Although cats are notorious for keeping themselves clean, cat grooming can be an important part of an owner’s normal care routine. As an attentive owner, you want to ensure your pet’s health and well-being, and regular grooming sessions with your pet are an easy way to check her health and build a stronger bond with your pet.
Set a Schedule and Stick to It
The frequency of your cat’s grooming sessions will depend on her coat type. If she’s a long-haired Persian, she will need daily brushings to keep her coat healthy, but if she’s a domestic shorthair, you can set a less-frequent brushing schedule (every other day or even once a week).
As you groom your cat, be alert to changes in her appearance. Has she developed any new lumps or bumps, for example, or does she have other skin injuries that need to be treated? Look for signs of parasites, such as fleas or ticks, during grooming sessions. If you find fleas or ticks on your cat, take immediate steps to resolve the problem.
Use the Right Tools
To groom your cat effectively, you may need to purchase a few basic grooming tools at the pet supply store. You can choose from a wire slicker brush, a grooming mitt, a rubber curry brush or a fine-toothed comb. Any one of these brushes or combs will work well on a cat’s coat—it isn’t necessary to use all of them during a single grooming session.
To ensure you've removed all your cat's loose hair, gently rub her down with a damp towel at the end of the grooming session. The towel will remove any hairs your brushing or combing missed, which will help her coat look better and will also reduce the amount of hair she ingests during her grooming sessions.
Grooming from Head to Tail
When you brush your cat, begin at her head and work toward her tail. Brush in the direction her fur naturally grows, and make sure you’re brushing or combing through your cat’s fur to her skin. Be gentle, but also be sure to work through any tangles or knots you encounter.
Clean your cat’s face with a warm washcloth if she has any eye discharge or stuck-on food. Check her ears and clean them as your veterinarian recommends. Examine her mouth for signs of trouble (broken teeth, material caught between the teeth, tongue or gum injury) and brush her teeth at least weekly.
No Nail Polish Needed
Check your cat’s nails weekly to ensure they aren’t growing too long. Trim the ends of the claws each week to protect your pet’s feet from harm. With training, your cat can learn to accept having all four paws clipped at once, but many cat owners break the pedicure up into several short sessions.
As Your Cat Matures
Older cats sometimes need a little extra grooming help as they age. Some older cats are unable to produce enough saliva to groom themselves completely, while others may develop additional problems with hairballs.