Have you ever noticed the amount of time a cat will spend lounging in the sun, grooming themselves from the tips of their ears to their tail? It seems that this is at least a daily occurrence if not more frequent. Despite all the grooming our cats do on their own, many cats still require assistance in grooming to prevent matted coats, developing hairballs or shedding excessively in the house. Hopefully these tips can help you establish a routine for grooming with your cat successfully in a loving manner.
Most importantly when trying to groom your cat, determine when he or she is in the right mood to be groomed. Too much grooming at one time can be overstimulating and cats can attack the brush or even you! Most cats have a routine of hunting/playing → eating → grooming → napping → awake → litter box → repeat. Catch your kitty after a meal as they quiet down. Short frequent grooming sessions tend to work best.
The most sensitive areas for a cat to be touched tend to be the belly, back legs and tail. Try starting with short periods of time on the less pleasing areas and then move to your cat’s favorite areas. Around the neck and head tend to be liked by most. Be sure to reward good behavior with a palatable treat or extra attention to keep grooming sessions a positive experience.
For long haired felines, often a mat in their coat can be unavoidable at one time or another. The best way to try and address a mat is to find it when it is small. Try splitting a mat into smaller sections with a comb and untangle from the tip working towards the base. Using two hands can help decrease the amount of pull on a mat. See if one person can hold the cat and the other use both hands to work on the mat. Always avoid scissors! This cannot be reiterated enough. Cat skin is thin and cuts inflicted by good intentions happen far too often in this scenario. If the mat is too large or too tight contact a professional groomer or your veterinarian for help.
If you notice a sudden change in your cat’s personal hygiene this can often be an indication of a larger issue. Poor grooming can be an early sign of disease. Excessive grooming can indicate anxiety or underlying skin issue including fleas, mites, or dermatitis. Advanced age, obesity, breed characteristics, chronic illnesses, or dental disease may mean that your cat will require some grooming assistance. If your cat is long-haired or overweight, she may benefit from a “sanitary trim” to help them keep the area under the tail clean and prevent skin and urinary tract infections.
Grooming is meant to be an enjoyable process for your cat. Take your time and make this a gradual bonding process with your pet. Cats often need to be met on their terms so try not to do too much at once. Hopefully you find these tips beneficial to your cat’s hygiene and well being!.