Before discussing cat grooming, you should know that cats instinctively groom themselves, spending much of their time keeping their fur clean, tangle-free, and conditioned. However, many cats, especially longhaired breeds, show cats, and older cats, will need some assistance from their owners. Helping out with basic hygiene, such as teeth cleaning and bathing, is also essential to keep your cat in peak condition.
Natural cat grooming
Grooming keeps your cat’s coat in prime condition. This is important because a sleek, conditioned coat is waterproof, keeps your cat warm, and protects his skin from infection.
Cat grooming can also help keep your cat cool in hot weather. Your cat will always groom himself in the same order. He begins by licking his lips and paws, then using his wet paws to clean the sides of his head. The saliva removes the scent of recent meals, making him “odorless” to natural enemies that hunt by scent.
Next, your cat will use his rough tongue to groom his front legs, shoulders, and sides. The tongue is covered in tiny hooks that can get rid of mats and tangles in the coat. The tongue also spreads the natural oils secreted by glands in the skin that condition and waterproof the coat. Your cat will nibble away any stubborn tangles using his small incisors.
His flexible spine then allows him to attend to his anal region, back legs, and tail, working from its base to the tip. He then uses his back paws like a wide-toothed comb to scratch his head. Cats raised together may sometimes groom each other, strengthening the bond between them.
(A) Cat Grooming Process
Helping your cat maintain his coat is essential for several reasons. Cat grooming process will enable you to keep a close bond with your pet cat and also give you a chance to check his body for health issues.
- Some cats—especially those selectively bred for their long, soft hair, such as Persians—have difficulty keeping their coat clean and tangle-free on their own.
- When you groom your cat, you will help reduce the amount of hair he swallows while grooming himself. This hair is usually coughed up as fur balls. Some fur balls, however, pass through the stomach and get lodged in the intestine, causing serious problems.
- Cats become less efficient at grooming themselves as they get older, so elderly cats benefit greatly from a helping hand.
If you accustom your cat to grooming sessions from an early age, he will come to view you as a parent figure and enjoy the experience. Always start a grooming cat session by petting your pet cat and talking in a calming voice to help your cat to relax.
Remember to be patient and on the lookout for signs that he is uncomfortable, such as a flicking tail or whiskers turning forward. In such cases, stop and try again later or the next day.
Make sure you also check his ears, eyes, nose, and teeth, and clean them if necessary. You may also need to clip his claws, empty his scent-secreting anal sacs (or ask your vet to do this), and give him a bath. Always finish a grooming process with a treat and praise .
Benefits of cat grooming
1- One cause for grooming process your cat is that it support the bond between you and your cat. Grooming cats from a young age helps establish this special bond. Most cats enjoy the close contact with their owners and the sensation of being brushed or combed.
2- You can also give your cat a general check-up while grooming. Take the opportunity to inspect eyes, ears, and claws, and to monitor your cat for possible health problems such as parasites, hidden injuries, lumps and bumps, and changes in weight.
3- Else benefit is that regular cat grooming process helps minimize the amount of loose hairs that cats lick up and swallow. Normally, the hair forms into harmless balls in the stomach, which the cat then coughs up. However, sometimes the balls become large enough that they are a health hazard, causing choking or becoming lodged in the lower gut, and causing a blockage in the digestive tract.
4- In old age, cats sometimes lose their enthusiasm for hygiene and may need gentle grooming to help them maintain dignity and cleanliness. The sudden neglect of self-grooming in cats of any age is a warning sign that all is not well, and needs to be investigated by a vet.
Cat Grooming Tools
Basic utensils for cat grooming include combs (flea, fine, and wide-toothed), brushes (slicker, pin-tipped, or soft-bristled), a rubber grooming glove, clippers, a cat toothbrush, and a tick remover. Some breeds may require specific tools for their coat type.
Cat grooming for shorthaired coats
Shorthaired coats are easy to maintain, and most cats with such a coat cope well on their own, keeping their fur in tip-top condition. However, a once-a-week groom (twice weekly if you have a show cat) will help you maintain a close bond with your cat and allow you to check for any potential health issues, such as lumps or skin problems.
Shorthaired cats generally benefit from a comb through with a flea or fine-toothed comb, then a brush to clear out loosened hair and dead skin, and finally a “polish” with a soft cloth, such as a chamois leather or piece of silk to produce an eye-catching sheen.
Make sure you are careful when touching sensitive areas, such as the ears, armpits, belly, and tail. If your cat has rexed, or curled, hair, use a very soft brush or a rubber grooming glove—anything harder may cause discomfort.
1- loosening old hair and dead skin: Draw a fine-toothed, metal comb from head to tail, along the lie of the fur. This will loosen dead hair and skin cells. Be careful when grooming around the ears, the underside (armpits, belly, and groin), and the tail.
2- Debris Removal: Work over your cat’s body with a slicker or soft-bristled brush, again with the lie of the fur. The brushing will get rid of all the debris loosened by the combing. Finish by polishing with a soft cloth.
Cat grooming for longhaired coats
Longhaired cats need much more grooming than shorthairs, ideally 15–30 minutes per day. Long fur, especially if it is soft and downy, picks up dirt and tangles easily, particularly in the armpit, groin, and anal regions, and behind the ears. These tangles prevent the coat from protecting the cat properly, making the skin vulnerable to damage and infection.
The main aim of grooming longhaired cats is to eliminate the tangles. Cat talcum powder can help tease them out, but with severely knotted tangles the only solution is to cut them out with scissors. Make sure the scissor tips point outward, so that you do not cut the skin. If you are unsure about this, take your cat to a professional groomer or ask your vet to do it.
1-Initial Combing: Comb the fur against the lie from the roots outward. Unscented talc will help tease out tangles and also remove excess oils. Work through again with a finer comb. Be careful combing the tail and underside.
2-Brushing out Loosened Debris: Brush out loose debris and any remaining talc with a soft-bristled or pin-tipped brush. Work against the lie. Fluff out the coat with the brush or a wide-toothed comb. With a Persian, comb neck fur up into a ruff.
Cat grooming semi-longhaired coat
Semi-longhaired cats, which include Maine Coons and the Balinese, have a silky topcoat and a minimal undercoat, so their fur remains free from matting and tangling. Weekly brushing and combing is all that is required.
Cat grooming wavy or curly coat
Some cats have fine, wavy, or rippled coats, as seen in the Cornish Rex, and a few breeds sport longer curls. Such coats do not shed heavily and are not as difficult to maintain as might be imagined. Over-vigorous grooming can spoil the appearance of the fur, so bathing rather than brushing is often recommended for this type of cat
Cat grooming hairless breeds
Hairless cats such as the Sphynx are not usually entirely bald but have an overlay of fine fuzz. This thin covering is not enough to absorb the natural body oils that are secreted through the skin and regular bathing is needed to prevent a greasy buildup.
(B) How to bathe a cat
Outdoor cats occasionally give themselves a dust bath, in which they roll in dry soil to clean their coat of grease and parasites, such as fleas. You can buy dry shampoo for cats, which works in a similar way.
A shorthaired cat may need a wet bath if it becomes covered in oil or a pungent substance. A longhaired cat requires more frequent bathing. Few cats enjoy being bathed, and it’s easier for both of you if you accustom your cat to the experience from an early age.
When bathing your cat, you will need to be patient. Use soothing words throughout the session and give treats to your cat afterward as a reward.
Before you begin, close all doors and windows, and make sure the room is warm and free of drafts. Prior to bathing your cat, brush his coat thoroughly.
You can wash your cat in a bathtub or a sink using a shower attachment, but make sure the water flow is very weak. Line the bottom of the bath or sink with a rubber mat for your cat to grip, so he feels secure and will not slip.
The Steps for how to bathe a cat:
- Lower your cat into a bathtub or place him in a sink, talking to him soothingly. Spray him with warm water that is as near to body temperature (101.5ºF/38.6ºC) as possible. Soak his fur thoroughly.
- Always apply a special cat shampoo. Never use dog shampoo, since it might contain a flea-killing chemical that is toxic to cats. Avoid getting shampoo in your cat’s eyes, ears, nose, or mouth.
- Lather in the shampoo thoroughly, then rinse it off completely. Repeat the shampoo wash or rub in a conditioner and rinse off again. Remember to keep giving your cat plenty of praise.
- Towel dry your cat, or use an electric dryer on a low setting if the noise doesn’t upset him. Brush his coat and allow him to finish drying off in a warm room. Give your cat a well-earned treat.
(C) How to clean cat eyes
Some cats, especially longhaired cats with shortened faces—Persians (or Longhairs) and Himalayans, for example—need a little help to keep their eyes clean.
This is because cats tear ducts are specially prone for blocking up, leading to a build up of gunk. If left for even just a day, this discharge can turn crusty, which makes it even harder to remove.
Eventually, it can even lead to an unsightly discoloration of the fur around the eyes and nose. If you note an uncommon crusty increase around your eyes cats, there may be an underlying health problem, so talk to your veterinarian.
- A regular examination of your cat’s eyes helps catch problems at an early stage.
- A visible third eyelid is a sign of ill health or injury; the latter is more likely if only one eye is affected.
- If your cat keeps an eye closed, it might have been scratched or have a foreign body in it.
The steps cat eyes cleaning
1-Dampen a piece of cotton with lukewarm water or, if the buildup seems particularly stubborn, with a saline solution such as you would use for contact lenses. Wipe from the nose toward the temple.
2-Repeat the process on the other eye with a clean piece of cotton. If your cat allows it, try to remove any staining on its fur, too. Avoid your cat’s eyeball during cleaning because is it could lead to irritation.
(D) How to clean cat ears
- Although cats are perfectly able of looking after their ears, a organized cleaning ears routine has the added benefit of letting you to keep an eye out for scratches, parasites, and other problems.
- Outdoor pet cats, for example, might come to the house with spiky grass stuck or barbed seeds inside their ears. Foreign bodies should be removed from your cat’s ears only if they are on the surface.
- Anything lodged in the ear canal should be removed by the vet. To clean your cat’s ears, you will need some cotton and a few drops of baby oil.
The benefits for cleaning cat ears
Black spots, dark wax, or redness indicate the presence of ear mites. If you see a liquid discharge, consult your vet. Also look for scratches and bald patches. If your cat has white ears, make sure there are no scabs and sores around the tips of its ears, since this could be a sign of skin cancer.
The steps for cleaning cat ears
1-Hold your cat’s head gently but firmly, and fold back its ear. Using a piece of cotton moistened with a few drops of baby oil, wipe away any dirt that you can see on the inside of the ear.
2-Cats have very sensitive ears, so be gentle. Do not rub, but rather try to lift any waxy buildup onto the cotton. Never use a cotton swab, which could cause serious damage to the ear canal.
(E) How to trim cat claws
Outdoor pet cats usually wear down their claws by scratching trees and wooden posts and walking on paved areas. However, indoor pet cats require to have their claws trimmed orderly, to avoid them from growing so long that they prevent normal movement or puncture the paw pad.
Claws are important parts of your cat’s anatomy. Never consider declawing your cat just to solve a scratching problem. Declawing involves the removal of the last joint of a cat’s toe. It is a cruel and painful procedure.
1- Unless your pet cat is very calm and quiet, trim just a couple of claws per trimming session. Holding your cat still, apply a little pressure on its paw pad to reveal the claw to trim.
2-Using clippers, cut just the white tip of the claw. Be careful not to cut too close to the pink quick. It is preferable to clip too little than too much, particularly if your pet cat is fighting and resisting to release from your hold.
(F) Cat teeth cleaning
The most important thing about brushing a cat’s teeth is not to use human toothpaste. Buy a pet- specific product. Before progressing to a toothbrush, try a little toothpaste on the cat’s lips, then touch a cotton swab to its gums. You will probably need to hold the cat firmly but gently.
The steps for cat teeth cleaning
- Hold the head firmly, pry open the jaws, and clean each tooth for a few seconds.
- Use a child’s toothbrush or a specially made cat’s toothbrush, some of which fit onto a finger.
- Special cat toothpastes are available. Your cat will especially enjoy the meat-flavored ones.
- If your cat won’t allow you to brush his teeth, ask your vet for oral antiseptics, which you apply directly to the cat’s gums.
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