Grooming your cat – it’s more than a cleaning act

Most cats will spend many hours grooming themselves – but with so much grooming going on, is it still necessary for you to groom your cat? Actually, yes. Especially if you have a longhair cat. That doesn’t mean that shorthair cats don’t need grooming; they may just need less grooming. By grooming your cat, you strengthen your bond with her – but do it wrong and you may end up with the opposite result.

Make it fun

Start with grooming sessions while your cat is still a kitten, and do keep them short initially. A five- to 10-minute session at a time should be one that you both enjoy. You can then gradually increase the routine to longer sessions. This will also help your cat to get used to the idea of being handled. Make sure that you offer her a treat when the session is over.

Brushing

Unless your cat is really dirty and full of mud or sand, you don’t have to bathe her, and a daily brush for longhair cats, or a weekly or twice-weekly brush for shorthair cats, will do. It all depends on your cat’s requirements, and the breeder will be able to give you exact instructions on how to best take care of your cat.

By brushing your cat, you will get rid of dirt and dead hair. The brushing will also stimulate blood flow and improve the condition of her skin. Make use of a metal or rubber brush, which is ideal to get rid of dead hair, and a metal comb to get rid of tangles.

Brush your cat’s coat in the direction of the hair, and brush her from the tips of her ears to the tip of her tail. Take extra care under her chest and belly. Brushing her regularly will result in fewer tangles in the coat.

Watch out!

While brushing your cat, watch out for the following:

  • Ticks and fleas
  • Specks of blood, especially left by fleas
  • Any skin problems or disorders
  • Balding or patches without hair
  • Injuries

Should you find signs of any of the above, especially if she has been dewormed and treated for ticks and fleas, take her to the veterinarian for a proper health check.

Clean paws

Keep your cat’s paws clean and ensure that there are no injuries, cuts or splinters and that there is no swelling. Keep her paw pads moisturised, especially during winter. Do keep in mind that her paws are sensitive, so handle them with care.

Take extra care when clipping your cat’s nails. Make sure that you don’t clip into the sensitive pink area: only cut the white area.

Say ‘aaah’!

Take a good look at your cat’s teeth and gums. The gums should be firm and pink, and there should be no swelling. If you see any damaged teeth, inflammation of any kind, pus or red gums, take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

All eyes and ears

Also, regularly look at your cat’s eyes and ears to make sure that all is well. Her eyes should be bright and clear, with no watering or discharge.

Monitor your cat’s ears for wax, debris and infection. The inner ear should be a pale pink with no debris or odour.

All about love

Not only will you be bonding with your cat when you groom her, but you will also be able to pick up any abnormalities or possible injuries before they get too serious. Whenever you suspect anything wrong with your cat, immediately take her to the vet.

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