Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital’s Blog
Happiness Found: Why You Should Groom Your Cat
There are many misconceptions about our feline friends. Most commonly, people believe that cats prefer to be alone, dislike exercise, and shun human efforts to train. However, of all the myths surrounding feline behavior, the most dangerous might be that cats don’t require grooming.
With that specially barbed tongue, cats are fastidious self-cleaners, but for optimal health and wellness, you will also need to groom your cat. Without regular maintenance, your cat could develop unfortunate (but preventable) health problems.
Kittens learn the art of self-grooming from their mother and can typically lick themselves by 2 weeks of age. By the time they’re weaned, kittens can give themselves a full wash – a healthy hygiene habit that will encompass half their waking hours throughout life.
While regular grooming improves your cat’s sheen, the health benefits go beyond appearances. In fact, one of the first signs of an ill or injured cat is a dull or unkempt coat (this should never be ignored). Likewise, a spot that’s licked repeatedly also requires medical attention.
But Wait, There’s More!
To fully groom your cat, you have to look at the whole body. Nails and teeth fall under the umbrella of grooming, and routine attention to both areas significantly boost your pet’s health.
Supplies to Groom Your Cat
The right tools not only help with your success rate, they also make your cat more accepting of the task at hand. Consider buying the following before you groom your cat:
- Brush or comb (depending on your cat’s coat); many owners like the FURminator, Dual Sided Brush, or Slicker Brush
- Nail clippers, such as the guillotine or scissor-type, and styptic powder in case you accidentally cut the quick
- Cat toothbrush and cat-only toothpaste
- Hypo-allergenic cat-only shampoo
- High-value, delicious cat treats as a reward
Initial sessions should take place every other day for 5-10 minutes. Keep the following tips in mind when you groom your cat:
- Your pet is more open to the experience after play/exercise time or following a scrumptious meal
- Keep the mood upbeat and calm; try not to stress out or lose your cool
- Move from the head down to the tail
- Handle your cat’s feet as much as possible to get him or her used to the sensation (helpful when it comes to nail trimming!)
- Offer lots of reassurance and praise
To Bathe or Not to Bathe
It’s not uncommon for cat owners to forget about bathing, mostly because cats have strong “opinions” on the matter. However, this can be incredibly beneficial for pets with oily, greasy, or smelly fur.
- Place your cat on a rubber mat in the tub or sink to prevent slipping
- Fill the basin with about 3 inches of lukewarm water
- Avoid your cat’s eyes, ears, and nose when spraying or scooping water
- Use a gentle circular motion to work shampoo into the fur
- Rinse thoroughly and towel dry
- Express your love and affection (and maybe offer an apology?)
Please let us know if we can help you groom your cat. We’re always here for you and your precious feline!