.
Keeping your cat’s skin healthy is key to a happy and comfortable cat. Make sure your cat is well-hydrated and has access to plenty of clean water – even outdoor cats.
Most health conditions will manifest through the skin, so monitor excessive scratching or signs of discomfort in your cat.
Reward Your Cat
Because grooming can be stressful to felines, make sure you are providing plenty of rewards throughout the process.
Speak in a gentle, soothing voice and keep plenty of their favorite treats on hand to make the process more tolerable.
If you have additional questions about grooming your cat or wish to schedule an appointment, give our office a call today.