Cat Grooming in 4 Steps

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Cat grooming can be either a harrowing experience or a treasured time of bonding with your cat, depending on whether or not you can surmount common feline anxiety towards being handled.

Benefits of Grooming

Groom your cat to reduce allergies in the air by removing dander and loose hair, decrease your cat's chance of coughing up hairballs, remove matting that can irritate your pet's skin and get your pet thoroughly clean. Check for parasites and any skin irritations while grooming. Follow these steps to instill positive cat grooming behavior in your cat:

1. Gently Touch Your Cat Often

Grooming requires cat behavior training, otherwise the grooming session will prove stressful. Whenever you and your cat are relaxed, reach out and gently stroke your cat (not just on the back or the head, but also on the belly, legs and paws). The paws will require extensive cat behavior training as cats instinctively pull their paws away at a touch.

2. Use Two Kinds of Cat Brushes

Did you know that one cat brush really isn't enough to get the cat grooming job done? Start with a wide-toothed metal comb to loosen the excess undercoat fur and bring dander to the surface. Work slowly from the cat's head to the tail, in the direction of hair growth (downward) and be especially gentle around the cat's belly. Next, use a bristle or rubber brush to capture the loose fur and dander stuck to your cat's coat in an upward and then downward motion.

If your cat has long hair, he or she will require these brushing sessions at least once a day. Short haired cats may last a week between brushings-but it doesn't hurt to brush him or her more often!

3. Be Calm When You Clip Nails

If you fail to instill proper cat grooming behavior in your cat, there is no time you are more likely to see feline anxiety than when you go to clip your cat's nails. If your cat isn't used to his or her paws being handled, the cat will resist. Make sure your cat is calm and gently pet him or her while cooing sweetly. Offer him a treat. Grab a paw gently and apply light pressure between the toes (to both the top of the paw and one of the pads underneath at once) to extend the claw. Use cat nail trimmers to clip the nail just to the point at which it begins to curl. If you accidentally cut too far into the pink quick and the nail bleeds, apply styptic powder or corn starch to staunch the wound.

If your cat resists, don't force him or her to continue. Try again the next time you find your cat calm and in a restive mood.

4. Bathing Your Cat

Even the most well-behaved cat will likely exhibit feline anxiety during a bath. Work quickly but calmly. Fill a bath or sink with a couple of inches of warm (but not hot) water. Put your cat in the water, holding him steadily with one arm, and spray him with warm water from a nuzzle (avoid the cat's eyes, nose and ears). Gently lather the cat's fur with cat shampoo from head to tail. Rinse the cat with the nozzle and then dry him with a large towel.

Even though your cat spends as much as a third of his or her waking day grooming himself, proper owner cat grooming is essential for your cat's well-being and will improve your health, too.


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