We all know that cats are naturally clean creatures. Your favorite feline is skilled in the art of using a wet tongue and paw combo to clean herself — but that doesn’t mean you can skip putting a regular grooming regime into place. Here’s how you go about successfully grooming your feline while avoiding some common mistakes.
First up, start early. If you’ve just added a kitten to the household, teach them that grooming sessions are safe and fun. You want to avoid a situation where your cat starts to view the brush as something to fear.
It’s a common misconception to think that you can get away with just brushing your cat on the odd occasion. The truth is that for your standard short-haired variety of feline, you’ll want to brush her at least a couple of times every week. If you find yourself cohabiting with a luxurious long-haired kitty, you’ll really need to make sure you’re running that brush through her locks every single day. Doing so will help prevent matting, decrease the likelihood of the dreaded furballs, and alert you to the presence of any pesky fleas that might be hibernating in that forest of fur.
If your cat does appear to have developed matted fur, feel free to use cat-specific clippers to remove the mats (but avoid the temptation to pick up a pair of household scissors, which might cause injury). Never pull or yank the mat as that will cause distress and hurt the cat. Also, if the mat seems to be stubborn, you’re going to need to schedule a visit to a vet or a professional groomer to safely remove it.
You see that array of brushes racked up at your local pet store? Well, there’s variety on offer for a reason — different types of cats with different lengths of hair require different types of brushes. It’s a good idea to try out one of those brushes that includes a comb on either side — that way you can get an idea about what’s working and what might be annoying her. Also, if your cat seems wary of the brush, try out one of those mitts that you slip onto your hand and use to groom your feline while petting her.
Try to ensure that your cat is enjoying the grooming session. You wouldn’t pet your cat against the grain, so make sure to go with the fur flow when brushing her. Also, take the time to give a little extra attention to areas that send her into a state of purred-out bliss, like around the neck or even the good ol’ base of the tail area.
I used to ask the vet to clip my cat’s nails during her yearly checkup. Then the vet asked if I clipped her nails at home. I said no. He responded that unless you’re clipping them every two weeks, the process is a little pointless and you’re better off ensuring that the cat has access to scratching posts and cardboard scratchers to help keep her nails trim naturally. So make the decision to either commit to scheduled nail sessions or kit out your home with suitable scratch-friendly cat furniture.
Have you made any grooming mistakes in the past that we could all learn from?